By Tim Gardner
Photography by David C. Mayo
The seniors on the 2019 Appalachian State football team went out with a bang in the last regular season game they will ever play at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone on a wet and cold Saturday, as they and their fellow-Mountaineers defeated Texas State 35-13 in a Sun Belt Conference game.
It was not the massive Appalachian State blowout many expected, but the victory secured a second straight 10-win season for the No. 24 Mountaineers (10-1 over-all; 6-1 conference). In 2018, they finished the season 11–2 over-all, 7–1 in Sun Belt play to be co-champions of the East Division with Troy. Due to their head-to-head win over Troy, the Mountaineers represented the East Division in the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game where they defeated West Division champion Louisiana to become league champions for the third consecutive year and first time outright.
Running back Darrynton Evans rushed for 154 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns to lead Appalachian State.
Wide receiver Corey Sutton got the scoring underway against Texas State with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter when he hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Thomas. Chandler Staton added the extra point as Appalachian State led 7-0.
The scoring drive covered 87 yards and took seven plays.
But Sutton left the game at the beginning of the second quarter. He caught a short pass and was blindsided by a tackle that caused a fumble.
Sutton was holding his left knee before being helped off the field. He reappeared on the sideline in. the second half on crutches.
Joshua Rowland kicked a 48-yard field goal with12:43 left in the second period to pull Texas State within 7-3.
Appalachian State went up 14-3 with one minute left in the first half when Thomas connected with Keishawn Watson for a 19 yard-touchdown pass, followed by Staton’s PAT.
But the Bobcats (3-8 over-all; 2-5 conference) pulled within 14-10 at the break. Tyler Vitt passed to Javen Banks down the middle for a 53-yard touchdown with just three seconds remaining in the half. Rowland converted the extra-point kick.
The Mountaineers could have led by a higher margin then, but failed on a trip inside the red zone and a missed field goal during the first half.
Texas State then closed the deficit to only one point when Rowland nailed a 48-yard field goal with 9:05 left in the third quarter.
The Mountaineers then answered twice to push their lead to 28-13. Evans scored touchdowns on 13 and 10 yards–the last coming on the final play of the third period. Staton added the extra point after each touchdown.
The first scoring drive was set up by Outside Linebacker Noel Cook’s interception, putting the Mountaineers on the Bobcats 29. They scored four plays later.
Appalachian State’s next coring drive went 67 yards in six plays, benefiting from two Texas State penalties.
The Mountaineers added some insurance points with 6:26 to play on another 13-yard yard touchdown run by Evans and Staton’s PAT, which provided the tally.
Defensive back Josh Thomas and Inside linebacker Jordan Fehr led Appalachian State defensively, making seven tackles each. Both had seven solos and two assists.
Appalachian State travels to Troy (Alabama) next Friday to play the Trojans in another Sun Belt clash and the regular season finale. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).