By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State used a strong running attack, complimented by a potent passing game to beat Texas State 38-17 on Saturday in San Marcos, TX.
The Mountaineers are currently 5-1 over-all, including a 3-0 record in the Sun Belt Conference.
It marks the seventh straight season in which Appalachian State has put together a four-game winning streak.
The running back trio of Daetrich Harrington, Cam Peoples and Marcus Williams combined for 231 yards and a touchdown for the Mountaineers. Harrington ran for 113 yards on 18 carries. And Appalachian quarterback Zac Thomas completed 18-for-27 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Thomas hooked up with 10 different receivers against Texas State while moving into third place on Appalachian State’s list for career touchdown passes (increasing his total to 60) and fourth place for career total offense (7,157 yards).
Demetrius Taylor and Jalen McLeod contributed sacks to help lead an Appalachian State defense that benefited from a career-high 10 tackles by D’Marco Jackson, who added 1.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. The Mountaineers forced two turnovers, limited the Bobcats to four conversions on 12 third-down tries and no conversions on three fourth-down attempts — all in the second half.
“Any time you win in college football you take it, I don’t care if it’s 2-0 or 100-99,” Appalachian State head coach Shawn Clark said. “We were down here a few years ago and won on a last-second play and celebrated like crazy. We’re going to celebrate tonight and, road warriors, and then we’re back home at The Rock.”
Texas State turned a 3rd-and-10 play into a 75-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Vitt to Javen Banks for the game’s first points only 44 seconds into the game.
But Appalachian State answered with a pair of touchdowns – a 32-yard catch by Miller Gibbs and Brendan Harrington’s interception of a Vitt pass and ensuing 49-yard scoring return.
The former capped a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive. And the latter provided the Mountaineers the lead they kept the rest of the game.
Appalachian State had a 24-10 halftime lead, after a 33-yard field goal by kicker Chandler Staton 15 seconds before the break.
During the third period, with Texas State driving toward the end zone, Appalachian State defensive back Shemar Jean-Charles intercepted a fourth-down pass by Vitt at the Mountaineers’ 9-yard line to end a 12-play drive.
Appalachian State redshirt junior Jalen Virgil made a picturesque diving reception in the middle of the end zone for a 9-yard score with a Bobcats defender all over him to open the fourth quarter, ending a drive that took 7:26.
Vitt threw a pair of touchdowns. And Jahmyl Jeter had 135 yards rushing on 11 carries for the Bobcats (1-8 over-all, 1-4 Sun Belt).
Appalachian State returns to Boone for a game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, November 14 (ESPN+) against Georgia State (3-3), which is coached by former Mountaineers player and assistant Shawn Elliott.