Wednesday, October 20, 2021

App State Rocks the Sun Belt With Win Over #14 Coastal Carolina

BOONE – Sun Belt Conference football was on display Wednesday night at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina. For two teams who have only played eight times, it certainly felt like a rivalry game in front of a sellout crowd of 31,061. The two teams lived up the high billing for the game, combining for over nine hundred yards of total offense and fifty-seven points. In the end, it was App State who found victory after a hard-fought game, winning 30-27 over the #14 team in the country.

Coastal came out swinging in the first quarter, showing off their balanced offense and taking a 14-0 lead with a one-yard Shermari Jones run and a seventy-four-yard catch and run by Kameron Brown. By the end of the first quarter, the Mountaineers had found their footing and went on their own long scoring drive, capping it off with a one-yard Camerun Peoples run. Sensing a shift in momentum in favor of the home team, App State head coach Shaun Clark decided to roll the dice and go for the onside kick. The Mountaineers recovered and, three plays later, a streaking Malik Williams had raced forty-seven yards to hit pay dirt and the two teams found themselves knotted at 14 midway through the second quarter.

Rolling the dice only worked once for the Mountaineers in the first half, though, as a fourth-down attempt near midfield was stopped and the Chanticleers took advantage of the short field, retaking the lead with a fifty-yard field goal by Massimo Biscardi. Biscardi added another field goal as halftime struck to give the visitors a 20-14 lead at intermission.

The third quarter was filled with big offensive plays and long scoring drives for both teams. App State was the first to find the end zone after Chase Brice hit Corey Sutton in the shadow of the Mountaineers' new end zone facility to give the home team the lead for the first time on the evening. Coastal responded five minutes later with Shermari Jones's second one-yard scoring run on the night. Seeing his opposing counterpart score twice, App State's Camerun Peoples decided he wanted to be in on multi-score action as well. The junior running back, who finished with fifty-eight hard-fough yards on the night, scampered in from forty-three yards out to tie the game. A bad snap on the PAT attempt kept the game tied heading into the final stanza.

When Chase Brice found Corey Sutton between two defenders, the senior receiver fought his way to get the Mountaineers in the red zone. When it looked like the App State offense was poised to finally break through, a fumble gave the ball back to the Chanticleers inside their own ten-yard line. The App State defense held firm, forcing another Coastal punt. Chandler Staton got the play the part of the hero, kicking a twenty-four-yard field goal as time expired to give the Mountaineers their first win over a ranked opponent since transitioning to FBS.

Malik Williams was a beast for the Mountaineers on the night. The senior wide receiver had 206 receiving yards on the night, a program-best since moving to FBS. Fellow senior Corey Sutton added 113 yards as well. The App State rushing attack gained 228 yards seemingly by committee. Nate Noel led the Mountaineers with eighty-two yards. On defense, D'Marco Jackson was all over the field for the home team, leading the team with eleven tackles. Jackson's tackles were easily helped by Caleb Spurlin, who seemed to be in the backfield for much of the second half.

Next Week
Coastal plays their second straight weekday game, hosting Troy on Thursday night while App State (4-2) hosts ULM for homecoming on Saturday, October 30.