BOONE, N.C. — In the midst of an 11-game winning streak and a 5-0 start to the 2019 season, Appalachian State received national recognition Sunday in the form of its second Top 25 ranking in the program’s brief FBS history.
At 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play heading into Saturday’s homecoming game against Sun Belt west division leader ULM (3-3, 2-0), App State is No. 24 in both the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll. It’s the highest ranking in any poll in the Mountaineers’ FBS history and the first ranking of App State by the coaches. It also marks the highest ranking for any Sun Belt team since the league was established as an FBS conference in 2001. App State joined the Sun Belt in 2014.
As one of 12 unbeaten FBS teams and one of three Group of Five conference teams with an unblemished record, the Mountaineers have defeated East Tennessee State, Charlotte, in-state ACC program North Carolina on the road and Sun Belt foes Coastal Carolina (at home) and Louisiana (on the road).
App State’s 11-game winning streak is the nation’s third-longest active streak behind Clemson (21) and Ohio State (12). Since 2015 — during a run that includes three straight league titles and four consecutive bowl wins — the Mountaineers have the nation’s fifth-best winning percentage thanks to a 46-11 record.
In Eliah Drinkwitz’s first season as head coach, the Mountaineers are among the nation’s leaders in several special teams and offensive statistical categories and are coming off a brilliant defensive performance in a 17-7 road win over Louisiana, who entered that contest with the nation’s No. 1 rushing attack. App State is tied for the national lead in fewest turnovers lost (2) and most blocked kicks (4). The Mountaineers are 10th in scoring offense (41.0), tied for fifth in defensive touchdowns (2), eighth in kickoff returns (28.8), ninth in third-down conversions (50.0), 11th in pass completion percentage (70.4), 12th in punt returns (15.5) and 12th in red zone offense (95.5).
Last year, App State earned its first Top 25 ranking as an FBS member (No. 25 in the AP poll) thanks to a 5-1 start that featured five straight wins following an overtime loss at Penn State. App State teams in 2019 and 2018 account for two of the three Sun Belt Conference teams to ever receive a Top 25 ranking.
Saturday’s homecoming game against ULM kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium and marks the Mountaineers’ first home game as a nationally ranked FBS team.