College Basketball Preview:West Virginia vs. Rutgers
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009
RICHMOND, Va. ó Appalachian State and Richmond have met each of the past two seasons in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs ó each time the winner won the national championship.
Both hope the trend continues after tonight when they clash for the third consecutive postseason. It is the first time the game will be on the Spiders’ home field.
Appalachian State (10-2) had won three consecutive national titles before losing 33-13 at home to the Spiders last season, a game in which Mountaineers quarterback Armanti Edwards threw a career-worst five second-half interceptions leading to four Spiders scoring drives.
Edwards won the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the FCS, but said this week that he and his teammates have been pointing toward a rematch all year.
“They put us out of the playoffs and embarrassed us on our home field,” he said. “We’ve had a bad taste in our mouth for so long. We finally get a chance to redeem ourselves.”
The Spiders (11-1) came within a 35-yard field goal of going unbeaten and spending the entire season ranked No. 1. They know they will be facing the standard bearer of FCS football, especially since Edwards is likely to be healthier than he was in the game a year ago.
Then, coach Jerry Moore said, the Mountaineers staff didn’t realize how banged up their dual-threat star was, but a hip pointer and knee injury clearly made him a different player. In 2007 against Richmond, he rushed for 313 yards, the highest total for a quarterback in Division I history, and finished with a combined 495 yards of offense in Appalachian State 55-35 victory.
Last year, he ran for 3 yards, his lowest total ever until last week, when he was again slowed by knee issues. Appalachian State called no runs for him in a 20-13 victory against South Carolina State. This week, Edwards doesn’t expect to be limited at all.
“We get to run any play in our offense,” he said.
That makes the Mountaineers a different team, Spiders linebacker Patrick Weldon said.
“He does great with the run game. He makes a lot of good plays, a lot of speed and he avoids people in the pocket,” Weldon said of the 6-foot, 185-pounder, “but what I think a lot of people underestimate is his ability to throw the ball.”