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ASU notebook: Appalachian’s main goal still attainable

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
The App. State notebook…
BATON ROUGE, La. ó Four hours could impact how well Appalachian State’s players feel nearly four months from now.
The Mountaineers opened their season with a game against a highly ranked FBS opponent for the second straight year. They upset Michigan in 2007 and eventually won their third consecutive FCS title.
Appalachian lost 41-13 at seventh-ranked LSU on Saturday, and the Mountaineers have three non-league games left on their schedule before they enter Southern Conference play. The playoffs begin in late November, and the national championship game is set for Dec. 19.
“(A win) wouldn’t have meant one thing to our conference other than the perk, a feather in your cap,” Appalachian coach Jerry Moore said. “From the outset, we need to prepare to win the Southern Conference championship.
“We wasted four hours today if we don’t leave here thinking we can be a better football team, if we don’t learn from the mistakes we made.”
ASU plays host to Jacksonville on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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LOCAL PRODUCTS: Gordy Witte (Salisbury) and Billy Riddle (Davie County) were credited with one tackle apiece.
Witte, a redshirt freshman who appeared in three games last season, is a reserve defensive tackle. He first entered the lineup for the final play of LSU’s second series, and he saw plenty of action in the second half.
“It was exciting,” said Witte, who played briefly in the win at Michigan. “It would have been better if we could have won the game.
“It was good to get some real major playing time in a game and show some skills. I think I did a pretty decent job. I established myself decently inside.”
Riddle, who spent all of last season in Africa doing mission work, contributed to Appalachian’s punt and kickoff coverage units Saturday.
He played in a real game for the first time in more than 21 months.
“It was a lot of fun running out before the game, hearing the crowd,” Riddle said. “It’s good to get back into it.”
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VOCAL SUPPORT: The official attendance was listed at 91,922 in 92,400-seat Tiger Stadium.
The start time of the game was moved up six hours because of traffic concerns associated with the approach of Hurricane Gustav.
“It was a great thing to get a win for the fans,” LSU defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois said. “I think we put a great positive image and thought in their head before the hurricane.”
LSU coach Les Miles said the 10 a.m. kickoff was the earliest he’s experienced since he was playing junior high football.
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HEADACHES: Appalachian State’s players had to rise out of bed at 5:30 a.m. local time, and quarterback Armanti Edwards had several wakeup calls in the first half.
A hard hit from the defense sent Edwards’ helmet flying on three different occasions.
“I had to change my buckles up,” Edwards said.

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