Appalachian State, Wake Forest renew old in-state rivalry
By STEVE REED
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson believes in-state rivalries are good for college football.
Apparently fans agree.
This Saturday's game between the Demon Deacons and Appalachian State is already a sellout and Clawson said "there's a buzz on both campuses."
"At a certain point, it can't just be about the number of eyes on the tube, it must be about people at games," Clawson said. "Fans want to see these in-state games."
That's why Clawson is excited about renewing this old rivalry. The schools played 22 times from 1975 until 2001 with Wake Forest winning 15 of those. However, this is the first time Wake Forest is heading to Boone for a game.
Clawson has heard the talk about an ACC school like Wake Forest having nothing to gain by facing a team like Appalachian State, a highly successful non-Power 5 Conference school which has been known to pull off a few upsets.
But he's not buying it.
"I believe that every time you play a game, you have something to gain and something to lose," Clawson said. "I don't think people just view App State as a Sun Belt team, they view them as a really good football team. They've done a lot of good things since they beat Michigan 10 years ."
Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield said he's expecting the largest crowd ever at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
"It's two really good programs that are an hour-and-a-half apart and our fan bases really get excited about the matchup," Satterfield said. "For us to host the game for the first time will be tremendous excitement for our fan base and alumni."
Things to watch on Saturday between Appalachian State and Wake Forest...
IMPROVING OFFENSE: Quarterback John Wolford said Wake Forest's experience on offense has played a big role in the team's 3-0 start . "I think we've been in the system a little longer and we're more mature and know what we're doing," Wolford said. "We're getting better each week. That's a big thing." Satterfield said Wake Forest's defense has always been good but that now "the offense is catching up with the defense."
LAMB ON THE RISE: Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb is 29-10 as a starting quarterback and will move into a tie for second place in school history with 30 wins if the Mountaineers triumph. (Armanti Edwards was 42-7). Lamb is the son of Bobby Lamb, who coached at Furman and Mercer. "He is just a winner," Clawson said of the Mountaineers QB. "He can make plays with his arm and his speed and manages their offense extremely well. They are really good on offense. They know exactly what to do against what you do defensively."
NO PROBLEM ADJUSTING: Appalachian State has had no problems adjusting to the FBS level in 2014. The Mountaineers are 29-6 over their last 35 games, including a 21-4 mark in the Sun Belt. The only teams with better records over the past 35 games are Clemson (33-2), Alabama (32-3) and Ohio State (31-4).
DORTCH ON A ROLL: Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch became the first freshman in school history to catch a touchdown pass in his first three games when he hauled in a 43-yard TD catch against Utah State last Saturday on the Demon Deacons' first play from scrimmage. It was Dortch's team-high fourth touchdown catch of the season and he leads the Demon Deacons in yards receiving.
IN THE POLLS: Wake Forest received two votes in the latest AP Top 25 College Football Poll.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated September 22, 2017