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App State set to write another chapter in Coastal Carolina rivalry

Former+App+State+running+back+Cam+Peoples+breaks+free+from+a+Chanticleer+defender+Oct.+20%2C+2021.+The+Mountaineers+upset+then+No.14+Coastal+Carolina+30-27.
Samuel Cooke
Former App State running back Cam Peoples breaks free from a Chanticleer defender Oct. 20, 2021. The Mountaineers upset then No.14 Coastal Carolina 30-27.

The Mountaineers welcome Coastal Carolina back to Kidd-Brewer Stadium Tuesday night to resume a rivalry that has consistently produced thrillers. 

“We look forward to hosting Coastal Carolina here at The Rock on national TV,” said head coach Shawn Clark. “We’ve always had great support from the students and our fans, and we expect the same thing on Tuesday night.”

The last time the Mountaineers and Chanticleers met in Boone two years ago, it was another midweek nationally-televised contest. A 24-yard walk-off field goal from former App State kicker Chandler Staton sealed a three-point victory over then 14th-ranked Coastal Carolina

App State is in the middle of a 10-day gap between games after their slim victory over ULM Sept. 30. Clark is hopeful the team can use the break as a reset prior to their first divisional game of the season. 

“We didn’t play our best, we have a lot of things to get corrected with a little bit of time this week and a midweek game Tuesday night,” Clark said.

Junior quarterback Joey Aguilar has shown his ability to make outstanding plays through his first five games with the Mountaineers. A 44-yard drive with 24 seconds and no timeouts to work with put the Black and Gold in position to beat ULM, and proved Aguilar is capable of leading the offense down the field in crucial late-game situations. Moving forward, Clark said the goal is to limit interceptions in hopes of avoiding those critical scenarios altogether.

“We gave up four turnovers on offense. You can’t do that and be successful,” Clark said. “Our offense moved the football, but you can’t turn the football over and have a chance to win. If you look at it statistically, we should have never even been close in that football game.”

Much of the credit for keeping App State in contention goes to running back Nate Noel. The junior from Miami is in the midst of a career season, averaging 130.2 rushing yards per game. A sixth-straight 100-yard effort from Noel would be invaluable towards lifting the Mountaineers to 4-2 on the year.

It was a chaotic offseason for the Chanticleers, with both their head coach and starting quarterback positions in limbo. Following a 9-4 season in 2022, former Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell vacated the program to take the head coaching job at Liberty and was replaced by NC State offensive coordinator Tim Beck. 

Just days after Chadwell announced his departure on Dec. 4, quarterback Grayson McCall entered the transfer portal and began speaking with other teams. However, McCall pulled out of the portal less than a month later and confirmed his return to Coastal Carolina for his redshirt senior season. 

The Chanticleers’ first season under Beck has not gone entirely to plan, with the team beginning conference play with back-to-back losses against Georgia State and Georgia Southern. The team will be coming to Boone desperate for a win to remain in contention for the Sun Belt Conference Championship. 

Many of Coastal Carolina’s shortcomings can be attributed to mistakes from McCall. Four interceptions against Georgia Southern spelled doom for the Chanticleers, even with 465 yards of total offense. The run game has not been a problem, with running back Braydon Bennett putting up a season-high 114 rushing yards in 15 carries against the Eagles. 

As for injury updates, Clark said junior defensive end Montez Kelley returned to practice Monday after sitting out the ULM game, while redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Burger remains day-to-day. 

Kickoff for Tuesday night is slated for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

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About the Contributors
Spence Smithback, Reporter
Spence Smithback (he/him) is a senior journalism major, geography minor, from Jamestown, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Samuel Cooke, Photojournalist
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