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“Deeper Than Hate” – The Appalachian State and Georgia Southern Rivalry Story

The rivalry between Appalachian State and Georgia Southern is one deeply rooted in the history of collegiate football, marked by intense competition and a mutual drive for supremacy. Known informally as “Deeper Than Hate,” this rivalry extends beyond the football field, encapsulating a battle for pride between two universities that have a long-standing tradition of athletic excellence. The annual face-off between the Mountaineers and the Eagles is more than just a game; it’s an enduring testament to the fervor and dedication of both teams and their supporters.

Appalachian State vs Georgia Southern
Photo courtesy of App State Athletics

The origins of this fierce competition trace back to when both teams were powerhouses in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA, before transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

The dynamics of the rivalry are complex, involving a blend of close geographic proximity, cultural similarities, and historical matchups that have often carried significant implications for conference standings and national recognition.

As both programs continue to grow and evolve, the Appalachian State-Georgia Southern rivalry persists as a highlight in the college football season, captivating fans and reinforcing the deeply competitive spirit of the sport.

Key Takeaways

  • The rivalry is steeped in a rich tradition of competition between Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.
  • Geographic proximity and historical significance have fueled the intensity of the rivalry.
  • The annual matchup continues to be a major event for both football programs and their fans.

Historical Context

The fierce rivalry between Appalachian State and Georgia Southern has roots stretching back to the early 20th century, marked by intense matchups, pivotal games, and shared aspirations that propelled them onto the national stage.

Did You Know:

Georgia Southern and App State have met 38 times previously, with the Mountaineers holding a 21-16-1 lead in a series that dates back to 1932. This is the fourth straight year the two have ended the regular season playing.

Early Encounters

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern’s first encounter on the football field dates back to 1932 when Appalachian State Teachers College played against South Georgia Teachers College.

Over the years, beginning with games in 1934, 1935, 1936, and 1939, these initial meetings set the stage for what would evolve into a storied and passionate rivalry.

Ascent to National Stage

1987 Game

The rivalry began to gain national attention during the 1980s, especially when both teams competed in the I-AA playoffs.

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern would face each other in significant games, including the 1987 I-AA quarterfinals, a match that added a competitive edge to their relationship as both vied for national championship titles.

1999 Game

Tight Games and Iconic Moments

The contest often featured tight games with iconic moments, such as the 2007 play nicknamed the “Ice Bowl” due to its frigid conditions, and a 2010 double-overtime (2OT) victory for Georgia Southern that ended Appalachian State’s home win streak.

2007 Game

These memorable encounters often carried conference implications and sometimes even national recognition.

2010 Game

Notable Coaches and Players

Notable figures have shaped both football programs; Erk Russell and Paul Johnson at Georgia Southern, and Jerry Moore at Appalachian State, who led their teams to national prominence.

Players like Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards, a Walter Payton Award winner, brought national acclaim to both institutions.

App State Legendary Coach Jerry Moore
Jerry Moore / Photo courtesy of App State Athletics

Transition to FBS Level

In their continual pursuit of growth, both football programs transitioned to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and joined the Sun Belt Conference.

This transition marked a new chapter in their rivalry by bringing it to a more prominent stage and enlarging its audience.

History Continued

The two schools battled as members of the Southern Conference from 1993-2013.
The teams have played every year since 1993, including twice in 2001. Both teams joined the Sun Belt together in 2014 and continue playing as conference rivals.

Noteworthy Games and Series

Every game in the series has carried weight, be it the upset bid by Appalachian State in the playoffs or the notorious Halloween game, further fueling the rivalry.

The intensity of these games often turned small stadiums into high-energy battlegrounds, filled with fans who shared a vibrant and competitive spirit.

Cultural Impact and Legacy

Beyond the gridiron, the rivalry has ingrained itself in the cultural fabric of both public institutions. It has influenced traditions, such as fraternities’ involvement in-game festivities, and has extended to other sports as well.

Memorable moments like tearing down goalposts (’99, ’03), carrying them through the opponent’s bus (’03 allegedly), intercepting the team’s pizza order and stomping on it (’03), and planting the goal post on the front lawn of the Chancellor’s house.

If this wasn’t crazy enough, the 2015 game was crazy too, as Trivette Hall caught on fire before the game, and someone stole an ambulance from the stadium and went on a joy ride across Boone (story here).

Tearing Down The Goal Posts in 1999

Then there is the App State tradition of jumping in “Duck Pond” after a big victory, which also received a set of goalposts a time or two during this rivalry.

Stories like these all have become part of the rivalry’s lore, illustrating the deep and multifaceted nature of the Georgia Southern and Appalachian State animosity.

The Anatomy of the Rivalry

The Appalachian State Mountaineers and Georgia Southern Eagles share a fierce rivalry grounded in close geographic ties, cultural fervor, and institutional parallels that elevate their annual football clash into one of the most highly anticipated games in the Sun Belt Conference.

Geographic Proximity

Boone, NC, home to Appalachian State, and Statesboro, GA, where Georgia Southern resides, contribute to the intensity of the rivalry due to their locations in the Southeastern United States.

Directions GA Southern to App State

Despite being situated in different states, they maintain a sense of regional competitiveness that helps fuel the fervor between the two public institutions’ teams.

Cultural Comparisons

GA Southern Hype Video

Both universities strongly embody Southern collegiate culture, marked by passionate fan bases and a deep commitment to athletic excellence.

Football games between the Eagles and the Mountaineers are not just sports events; they are cultural gatherings that highlight the pride and spirit of their respective student populations and alumni communities.

The Collegiate Sports Video Association’s 2021 ULTIMATE SAVVY winning video.

Institutional Similarities

Historically both Appalachian State and Georgia Southern were part of the Southern Conference, before transitioning to the Sun Belt, sharing similar trajectories in the landscape of college athletics.

Public institutions with proud academic and athletic traditions mirror each other in their growth and aspirations, adding another layer of comparison and competition to their rivalry.

Key Rivalry Dynamics

The Appalachian State-Georgia Southern football rivalry is characterized by a tightly contested history and emotionally charged matchups. Each game is often infused with high stakes, as both teams strive to assert dominance and add another win to their tally.

Competitive Balance

The series between the Mountaineers and the Georgia Southern Eagles exhibits a competitive balance with both teams experiencing periods of triumph.

Historically, the rivalry is marked by closely matched scores, bringing an unpredictable edge to every encounter. This competitiveness cements the fixture as a highlight in the college football calendar, where past outcomes seldom dictate future results.

Intensified Confrontations

Emotions run high in this rivalry, often dubbed as “Deeper Than Hate”. The intensity on the field is palpable as both the Mountaineers and the Eagles have a reputation for winning big games.

These intensified confrontations have a reputation for creating an unforgiving atmosphere that can rattle even the most seasoned players.

Significant Matches

Throughout this rivalry’s history, numerous significant matches have influenced the SoCon Championship outcomes, National Championships races, Sun Belt Championships, and bowl game destinations.

Quick Fact:

Georgia Southern and App State combined to
win nine FCS (I-AA) National Championships.

6 for Georgia Southern (1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, and 2000)
3 For Appalachian State (2005, 2006, and 2007)

The Mountaineers and the Eagles have often been undefeated in their respective seasons when clashing, raising the stakes further.

Some of these pivotal games have been turning points, not just for the season, but for the very legacy of the teams involved, with each side laying claim to essential wins over the other.

Impact on Supporters

The Appalachian State-Georgia Southern football rivalry stirs intense emotions that cascade into zealous displays of loyalty from supporters. Fans of both institutions often participate in traditions and local activities that exemplify the spirited nature of this enduring athletic contest.

Fan Traditions and Behaviors

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern supporters are renowned for their dynamic game-day traditions.

In Boone, North Carolina, the home crowd at Appalachian State swells the stadium with a sea of black and gold, creating an electrifying atmosphere that peaks during rivalry games.

