East Carolina at Appalachian State - 9/2/21 College Football Picks and Prediction
Photo by HELEN COMER/DNJ
Appalachian State Mountaineers (0-0) vs East Carolina Pirates (0-0)
Game Info: Thursday, September 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm (Bank of America Stadium)
Betting Odds: Appalachian State Mountaineers -10.5 -- Over/Under: 57.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds
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The East Carolina Pirates will travel to Bank of America Stadium to take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers this Thursday night in College Football action.
The East Carolina Pirates come into this season looking to improve on their 3-5 record last season and 9th place finish in the AAC. Offensively, East Carolina is returning the majority of their starters on a team that did a decent job putting up points as the Pirates finished the season averaging 30.2 ppg on 402.7 total yards per game (228.9 passing yds/g; 173.8 rushing yds/g). Leading the way for the offensive this season with be QB Holton Ahlers who finished last season completing 61.3% of his passes for 1921 yards, 18 TD, & 9 INT. Ahlers can do some damage with his legs when needed, however, did struggle with turnovers & sacks last season which the Pirates will need him to improve for them to have success. Ahlers will have two of his favorite targets back this season in Tyler Snead (53 rec, 524 yards, 5 TD) & C.J. Johnson (19 rec, 405 yards, 6 TD). East Carolina will also have their leading rusher back from last season in Rahjal Harris who finished the season with 624 rushing yards & 4 TD on 128 carries.
Defensively, East Carolina will need to find some answers this season as the Pirates finished last season allowing 35.4 ppg on 447.3 total yards per game. East Carolina especially struggled with opposing rushing attacks allowing 201.3 rushing yards per game.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers was for the most part able to play a full season last year and once again had an impressive campaign as the Mountaineers finished the season with a 9-3 overall record. Appalachian State finished last season averaging 33.8 ppg on 452.0 total yards per game (184.1 passing yds/g; 264.3 rushing yds/g). Appalachian State no longer with have Zac Thomas behind center, however, the offense should still be in solid hands with Duke transfer, Chase Brice. Brice will have plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal in WR Malik Williams (41 rec, 536 yards, 3 TD) & TE Henry Pearson (16 rec, 180 yards, 4 TD) and will also return WR Corey Sutton who sat out last season. The Mountaineers should once again have an outstanding rushing attack as the duo of Camerun Peoples (168 car, 1124 yards, 12 TD) & Daetrich Harrington (106 car, 595 yards, 7 TD) will once again be in the backfield for Appalachian State.
Defensively, Appalachian State was the best defense in the Sun Belt last season, holding opponents to just 20.0 ppg on 328.8 total yards per game (177.9 passing yds/g; 150 rushing yds/g) and should be just as solid this season with 9 returning starters including LB D’Marco Jackson.
The Pirates are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games and just 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games. The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games, however, are just 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
East Carolina certainly has some talent in the offensive end, however, I think Appalachian State is just a bad matchup for the Pirates as their defense is solid against opposing passing attacks and it’s hard to trust Holton Ahlers with his issues with turnovers and allowing sacks. Appalachian State will have some new faces on the offensive line this year, however, still has the best running back in the Sun Belt in Camerun Peoples and as I feel that East Carolina will struggle once again against the run this season, I think the Mountaineers do enough in this one to cover this double digit spread. Good Luck!