1000 x 90

Appalachian State Defeats Coastal Carolina 23-7 to Become Bowl Eligible

By Tim Gardner

Appalachian State keeps making record-shattering milestones after its transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Playing without their first-string quarterback, the Mountaineers used a stingy defense and a strong running attack to beat Coastal Carolina 23-7 in a Sun Belt Conference game in Conway, SC Saturday and become bowl eligible.

It marked Appalachian State’s sixth win in eight games this season, including its fourth in five conference tilts.

Appalachian State is the only program with a bowl win in each of its first three eligible seasons after the complete transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks. The Mountaineers won the 2015 and 2016 Camellia Bowls and the 2017 Dollar General Bowl.

The Mountaineers will likely play in one of the five bowl games with Sun Belt tie-ins:

Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018

2:30 p.m. — AutoNation Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL)

5:30 p.m. — Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL)

9 p.m. — R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, LA)

Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018

7 p.m. — Dollar General Bowl (Mobile, AL)

Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018

1:15 p.m. — NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl (Tuscon, AZ)


But back to the game at Brooks Stadium that secured the bowl berth.

Appalachian State’s defense held Coastal Carolina (5-4 over-all; 2-3 conference) to only 178 total yards, including just 72 on the ground, or 179.6 yards below an average that ranked ninth nationally. Of Coastal Carolina’s six first-half drives, that defense forced four three-and-outs. None of those drives were longer than six plays and the Chanticleers had only 62 total yards at halftime.

Darrynton Evans ran for 159 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown to lead Appalachian State’s ground game.

Evans, who had three runs of 25-plus yards, scored on a 26-yard run early in the first quarter and his 39-yard run helped set up Marcus Williams Jr.’s 4-yard touchdown plunge midway through the fourth period. Evans entered the game as the second leading rusher in the Sun Belt, averaging 105 yards a game.

Williams Jr. also broke the 100-yard rushing barrier for Appalachian State, gaining 103 yards on 19 carries.

The Mountaineers totaled 278 yards on the ground.

Appalachian State Head Coach Scott Satterfield commented about his team’s play: “We needed that (defensive performance) and to be able to run the football and get them off the field because they (Coastal Carolina) can grind (it) out.”

With 10:16 remaining in the opening quarter, Evans rushed to the left for his touchdown. Chandler Staton followed with the conversion kick to give the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead.

Quarterback Zac Thomas, who suffered a concussion early in the first quarter of a game at Georgia Southern on Oct. 25, sat this one out. Jacob Huesman started in his place, going 9-for-19 on pass attempts for 127 yards.

Coastal Carolina’s Derambez Drinkard, a sophomore cornerback, stopped two Appalachian State drives with interceptions. The first came when he picked off a Huesman pass and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown at the 5:57 mark of the first period. Massimo Biscardi made the extra point kick to tie the score at 7.

The second interception was a pass from Huesman that bounced off the helmet of Williams, deflecting into the hands of Drinkard with 6:24 left in the second quarter.

Then with 1:40 left before halftime, Huesman passed to wide receiver Corey Sutton down the middle for a 33 yard touchdown. Staton made the PAT to give Appalachian State a 14-7 lead.

The Mountaineers struggled in the red zone, going only 1-of-3 inside Coastal Carolina’s 20. The final try with 11:42 remaining, ended on a failed run play at the 1-yard line. The Chanticleers were still trailing by only seven points when they took the ball over. But the Mountaineers needed only one play to force a safety, when several defenders, led by safety Desmond Franklin and inside linebacker Jordan Fehr, tackled Coastal Carolina’s Torrance Marable in the end zone. That gave the Mountaineers two points, a 16-7 lead, the ball back with 11:33 left and made it a two-possession game.

Appalachian State increased its advantage to 23-7 only three plays after the free kick and less than two minutes later (9:54) on the score by Williams Jr. and Staton’s point-after.

Josh Thomas intercepted a pass for an Appalachian State. Fehr also contributed three sacks and Franklin downed two punts at the 1-yard line.

Clayton Howell and Xavier Subotsch delivered those punts, and Appalachian State maintained a 14-7 lead when Tae Hayes made another big special teams play by tipping a 50-yard field goal early in the third quarter. It was his second blocked field goal of the season and the Mountaineers’ fifth blocked kick this year.

The complete statistics for the Appalachian State-Coastal Carolina game may be found online at:


Appalachian State is one game out of first place in the Sun Belt’s East Division and returns to action next weekend at Texas State (3-6, 1-4).