App Shaved Back
Source: https://blueridgeblog.blogs.com/

Fans in the end-zone (Miller Hill) are particularly notorious for their fervent cheers and the occasional appearance of App State Santa or cape-wearing App Man (whose name I shall not reveal) – both great symbols of Mountaineer pride.

Conversely, Georgia Southern’s faithful bring their distinctive Southern warmth and hospitality, but when facing their old foe, this cordiality is juxtaposed with an impassioned intensity.

Both sides showcase a level of enthusiasm that transforms the sport into a cultural event, transcending the mere scores and outcomes of the games.

Influence on Local Community

The rivalry’s significance extends beyond the field, deeply influencing the local communities of Boone and Statesboro. On game days, local businesses thrive, with establishments filled with fans donning their team’s apparel.

Economic surges are common as supporters spend on accommodation, food, and memorabilia, which bolsters the local economy and cements the event as a pivotal annual occasion for both towns.

A 2016 study by Appalachian State found their athletic department was responsible for $54 million in increased regional economic activity and $3.6M in increased tax revenue (source).

If you have ever tried to get a hotel room on a gameday in Boone, you can probably believe these figures as a room can go for $600+ on gameday.

Beyond the economics, educational and civic pride is plentiful. Students and alumni engage in community service and charitable events centered around the rivalry game, fostering a sense of unity and purpose.

It is clear that the Appalachian State-Georgia Southern rivalry invigorates not just the fans but the very towns they call home.

Statesboro GA
(Downtown Statesboro – Photo Source)

Rivalry in the Modern Era

The Appalachian State-Georgia Southern football rivalry has seen a continued battle for supremacy in the modern era, marked by intense games, evolving strategies, and significant media attention.

Recent Trends and Outcomes

From 2013 onwards, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have given the football world some memorable moments.

App State transitioned to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2014, just a year after winning their last national championship in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Match outcomes over the years often sway the momentum of their seasons:

  • 2013: App State, still in the FCS, lost to Georgia Southern.
  • 2014: In their first year in the Sun Belt Conference, App State defeated Georgia Southern.
  • 2015-2016: Georgia Southern took victories in these years.
  • 2017-2019: Appalachian State garnered a winning streak against the Eagles.
  • 2020-2022: Varying wins for both teams with games being highly competitive.

Coaching and Tactical Evolution

The football teams have witnessed tactical shifts thanks to the contributions of influential coaches such as Clay Helton for Georgia Southern.

Appalachian State saw Scott Satterfield lay a solid FBS foundation before departing in 2018, followed by his successors who maintained the team’s competitive edge.

Coaching changes often brought about tactical evolution, with both teams showcasing adaptability whether in offensive strategies or defensive formations to gain the upper hand.

Media Coverage and Presence

Media outlets have significantly bolstered this rivalry’s presence, making it prominent in college football conversations. The matchups receive national attention through various platforms, with games often being featured on sports networks.

The narrative of the rivalry further gets amplified through social media, sports blogs like Underdog Dynasty, and extensive coverage in local and student media, ensuring that the “Deeper Than Hate” saga resonates well beyond the campuses.


The Appalachian State-Georgia Southern football rivalry remains one of the most intense in college sports. With both teams’ fans marking their calendars for the annual matchup, the games are typically charged with emotion and high stakes.

Historical Context

  • The teams first competed in 1932.
  • The modern rivalry was ignited during the 1987 Division I-AA Quarterfinals.
  • Since Georgia Southern joined the Southern Conference in 1993, they have faced Appalachian State yearly.
  • Both teams moved from the FCS to the Sun Belt Conference at the FBS level in 2014 maintaining their fierce rivalry.


Appalachian State has historically had the upper hand in the rivalry: App State leads the series, including their FCS and FBS tenures. Georgia Southern and App State have met 38 previous times, with the Mountaineers holding a 21-16-1 lead in a series that dates back to 1932.

Take note of how many winning records each team has had over the years.

