How to watch Appalachian State’s season opener vs. Virginia Tech

APPALACHIAN STATE (AP) The Appalachian State football team was already playing well enough to get a bye before facing Virginia Tech in its season opener on Saturday.

Now, the Hokies have to prove it can beat the best in the country.

The Mountain West is a tough place to play, especially in the East, but the ACC and Big Ten are a lot more competitive and it’s been pretty easy to beat those teams.

It’s going to be a long road, but we can’t get complacent.

Appalachian State won its last four games by an average of 24 points, and that included a home loss to Oregon State on the road.

And the Panthers haven’t lost since a seven-game win streak in March.

The Panthers were already playing better than expected when they lost their opener to Notre Dame last week, but their defense held off a strong North Dakota State team.

The Panthers scored a season-high 36 points in a 70-69 victory on Friday night.

It was their third straight win in the series.

The Wolfpack have won five of the last six meetings, including the last two in the last three years.

Virginia Tech (12-3, 8-4 ACC) has a chance to make up ground against the Hokie defense.

The Hokies led 30-26 with just under six minutes left in the first half and were up 41-29 on a basket by junior guard Shavon Jackson with 5:03 left in regulation.

That set up a layup by senior forward Justin Brown and a dunk by freshman guard Austin Jackson to put the Hokied up 52-42.

But Tech came back in the second half to beat Virginia Tech for the second time in four games.

Tech led 51-42 at halftime, and it was the Hokiest team to ever win four straight games.

The Tar Heels opened up an eight-point lead on a pair of free throws by senior guard Ty Lawson with 3:38 left in a 40-34 victory over Virginia Tech on Nov. 11.

It marked the first time that Virginia Tech has won a double-digit-point game at home in Hokie history.

The Tech defense was solid all night, but sophomore guard Isaiah Hicks didn’t play.

He’s been nursing a sore right ankle that kept him out of last week’s game at North Carolina State.

It’s unclear if Hicks will play this weekend.

The Mountaineers have won four straight against Appalachian State, which opened the season with two straight victories over the Eagles.

Appalachian’s last loss came on Jan. 10, 2015, to Miami.

The Eagles have won seven straight against the Mountaineer squad.

The win is the first in Hokies history after their previous loss to the Hokiness on Feb. 8, 2017, at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Appalachian is 6-0 all-time against the Wolfpack.

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