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5 takeaways from App State vs. Wyoming

Redshirt+freshman+running+back+Kanye+Roberts+battles+for+possession+against+Wyoming+Sept.+23.
Courtesy of David Katzenmaier, App State Athletics
Redshirt freshman running back Kanye Roberts battles for possession against Wyoming Sept. 23.

1. Redzone offensive woes

The Mountaineers scored 12 points in the first half, all from field goals by junior kicker Michael Hughes. The first three field goals by Hughes ended long drives where the offense stalled out once they entered the redzone. On the game’s first drive, the Black and Gold drove down the field with ease, but at the Wyoming 16-yard line they ran three plays and failed to get a first down, forcing a field goal just eight yards from the goal line. The next offensive drive, they marched down to the 10-yard line, ran three plays resulting in a 1-yard net loss. Hughes jogged out and knocked in the field goal from the Wyoming 11-yard line. Later, in the second quarter, the offense drove 87 yards and found themselves at the Wyoming 9-yard line after a big run. A couple of short runs later, the drive ended three yards short of the end zone. Instead of six, the Mountaineers settled for three again. Three drives that ended 22 total yards away from three touchdowns and resulted in a 12 point swing in favor of the Cowboys.

2. The passing game spreads the ball around

Nine offensive players shared junior quarterback Joey Aguilar’s 22 completions. Redshirt junior wide receiver Kaedin Robinson led the team in receiving yards, totaling 51 on three catches. Fellow redshirt junior receiver Dashaun Davis and junior tight end Eli Wilson led the team with four receptions each. Outside of these three, six others hauled in at least one reception. Similar to last year, the offense doesn’t feature a clear No. 1 wide receiver.

3. Offensive struggles give opponents a chance

The defense kept the Mountaineers in this game, but the offense lost the game. The defense allowed a 75-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, but they limited Wyoming to 14 points and just over 200 total yards. The Black and Gold held the Cowboys to converting only three third-downs and scored the only App State touchdown on a pick-six by redshirt senior cornerback Tyrek Funderburk. Of the 14 allowed points, one touchdown came after an App State failed lateral that ended in a fumble, setting up Wyoming with good field position. When the defense plays so well, they need the offense to respond with points, something the Mountaineers couldn’t do on Saturday. The game ended on an interception thrown by Aguilar with under 20 seconds to play.  

4. App State and blocked kicks

App State knows a thing or two about clutch blocked kicks. Some of the biggest wins in program history have come on blocked kicks, including wins against Michigan in 2007 and North Carolina in 2019. This time however, the Black and Gold were on the opposite side of an eventual game-winning blocked kick. With under two minutes, App State attempted a field goal to extend their lead from five to eight. The Cowboys special teams unit broke through the Mountaineer blockers, swatted the ball down and returned it for a 62-yard touchdown that swung the game around after a long potential game sealing drive.  

5. Timeouts remain invaluable

With the lead in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers attempted to run the clock down before giving the ball back to Wyoming. The drive started at the App State 16-yard line, chewing up more than nine minutes, but ended in the blocked kick-six. The Black and Gold found themselves down by three with under two minutes to play and starting at their own 31-yard line. With time no longer on their side, the attempts to conserve the clock were hurt by a lack of timeouts. All three of the App State timeouts were used on the previous offensive drive. Wanting to get as close as possible for what could be a Hughes game-tying field goal attempt or a game-winning touchdown pass, head coach Shawn Clark called one more play with 17 seconds left. Usually a team would run the ball to get a couple more yards before attempting a kick, but with no timeouts, a run play likely runs out the clock. Instead, Aguilar dropped back, faced an all-out pressure from the Cowboys defense and threw the game-ending interception. The lack of timeouts hurt the Mountaineers chances on a drive where every second counted.    

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About the Contributor
Kolby Shea
Kolby Shea, Reporter
Kolby Shea (he/him) is a senior journalism major, photography minor, from Statesville, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
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