BOONE, N.C. — Twenty-five years ago, Shawn Clark helped App State muscle its way to a bruising 10-3 win at Marshall in a matchup of top-three FCS teams.

The Mountaineers and Thundering Herd are responsible for the two most successful FCS-to-FBS transitions in college football history, setting up Saturday's nationally televised showdown that pits 23rd-ranked App State against a Marshall program that is receiving top-25 votes.

Kickoff is scheduled for the coveted 3:30 time slot on CBS, dubbed America's Most-Watched Network, and fans will be allowed in Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Reports state 12,500 fans attended Marshall's home opener in its 38,016-seat stadium.

In 1995, Clark was an offensive guard opening holes for head coach Jerry Moore and quarterback Scott Satterfield. Clark has joined those two men in a special fraternity, as he's now the head coach at his alma mater, preparing his team to face a school located less than an hour from his hometown of Charleston, W.Va.

"We'll have our work cut out for us," Clark said. "We'll stick to our game plan, and it's going to be one of those four-quarter battles. We have to be in it at the end and hopefully be there to win it."

In making the second of five national television appearances attached to its first six games of 2020, App State will play on CBS for just the second time, after a 1983 game against The Citadel. The Mountaineers hold a 14-8 lead against Marshall in a series that included 21 games as Southern Conference rivals from 1977-96, plus a 2002 meeting in Huntington.

Clark made his head coaching debut during a 2019 bowl win to close a 13-1 season in which the Mountaineers finished No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the AP Top 25. They began the 2020 season last weekend with a 35-20 home win against Conference USA member Charlotte.

Marshall went 8-5 last season under coach Doc Holliday, tying for second place in Conference USA's East Division, and the Thundering Herd opened the 2020 season on Sept. 5 with a 59-0 win against FCS member Eastern Kentucky. The Thundering Herd's game scheduled for Sept. 12 against East Carolina was postponed.

"Coach Holliday has done a great job of recruiting team speed," Clark said. "They're very athletic."

After pitching a shutout against an FCS foe, Marshall faces a tougher challenge against an App State offense that rushed for more than 300 yards and put two backs over 100 yards in the win over Charlotte.

Redshirt senior linebacker Tavante Beckett, a Virginia Tech transfer, amassed 121 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, one interception, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles last season as a first-team all-league performer. Defensive end Darius Hodge, who is from the Raleigh area, has 10.0 sacks in 25 career games.

Marshall's offense includes a redshirt freshman quarterback who attended Clark's high school in Charleston, a talented 223-pound back in Brenden Knox, a group of long, speedy receivers, versatile tight end Xavier Gaines and an offensive line that likely will start five redshirt seniors.

Running behind that experienced line, Knox gained 85 yards on 18 carries to make a strong 2020 debut following a 1,387-yard season that made him the C-USA MVP in 2019. At quarterback, 6-foot-2 Grant Wells made his first career start against Eastern Kentucky and completed 16 of 23 passes for 307 yards with four touchdowns.

App State's defense is a week removed from limiting Charlotte to 286 total yards, including just 89 in the second half. The 49ers completed 11 of 30 pass attempts on a rain-soaked afternoon in Boone.

"We just have to make a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2," outside linebacker Nick Hampton said. "We just have to keep working and do what we normally do as a defense — fly around and get to the ball."