By Tim Gardner
Logan Laurent’s 36-yard field goal in the second overtime lifted UMass to a 30-27 upset victory over Appalachian State at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, Massachusetts Saturday.
It was the Mountaineers’ non-conference finale, and the loss ended their three-game winning streak.
Laurent, a redshirt senior, forced overtime by hitting a 45-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation. He was 4-for-4 kicking field goals and 3-for-3 making conversion kicks.
Junior running back Marquis Young opened overtime with a 10-yard touchdown run for the Minutemen (2-6). Appalachian State (5-3) responded two plays later with when senior quarterback Taylor Lamb tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Ike Lewis. Appalachian State’s redshirt freshman kicker Chandler Staton hit the game-tying extra point to deadlock the score at 27. Then UMass recovered a fumble on the first play of the second overtime to set up the game-winning points.
Staton made the first two field goal attempts of his career during the game, and he was 3-for-3 on extra points.
Appalachian State senior linebacker Eric Boggs passed 300 career tackles with a sterling performance against UMass that included 15 tackles, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble and two pass breakups. His tackles increased his career total to 313, and his interception was the seventh of his collegiate career.
Boggs’ 15 tackles matched his career-high from a 2015 game against South Alabama.
Senior defensive end Tee Sims had three sacks, the most for an Appalachian State defender since Boggs had three against Louisiana in 2015. It was the fourth multi-sack game in the last two seasons for Sims, who has 14.5 sacks in 20 career games.
Redshirt freshman running back Marcus Williams Jr. made his first career start and gained 125 yards on 25 carries for the Mountaineers. Seniors Jalin Moore and Terrence Upshaw and 2016 senior Marcus Cox had been the only running backs to start over the course of the previous 55 games for Appalachian State. That dates back to the first two games of the 2013 season when Ricky Fergerson started against Montana and North Carolina A&T.
Appalachian State, which is 4-0 in the Sun Belt Conference, resumes its league schedule next Saturday at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Staton made a tie-breaking, 30-yard field goal with 4:42 left in the fourth quarter to put the Mountaineers ahead 20-17. But the Minutemen answered with a 12-play drive to set up the game-tying field goal.
Staton tied the game at 17 when, on his first career attempt, he hit a 40-yard field goal with 5:06 left in the third quarter. The score was still tied when Appalachian State took over at its 20-yard line with 12:32 remaining, and Lamb directed a 14-play, 67-yard drive that lasted 7:50.
One play after true freshman running back Daetrich Harrington made a one-handed catch of a pitch to move close to the first-down marker, he gained 4 yards on a fourth-and-1 run from the UMass 25. Four plays later, Staton broke the tie.
App State fell behind 10-0 and converted two Boggs-driven turnovers into touchdowns to trail just 17-14 at halftime.
Sims recovered a fumble at the Minutemen’s 29 after Boggs knocked the ball loose on a second-quarter run, and a 26-yard run by Williams put the Mountaineers in scoring position. A loss and penalty preceded a 15-yard touchdown run by Lamb.
A post-turnover penalty negated the touchdown on junior defensive back Tae Hayes’ 48-yard interception return that would have given the Mountaineers a second-quarter lead. And Boggs’ interception to set up an Appalachian State touchdown with four seconds left in the half came at a critical time.
The Mountaineers punted following Hayes’ interception, and Young dashed 95-yards for a touchdown to open the next drive. UMass intercepted a pass and moved inside the Appalachian State 40 with a chance to increase its 17-7 lead in the final minute of the half. But Boggs picked off a wide receiver pass and returned the ball 36 yards to the UMass 39.
Taking over with 25 seconds left, Lamb completed passes of 22 and 16 yards to Lewis before taking a snap at the 1 with nine seconds and no timeouts remaining. He rolled left and threw a touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Thomas Hennigan.
With his two touchdown passes, Lamb increased his school-record total to 78 for his career, and he’s now alone in third place in Sun Belt history. Corey Robinson (Troy) and Kolton Browning (University of Louisiana-Monroe) both threw 81 touchdown passes from 2010-13. And Lamb’s 66 rushing yards increased his career total to 1,769 and moved him from fifth to fourth place in Sun Belt history on the list for rushing yards by a quarterback.
See game and season stats below: