By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With the kind of time management that would make a Swiss watchmaker proud, Appalachian State rolled into the Longhorn State and took down nationally No. 6-ranked Texas A&M, 17-14, on Sept. 10. It was the second time in the Mountaineers’ program history that they upset a “top 10” ranked team, the first coming in 2007, against then No. 5 ranked Michigan.
Saturday’s upset occurred in front of 92,664 mostly Aggie fans at Kyle Stadium. At one point in the first half, the heat index was recorded at 107 degrees Fahrenheit. During his post-game press conference, App State head coach Shawn Clark underlined the weather conditions by noting that earlier in the week the Mountaineers had practiced in 58-degree weather, back in Boone.
Controlling the clock was part of the Mountaineer game plan, said Clark, and they achieved that objective by having possession of the football for 41:29, keeping A&M’s highly touted offense off the field for all but 18:31. Appalachian produced 315 yards of total offense while holding Texas A&M in check.
The Mountaineer defense, which was torched for 567 yards of total offense by North Carolina a week ago, effectively stuffed Texas A&M, limiting the Aggies to just 186 yards of total offense and forcing two turnovers.
The Mountaineers’ scoring included a 4-yard TD run by Wake Forest transfer Ahmani Marshall on the first play of the second quarter to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Running back Devon Achane accounted for both of the Aggies’ touchdowns, the first coming on a 26-yard run on the drive after Marshall’s TD. Then, after Mountaineer QB Chase Brice had flipped a short pass to tight end Henry Pearson on the right side that saw the 6-3, 245-lb. senior from New Jersey run around the perimeter and sneak one foot inside the goal line pylon, Achane responded with a 95-yard kickoff return, covering the distance virtually untouched.
App State featured a balanced offensive attack on the day: 181 yards rushing by five runners, led by junior running Camerun Peoples (19 carries, 112 yards) and 134 yards passing to nine different receivers.
Appalachian State returns to Kidd Brewer Stadium on Sept. 17 for a first Sun Belt Conference tilt against Troy, with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m. Texas A&M hopes to rebound against No. 15 Miami, at home, in a 9:00 p.m. game featured on ESPN.
COMPLETED GAMES FROM AROUND THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE (SBC teams in bold)
- Appalachian State 17, No. 6 Texas A&M 14
- No. 3 Ohio State 45, Arkansas State 12
- Marshall 26, No. 8 Notre Dame 21
- No. 15 Miami 30, Southern Miss 7
- North Carolina 35, Georgia State 28
- South Alabama 38, Central Michigan 24
- James Madison 63, Norfolk State 7
- East Carolina 39, Old Dominion 21
- Coastal Carolina 31, Gardner-Webb 27
SUN BELT GAMES IN PROGRESS AT THIS WRITING:
- 3rd Qtr. – Eastern Michigan 14, Louisiana 0
- 3rd Qtr. – Troy 21. Alabama A&M 3
- 3rd Qtr. – Texas State 20, Florida International 6
- 3rd Qtr. – Georgia Southern 35, Nebraska 35
- 3rd Qtr. – Louisiana-Monroe 28, Nicholls 7