South Alabama (2-2) at Appalachian State (1-3) (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kidd Brewer Stadium (21,650) -- Boone, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: USA 0-2, ASU 1-0. Away Record: USA 2-0, ASU 0-3. Neutral Record: USA 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: USA 1-1, ASU 0-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Appalachian State Mountaineers will try for their first-ever Sun Belt Conference victory in their return home to Kidd Brewer Stadium on Saturday evening when they take on the South Alabama Jaguars.
South Alabama's season has been uneven, as it has lost both of its home games yet won its two road matchups. The Jaguars snapped a two-game losing streak last weekend with a 34-10 triumph over Idaho to pull to 1-1 in league play.
ASU opened up its Sun Belt schedule last Thursday at Georgia Southern, and in the battle of the conference newcomers, it suffered a 34-14 setback to fall to 1-3. The Mountaineers will be happy to return to Kidd Brewer Stadium where they won their only home contest this season versus Campbell on Sept. 6, 66-0.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these new conference rivals.
After scoring a combined nine points in its previous two games, South Alabama's offense rebounded with its best performance of the year last week with 429 yards. The unit now averages 16.5 ppg and 354.2 ypg.
Brandon Bridge hasn't play well under center, completing only 52 percent of his passes for 709 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Matt Floyd (7-of-16, 85 yards, INT) could be next in line if Bridge's struggles continue.
Jay Jones picked up 105 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries last week, upping his season totals to 255 yards and three scores.
Shavarez Smith is Bridge's top target in the passing game, as he's leading the team in catches (17), yards (183) and touchdowns (two). Claude Garrett has made the most of his limited chances with six receptions for 134 yards and a score.
The Jaguars' disappointing offense has really let down a stout defense, as the unit holds opponents to just 21.5 ppg and 370.0 ypg.
Maleki Harris is the top defensive playmaker with 33 tackles, 4.0 TFL, two forced fumbles and a pick. Terrell Brigham (29 tackles, FF) has broken up seven passes, and Montell Garner has picked off a pair of passes.
The Mountaineers' offense struggled in last week's loss to get anything going, as they amassed just 330 yards. On the season, the unit has performed admirably in scoring 28.5 ppg and putting up 400.8 ypg.
Tyler Lamb earned the start versus Georgia Southern but completed only 23- of-42 passes for 256 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions, giving him more picks (four) than scores (three) this season. Kameron Bryant (18- of-36, 207 yards, three TDs, INT) could be in for more work if Lamb continues to play poorly.
Marcus Cox has been a strong asset out of the backfield with 319 yards and five touchdowns on 63 carries. Terrence Upshaw (189 yards, TD) is also in the mix.
Simms McElfresh leads the team in both catches (24) and receiving yards (238) and has been effective in the red zone with four touchdowns.
Although ASU's defense has been solid this season (26.8 ppg, 370.0 ypg), it had no answer for Georgia Southern's rushing attack last week, allowing 408 yards on the ground.
John Law anchors the unit at linebacker with 34 tackles, 3.5 TFL and a sack. Joel Ross (three INTs) and Doug Middleton (two INTs) have been active in the turnover battle.
South Alabama appears to be on the upswing after its most recent victory, while ASU has not looked good against FBS competition. With the Jaguars' experience winning on the road, expect them to come away victorious.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Alabama 27, Appalachian State 23Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 4, 6 p.m. (ET)