Bucs, Mountaineers both in need of a win

By Seth Bartee
Saturday the Buccaneers will face an Appalachian St. team that as one writer said, has their backs against a wall.
The Mountaineers are 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the Southern Conference after losing to the Citadel 24-21 last week. For the first time since 1993 Appy St. opened their SoCon season with a loss. Buccaneer Coach Paul Hamilton says that the numbers of his former alma mater do not exactly speak true of the Mountaineers.
"This Appalachian State team is younger than normal," said Hamilton. "Usually they reload each year but they're having to deal with some growing pains this season. These guys can run like deer and they will pressure the quarterback."
ETSU has a quarterback question right now. Redshirt freshman Carl Meadows only threw for 20 yards, completing three passes against Western Carolina.
"We are going to look at all three quarterbacks this week," said Hamilton. "I'm looking at which one is more comfortable in the position."
Not only will Hamilton have to face his old teammates in Boone, but Appy St. will be celebrating its 75th homecoming game, too.
"Many of my friends will be there and I would like to take ETSU football in and win," said Hamilton.
Appy. St. has won the last 19 of 21 games facing the Bucs, including each of the last five.
"This is the biggest game of the season," said sophomore tight end Justin Cruze. "If we can turn it around we can really save the season. We just need to get it done."
Halfway through its last season, the Buccaneers find themselves 2-3 after an impressive start in Eastern Michigan. Hamilton laughing, said that he did not have an ego just tell him what to do to win.
The Bucs lost to Eastern Michigan on a controversial end zone call that gave ETSU a 28-21 away loss. At Elon the Bucs gave up two touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble. Last Saturday the Bucs defense fought hard only to run out of time on SoCon league leaders, Western Carolina.
"We are short on the offensive line," said Hamilton. "It truly is the greatest challenge in college football trying to lead this team."
ETSU will have to face as Hamilton said a big, physical ASU team with an aggressive defense chomping at the bit for us to play.
A bright spot in the Bucs' lineup is redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Cullen, who leads the team with 57 tackles.
"Cullen was recruited by every major school in this league," said Hamilton. "He's around the ball all the time and he shows up with his chin strap on tight. Cullen will make someone a good football player for three years."
Even with talent like Cullen's, Hamilton realizes that he needs an offensive strategy that works.
"We're going to have to incorporate more options," said Hamilton. "We cannot throw 30 times a game and play smashmouth football."
Senior defensive back Tony Tiller says that the only two teams he has not beaten while at ETSU are Wofford and Appy. St.
"They are struggling also this season and its going to be a war," said Tiller on this Saturday's match up.
Saturday will mark the 46th game between these two teams. ASU leads the series 31-13-1. The game will be televised on The Football Network at 3:30 p.m. from Kidd-Brewer Stadium in Boone, NC.