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The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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Good, bad and ugly: Mountaineers dominate Eagles

Junior+wide+receiver+Christan+Horn+races+towards+the+end+zone+against+Georgia+Southern+Nov.+25.+Horn+had+46+receiving+yards+and+one+touchdown+in+the+55-27+win+over+the+Eagles.
Landon Williams
Junior wide receiver Christan Horn races towards the end zone against Georgia Southern Nov. 25. Horn had 46 receiving yards and one touchdown in the 55-27 win over the Eagles.

The Good

App State ended their regular season with a 55-27 thrashing of long-time rival Georgia Southern. A month ago, the team sat at 3-4 with questions about head coach Shawn Clark’s future with the program. 

Fast forward a few weeks and the team is riding a five-game win streak heading into a Sun Belt Championship matchup against Troy. 

The season turnaround has been remarkable, with the Mountaineer defense being revitalized after the loss to Old Dominion 28-21. Over the win-streak, the team has allowed 22.2 points per game compared to 29.85 points per game prior to the defensive turnaround.

Junior quarterback Joey Aguilar has continued to thrive in his first season in the High Country. Against the Eagles, the California native threw four touchdowns along with 296 passing yards. Aguilar broke former Mountaineer quarterback Taylor Lamb’s single-season passing touchdown record after his second touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Christan Horn. With two games remaining, Aguilar has a chance to break the Sun Belt single-season record set by Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen at 37.

The Bad

Once again, the Black and Gold got off to a slow start against the Eagles. The Mountaineer defense allowed a touchdown two minutes into the game in addition to poor open field tackling.

The offense looked stagnant to start the game, with App State unable to find the endzone til the second quarter. They struggled to move the ball downfield and extend drives into Georgia Southern territory. In the second quarter, they shook off the rust and began to look like the explosive offense fans are accustomed to watching.

Junior running back Nate Noel did not see the field Saturday as he’s still battling through injury. Despite Noel’s absence, the Mountaineers featured junior running back Anderson Castle and redshirt freshman running back Kanye Roberts, who led the team with 110 rushing yards and one touchdown. While Roberts and Castle played well against the Eagles, App State will need a healthy Noel in their quest for another Sun Belt title and bowl game victory.

The Ugly

Troy is riding a nine-game win streak and haven’t lost since Sept. 16 against James Madison. Last time they matched up in 2022, the Mountaineers won on a last-second hail mary from former quarterback Chase Brice with College GameDay in town. 

The 2023 Trojans feature many returners from their 2022 Sun Belt Championship team. Additionally, they will have home field advantage as App State will travel to Troy, Alabama for the Sun Belt Championship game.

If the Black and Gold want to capture their fifth Sun Belt title, they will need to play their best for 60 minutes.

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About the Contributors
Ethan Smith, Sports Editor
Ethan Smith (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his third year writing for The Appalachian.
Landon Williams, Photographer
Landon Williams (he/him) is a Junior majoring in Commercial Photography from Winston Salem, NC. This is his second year with The Appalachian. 
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