App State football knocks off Texas State 38-17 for fourth straight victory

App+State+head+coach+Shawn+Clark+leads+the+Mountaineers+onto+the+field+ahead+of+the+38-17+victory+over+Texas+State+at+Bobcat+Stadium+in+San+Marcos%2C+Texas+Nov.+7.

Courtesy App State Athletics

App State head coach Shawn Clark leads the Mountaineers onto the field ahead of the 38-17 victory over Texas State at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas Nov. 7.

Silas Albright, Sports Editor

The Mountaineers (5-1 overall, 3-0 Sun Belt) used big plays from all over the roster in a 38-17 win at Texas State (1-8, 1-4) Saturday.  

“They’re so much better than their record, I give (Texas State head coach) Jake (Spavital) and his program a lot of credit for what they do,” App State head coach Shawn Clark said. “I thought we played well enough to win, but we have a lot to clean up as we go into Georgia State this week.”

Three App State players scored the first touchdowns of their Mountaineer careers in the first half of the game, helping give the black and gold a 24-10 advantage at halftime. Sophomore tight end Miller Gibbs scored on a 32-yard catch, senior starting defensive end Caleb Spurlin caught a 1-yard TD and sophomore linebacker Brendan Harrington returned an interception 49 yards for a score.

Senior walk on defensive end Caleb Spurlin (#97, center) celebrates with teammates after catching the first touchdown pass of his career in the 38-17 win at Texas State. (Courtesy App State Athletics)

“I always think it’s great to have a win, especially in the Sun Belt,” Spurlin said. “It’s just so competitive this year, more competitive than it’s ever been, in my opinion.” 

In the third quarter, senior cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles halted a Texas State drive at the App State nine yard line with his first interception of 2020, setting up a 91-yard, 7 minute 26 second Mountaineer scoring drive. Senior quarterback Zac Thomas capped off the drive with his third TD pass of the game, a nine-yard connection with senior wide receiver Jalen Virgil to extend App State’s lead to 31-10 with 14:16 to go in the fourth quarter.

With 5:59 left to play, sophomore running back Camerun Peoples scored the last points of the game on a 32-yard touchdown run to put the Mountaineers up 38-17 for good. 

Behind two interceptions, five tackles for loss and two sacks, the App State defense held its opponent under 20 points for the third week in a row. The Mountaineers also held Texas State to 4-for-12 on third down and 0-for-3 on fourth down. 

“I think we played well as a defense,” Harrington said. “We got to the quarterback, we pressured him a lot, we closed a lot of gaps and I think we played well. Just gotta keep improving.” 

The Mountaineers accumulated 426 yards of total offense in the game, with 258 from the rushing attack and 168 through the passing game. 

Junior running back Daetrich Harrington turned in his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season, gaining 113 yards on 18 attempts. Peoples finished with 67 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and senior Marcus Williams Jr. rushed eight times for 55 yards. True freshman Nate Noel also picked up 23 yards on three carries. 

Thomas completed 18 passes to 10 receivers for 168 yards and three touchdowns at a 66.7% completion rate. Senior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan finished with a team-high four receptions for 32 yards while Gibbs finished with three receptions for a team-high 47 yards. 

“Any time you win in college football, you take it, I don’t care if it’s 2-0 or 100-99,” Clark said.

The Mountaineers next take the field on Saturday, Nov. 14 when the Panthers of Georgia State (3-3, 2-3) travel to Boone. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will stream on ESPN+.