This week, Appalachian gave us flashes of their 2007 miracle upset over Michigan. #14 Coastal Carolina has been one of the most dominant offenses in the FBS: having scored 50-plus points in all but two of their games this season (49 against Kansas & 28 against Buffalo). But on the Mountaineers side of the football, this is what viewers have come to expect from them. Appalachian is a constantly wavering team who plays well against their formidable competition and ranked opponents but then will get crushed by an unranked team that shouldn’t be a threat to them.
Looking at the final stat line this game wasn’t even close. The Mountaineers put up 575 total yards of offense to the Chanticleers 346 yards of offense. Much of this work came in the passing game as Chase Brice threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns highly targeting Malik Williams who ended the game with 206 yards and a touchdown and Corey Xavier Sutton who ended the game with 113 yards and a touchdown.
The game started well for the Chanticleers despite Appalachian playing tight coverage and getting pressure on the quarterback, Grayson McCall was hitting every target with pinpoint accuracy. In the first quarter, the Chanticleers played like usual on both sides of the ball. A masterful 72-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the game was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Shermari Jones. On their second drive the Mountaineers brought pressure resulting in a sack on second down, just to be spoiled by McCall’s scrambling ability and quick hands to hit Kameron Brown for a 74-yard race to the endzone.
Up 14-0 after one quarter, this game was on pace to be another blowout win for the Chanticleers. However, Appalachian for the next three quarters was able to beat Coastal at their own game hitting on big play after big play. Brice hit Williams on back-to-back long plays of 45 yards and 32 yards to set up the Mountaineers for a touchdown. With their newfound confidence, the Mountaineers got crafty lining up for the kickoff as if they were going to boot it away just to ease up at the last second for an onside kick in which they recovered. Another long strike from Brice to Williams resulting in a 47-yard touchdown put the Mountaineers back in the game. The Chanticleers were able to hit a pair of field goals to regain a 20-14 lead before the half.
In the second half, the Mountaineers continued their relentless attack of big plays with Brice hitting Sutton for what appeared to be a 75-yard touchdown which was then called back as Sutton stepped out of bounds going in the books instead as a 40-yard completion. Sutton would get the touchdown he deserved a few plays later making a contested 28-yard catch to put the Mountaineers back on top.
The Chanticleers followed with what would be their final scoring drive with an 83-yard drive resulting in another one-yard score for Shemari Jones. The Mountaineers followed with another big play touchdown: this time on the ground for a 43-yard rushing touchdown for Camerun Peoples. A failed two-point conversion kept the game tied at 27.
With the fans in The Rock roaring loud, the Mountaineers’ defense made consecutive defense stops allowing only 17 yards on the Chanticleers’ final three drives. These drives included two sacks and three tackles for loss in the backfield. Despite a long drive, the Mountaineers were unable to respond as a fumble by Daetrich Harrington inside the six-yard line had the Mountaineer faithful holding their breath. But the Mountaineers stood their ground on the final drive once again completing long pass after long pass setting up Chandler Staton for a 24-yard field goal as time expired sealed the 30-27 App State upset victory.
With many Carolina Colleges on Bye this week, there is only one other game to cover, a 33-7 Wolfpack win over Boston College.
No.22 NC State dominated this game in the second half scoring 23 unanswered points. The Wolfpack’s scoring plays stood out in this game as none of them were conventional. In the first quarter, Devin Carter caught a 40-yard touchdown in which the ball bounced off his defender’s back and he was able to juggle the ball one-handed while wrapped up to bring home the touchdown. In the second half, the Eagles punter fumbled the snap and Devan Boykin was able to run it back for a 34-yard scoop and score. A controversial call came on their next score as Dylan Parham brought in a four-yard pass which was then ripped from his hands in the endzone and recovered by Parham for the touchdown. Finally, what looked like a horrible throw by Devin Leary into triple coverage resulted in a jumping catch by Thayer Thomas who put on the burners en route to a 79-yard touchdown.