Appalachian State will bring a stingy defensive unit to the third annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.
The Mountaineers lead the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense, red zone defense, pass efficiency defense, interceptions and fourth down conversions this season.
“Defensively, we pride ourselves on stopping the run but we are efficient in pass defense,” ASU head coach Scott Satterfield said. “We led the league and ranked third in the country in interceptions. We try and keep everything in front of us defensively and not give up the big play. I think that part of it is why we have been successful on defense.”
ASU leads the league and ranks third nationally in passes intercepted. The Mountaineers recorded 20 interceptions in 12 games this season. Only San Diego State (22) and Wisconsin (21) have more interceptions than Appalachian State. ASU intercepted at least one pass in 11 of 12 games. The Mountaineers did not have an interception against UL Lafayette on Oct. 12. ASU had a season-high four interceptions in the win over Georgia State on Oct. 1.
Freshman cornerback Clifton Duck was named the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year. He leads the league with 13 passes defended and ranks second in the conference with five interceptions. He had a 44-yard interception return in the win over Idaho. Duck started all 13 games for the Mountaineers and finished fourth on the team with 54 tackles. He was also recruited by Toledo.
APPALACHIAN STATE DEFENSE:
- ASU leads the league and ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense. The Mountaineers have held opponents to 17 points per game this season. ASU allowed only 12.3 points per game in nine wins this year and held six teams to 10 points or less.
- ASU leads the league and ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense. The Mountaineers have held opponents to a 103.29 rating this season. Opposing quarterbacks threw 20 interceptions and only 10 touchdowns this season.
- Appalachian State leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks second nationally in opponents fourth down conversions this season. ASU opponents have converted only 5-of-23 (.217) fourth down attempts this season. Alabama leads the nation in opponents’ (4-of-21) fourth down conversions.
- Senior cornerback Mondo Williams and Duck were first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selections this season. Williams played in 12 games and finished with 28 tackles, 10 passes defended, including six pass breakups and four interceptions (43 return yards), and two tackles for loss (-6 yards).
- Senior defensive end Dezmin Reed, junior defensive end Tee Sims, junior inside linebacker Eric Boggs and senior outside linebacker Kennan Gilchrist were all second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selections. Reed and Sims led the Mountaineers with six sacks apiece. Reed played in all 12 games and finished with 28 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
- Sims played in 11 games and led ASU with 11 tackles for loss. Boggs was the team’s leading tackler with 92 total stops in 12 games. Gilchrist was second on the team with 80 tackles in 12 games. He was also the co-leader with 11 tackles for loss.