#DateLocationWinnerScoreAppalachian State RecordGeorgia Southern Record
1Nov 25, 1932Statesboro, GASouth Georgia Teachers33-05-4-17-2-0
2Oct 26, 1934Statesboro, GASouth Georgia Teachers22-133-4-14-6-0
3Nov 9, 1935Boone, NCTie0-05-2-23-3-2
4Oct 24, 1936Boone, NCAppalachian State Teachers27-08-1-02-9-0
5Nov 17, 1939Boone, NCAppalachian State Teachers59-07-1-25-5-0
6Dec 5, 1987Boone, NCAppalachian State19-011-3-09-4-0
7Oct 16, 1993Boone, NCGeorgia Southern34-284-7-010-3-0
8Oct 15, 1994Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern34-319-4-06-5-0
9Oct 14, 1995Boone, NCAppalachian State27-1712-1-09-4-0
10Oct 19, 1996Statesboro, GAAppalachian State35-287-4-04-7-0
11Oct 18, 1997Boone, NCAppalachian State24-127-4-010-3-0
12Oct 17, 1998Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern37-2410-3-014-1-0
13Oct 16, 1999Boone, NCAppalachian State17-169-3-013-2-0
14Oct 14, 2000Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern34-2810-4-013-2-0
15Oct 13, 2001Boone, NCGeorgia Southern27-189-4-012-2-0
16Dec 8, 2001Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern38-249-4-012-2-0
17Oct 19, 2002Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern36-208-4-011-3-0
18Oct 18, 2003Boone, NCAppalachian State28-217-4-07-4-0
19Oct 16, 2004Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern54-76-5-09-3-0
20Oct 15, 2005Boone, NCAppalachian State24-712-3-08-4-0
21Oct 21, 2006Statesboro, GAAppalachian State27-20^{2OT}14-1-03-8-0
22Oct 20, 2007Boone, NCGeorgia Southern38-3513-2-07-4-0
23Oct 18, 2008Statesboro, GAAppalachian State37-3611-3-06-5-0
24Oct 24, 2009Boone, NCAppalachian State52-1611-3-05-6-0
25Nov 6, 2010Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern21-14^{OT}10-3-010-5-0
26Oct 29, 2011Boone, NCAppalachian State24-178-4-011-3-0
27Nov 3, 2012Statesboro, GAAppalachian State31-288-4-010-4-0
28Oct 26, 2013Boone, NCAppalachian State38-144-8-07-4-0
29Sep 25, 2014Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern34-147-5-09-3-0
30Oct 22, 2015Boone, NCAppalachian State31-1311-2-09-4-0
31Oct 27, 2016Statesboro, GAAppalachian State34-1010-3-05-7-0
32Nov 9, 2017Boone, NCAppalachian State27-69-4-02-10-0
33Oct 25, 2018Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern34-1411-2-010-3-0
34Oct 31, 2019Boone, NCGeorgia Southern24-2113-1-07-6-0
35Dec 12, 2020Statesboro, GAAppalachian State34-269-3-08-5-0
36Nov 27, 2021Boone, NCAppalachian State27-310-4-03-9-0
37Nov 26, 2022Statesboro, GAGeorgia Southern51-48^{2OT}6-6-06-7-0
The records were sourced from Wikipedia pages detailing Appalachian State and Georgia Southern football seasons.

Cultural Impact

  • The rivalry is referred to as “Deeper Than Hate.”
  • It represents more than just football, encapsulating regional pride and a history of competition.
  • Each game serves as a reminder of the schools’ intertwined past.

In their ongoing encounters, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern continue to battle on the gridiron, adding to the rich tapestry of college football culture.

Their passionate fan bases and the teams’ dedication to the sport make every encounter memorable. As both programs continue to grow and evolve, this rivalry remains a central narrative in their histories, showcasing the competitive spirit that defines college football.

Share Your Story!

If you have read this far, I’m betting you have some great Georgia Southern and Appalachian State stories of your own. Please share your stories down below in the comments section and help tell people about the greatness that is “Deeper Than Hate!”

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