The Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Miami Hurricanes have quite a bit in common.
For one, each team is led by quarterbacks who transferred into their program. Chase Brice is the signal-caller for Appalachian State after transferring from Duke and before that Clemson. D'Eriq King began his career with Houston before coming to Miami.
Both teams opened their 2021 seasons at a neutral site. The Mountaineers (1-0) won their opener, defeating East Carolina 33-19 in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Miami (0-1) had a much tougher opening assignment, losing to defending national champion Alabama 44-13 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Saturday will be the second meeting between the two programs, as Miami visited Boone in 2016 and defeated the Mountaineers 45-10.
Appalachian State at Miami
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. ET
Spread: Miami -9
When Appalachian State Has the Ball
Brice was solid in the win against East Carolina, with 20-of-27 passing for 259 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The Mountaineers really didn't need Brice to do much, as they ran wild against the Pirates. Nate Noel (126 yds. 8.4 ypc) and Camerun Peoples (100 yds., 2 TDs, 7.1 ypc) carry each gashed ECU's defense.
Speaking of defense, Miami's understandably struggled against Alabama, giving up 510 total yards. One area the Hurricanes hope to improve on this week is getting consistent pressure on the quarterback. Miami sacked Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young sacked just once, as he was afforded plenty of time to carve up the secondary to the tune of 344 yards and four touchdowns.
When Miami Has the Ball
Unlike Brice, King wasn't able to have the outing offensively that he would have liked. Against Alabama's stingy defense, King went 23 of 31 for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, and was sacked four times.
Wide receiver Mike Harley, who sustained an injury against Miami, will play on Saturday night. So having Harley in the mix will benefit King and Miami's passing game.
Not only will the Hurricanes need King to have a better showing, but the offense also will need to convert points on its red zone opportunities. Miami managed two field goals on three trips inside the Crimson Tide 20-yard line. The Canes also struggled on third down, converting just one of six opportunities in the first half.
After struggling offensively against Alabama, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says the team will need to execute better against another talented defense.
"We were not good. We were not productive. We're disappointed with the way we played," Lashlee said. "There was no intent to be conservative. When you either turn it over, take a sack or go three and out, you're not on the field to get into a rhythm."
Against Alabama, Miami struggled on both sides of the ball. The offense just struggled to get anything going consistently, as King was under duress all game and the Hurricanes managed just 87 rushing yards. No one was expecting Miami's defense to shut down the Crimson Tide's offense, but missed tackles only added to the damage done. Saturday presents an opportunity to turn things around at home, but the Canes can't simply overlook Appalachian State either.
When he was at Duke last season, Brice's problem was that he turned the ball over way too much. Against a Miami team that can generate pressure with its front four, the Turnover Chain may be more on display this weekend.
If the Canes' defense has a problem with tackling, especially ball carriers, the Mountaineers could make this game interesting. Ultimately, Miami is the more talented team and should be able to get its first win of the 2021 season.
Prediction: Miami 37, Appalachian State 27
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— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.