BOONE, N.C. — More than 300 rushing yards with no sacks allowed in a Game 1 win mean grilled steaks for App State's offensive linemen.

Head coach Shawn Clark should have a full stomach at the end of a week that includes a trip to his home state of West Virginia, where both the "Peppi" biscuit and "White Chocolate" remain popular.

Clark grew up in Charleston, W.Va., less than an hour east of Huntington, site of the 23rd-ranked Mountaineers' nationally televised road game on Saturday against Marshall. The matchup of former Southern Conference rivals will be shown on the primary CBS channel, dubbed "America's Most-Watched Network," at 3:30 p.m.

"It's a chance to go back home, and I have a lot of respect for that state and the people in that state," said Clark, an App State alum. "Outside of Appalachian State, the only schools I looked at were Marshall and West Virginia.

"A lot of good memories and a lot of good people there."

There are plenty of ties between App State's Mountaineers and the Mountain State, including offensive coordinator Tony Petersen, who was a star quarterback for the Thundering Herd in the 1980s before working there as an assistant coach from 1991-98 and 2010-12. Safeties coach Mark DeBastiani and running backs coach/special teams coordinator Brian Haines are both West Virginia natives.

Clark's connections to both the state and Marshall, specifically, run deep. He was a standout offensive lineman for App State during the mid-90s heyday of the rivalry with the Thundering Herd, and now he is his alma mater's head coach as the Mountaineers (1-0) prepare to play Marshall (1-0) for the first time since 2002.

During the 4.5-hour trip to Huntington, while heading up Interstate 64, there's no shortage of signs presenting Tudor's Biscuit World as a fast, breakfast-themed dining option. There are roughly 60 of those restaurants in the state, and Clark's go-to order is the Peppi — a biscuit with pepperoni and melted cheese. Tudor's has both a Mountaineer biscuit (country ham, potato, egg and cheese) and a Thundering Herd biscuit (sausage, potato, egg and cheese) that also draw praise from him.

"I want to treat everybody to a Tudor's biscuit," Clark said with a laugh.

Growing up in Charleston, with its gold-domed capitol building, Clark played multiple sports at George Washington High. Young athletes in that state dream of attending either West Virginia or Marshall, but a knee injury in high school tempered some of the recruiting interest in Clark as a football prospect.

With his sturdy, 6-foot-5 frame, he still excelled as a lineman and a basketball player, helping lead the Patriots to the AAA state championship game as a senior in 1993.

The AAA sectional final that season drew an overflow crowd of 1,800 fans to Eddie King Gym to watch an 18-4 Charleston team face DuPont, which possessed a 19-2 record thanks to two notable stars.

Jason Williams and Randy Moss.

Williams, a point guard, became an NBA standout with the nickname "White Chocolate." A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 6-foot-4 Moss had a two-touchdown, 109-yard receiving game to help Marshall beat Clark's App State team in 1996, but Clark received top billing as George Washington won 61-52 against Williams, Moss and the rest of the DuPont basketball team three years earlier.

Williams scored 23 points but wasn't mentioned until the 11th paragraph of the next day's recap from The Charleston Gazette. Moss being limited to seven points and four rebounds made it into the 14th paragraph.

Clark? He was the headlining star, introduced as "football player-at heart Shawn Clark" and credited as one of two "inside brutes" who enabled the Patriots to finish with a decisive edge in the paint against the "stylish, fast-breaking" DuPont team.

Playing only his sixth game since returning from the knee injury that required him to wear a large brace, Clark used his lefty touch around the rim to score 12 of his 18 points in the first half — yes, footage of a free throw revealed he is indeed left-handed, something that's not obvious to outsiders when you are a football coach who has worked primarily with offensive linemen.

Clark finished with six rebounds as George Washington ended the game with a 29-17 advantage in that category.

"I wasn't very talented," Clark said this week. "It was a little bit more of hustle and bustle on the inside."

Even after that memorable hoops win, Clark still had football on his mind.

"When I wasn't playing basketball, I was lifting," Clark told The Charleston Gazette that night. "I threw some weight around and got stronger. I can still play football. I want colleges to know that. My knee is fine."

Clark ended up spending a post-graduate year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia before relocating to Boone. App State head coach Jerry Moore and assistant John Wiley were looking for a long-snapper during their visit to a Fork Union practice that year, and two good snaps from Clark produced an on-the-spot scholarship offer.

The rest is history.

Clark made an immediate impact at offensive guard for App State, also played tackle and became a two-time All-American for teams that went a combined 45-16 during his first five years in Boone. Through the years, his father, Roy, and mother, Joyce, made weekly trips to watch their son play no matter what challenges rainy or snowy weather created for the commute.

Clark fondly recalls Johnny Smith's 70-yard interception return that gave App State a 24-7 lead in a 24-14 home win against No. 1 Marshall in 1994. The following year, the second-ranked Mountaineers pulled out a 10-3 road win against the third-ranked Thundering Herd thanks to Scott Satterfield's tiebreaking 5-yard touchdown run with 4:18 left.

That late-October win was part of an 11-0 regular season for App State.

"I just remember the atmosphere and the way the game was played — it was a physical game and it was fun," Clark said. "That's what college football is all about."

Now, 25 years later, he gets to experience his first trip to Huntington as a head coach.

During the December press conference to introduce him in his elevated role, Clark was visibly emotional as he discussed what it meant to lead App State's football program.

"You're talking about an old country boy from West Virginia," he said, "that's made it to be head coach at Appalachian State."