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Mountaineers fall to Chanticleers for first time ever in Boone 27-24

Hayden Wittenborn
App State offensive lineman prepare for the snap against Coastal Carolina Oct. 10. The Mountaineers posted 111 rushing yards.

For the first time ever at Kidd Brewer Stadium, and for the second year in a row, App State lost to Coastal Carolina Tuesday night. This year, it came at the hands of a last-second 24-yard field goal by the Chanticleers. 

This is the third consecutive game that went down to the wire for the Black and Gold. Last time they took the field against ULM, it took a last second 54-yard game-winning field goal from junior kicker Michael Hughes to overcome the Warhawks 41-40. Three weeks ago against a Wyoming Cowboys team, Hughes had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown as Wyoming beat App State 22-19.

“We wanted to eliminate the big plays. That was our focus all week,” said head coach Shawn Clark. “We allowed them to happen, and then we had a turnover there in the fourth quarter, so we can bounce back here and make sure one loss doesn’t turn into two.”

A kickoff from Hughes got the game underway and saw the Chanticleers start at their own 17 yard-line. Coastal Carolina came out struggling on the first two plays only mustering four yards through two run plays. 

“Stay on top, match numbers and stop the run. That is our philosophy,” said redshirt senior linebacker Andrew Parker Jr. “We did a good job stopping the run but we have to do a better job staying on top.” 

With the crowd buzzing for the first third down stand of the night, CCU quarterback Grayson McCall took the snap and laid a perfect ball to Jared Brown for a 40-yard completion. A run, a penalty and another big play from the Coastal Carolina offense saw the Chanticleers find the Mountaineers one-yard line, where they rushed up the middle for the first score of the night. 

Taking the first possession of the night was junior running back Nate Noel. Noel, the second leading rusher in college football and leader in rush attempts per game, injured his lower leg and was limited to one attempt. The Mountaineers were unable to get the ball moving in the first drive as the team went three and out and gained five yards. 

The Chanticleers took little time to answer App State’s shortcomings as they went five plays for 63 yards. Coastal Carolina receiver Jameson Tucker was wide open on the left side of the field and leaped into the endzone to put the Chanticleers up 14-0. 

The Black and Gold’s struggles showed again in their second drive. Outside of a 20-yard completion from junior quarterback Joey Aguilar to redshirt junior wide receiver Dashaun Davis, the Mountaineers had no answer for a stout Coastal Carolina defense and were forced to punt again.

The Chanticleers continued to attack the Mountaineers through the air before the end of the first quarter. They found two quick first downs through the air before the period ended with CCU still leading 14-0.

“Grayson’s a great quarterback,” Parker Jr. said. “He has an ability to make a lot of plays and we knew that they were hungry for a win but we knew if we played the way we wanted to we’d have an opportunity to win.”

Both teams were held to a field goal on their initial possessions of the second quarter as big plays from Aguilar and McCall led their teams into opposing territory, but neither could find the endzone and settled for three. The score read 17-3 midway through the second quarter.

Redshirt senior defensive back Tyrek Funderburk celebrates after a stop Oct.10. (Hayden Wittenborn )

The next Mountaineer possession saw massive improvements from what the team had been doing to start the game. Junior running back Ahmani Marshall picked up 11 yards from two plays on the ground, which eventually led to Aguilar finding junior tight end Eli Wilson for a 32-yard gain.

“As an offensive lineman, we want to give Joey as much time as possible,” said senior offensive lineman Isaiah Helms. “We tell him that and we’re going to figure out a way to get him that time.”

The big completion mixed with an illegal substitution penalty from Coastal Carolina had App State down at the Chanticleer three-yard line where Marshall finished the job off for the first App State touchdown of the night, capping off a 10 play, 75-yard drive. CCU’s lead became 17-10.

Each team was then given another chance before the whistle blew for halftime. Coastal Carolina received the ball twice failing to get past the Black and Gold 35-yard line either time, while the Mountaineers were unable to break out of their half of the field and went into halftime still down 17-10. 

The initial drives for both teams to start the second half were unsuccessful, each leading to a turnover on downs. The turnover on downs from the Chanticleers allowed App State to get great field position, starting at their 46-yard line. 

“We flipped our mindset after halftime,” Parker Jr. said. “We had to come out and be the more physical team and we made those adjustments.” 

A beastly three-run stretch for junior running back Maquel Haywood saw him get 32 yards on the ground which led to Aguilar’s first touchdown pass of the night, this one to redshirt sophomore tight end David Larkins to tie the score at 17. 

Coastal Carolina took no time getting back on top, taking six plays to go 73 yards and take the lead back at 24-17.

While Noel had not been back in the game since his injury on the first play, his backups were doing work as it was redshirt freshman Kanye Roberts’ turn to get in on the fun. Roberts turned his own three-play stretch into 36 scrimmage yards, 18 on a reception and 16 on two rushing plays. 

“That’s a deep running back room,” Clark said. “I thought the backs ran hard and hit the hole well and they got some tough running yards.” 

The Black and Gold were unable to do anything with the big plays from Roberts, and were forced to punt the ball after a failed third down conversion at the end of the quarter. 

Although they got the stop, the Chanticleers were unable to get out of their own half during their first drive of the quarter. A 10-yard rush and a 15-yard pass completion highlighted the attempt, but Coastal Carolina punted to App State still leading 24-17.

That big third down stop from the Mountaineer defense seemed to switch the momentum in the stadium. The fans were becoming a fuse that was set off when Aguilar found sophomore wide receiver Makai Jackson for a 67-yard pass that brought the Black and Gold offense to the Chanticleer 12-yard line. That set up a touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Dalton Stroman to tie the game at 24-24 with 8:47 remaining.

If the third down stop didn’t get the crowd rocking, the touchdown did. A piercing sound was made by the fans of Kidd Brewer Stadium until McCall made another massive play, finding his receiver deep in the middle of the field to move into the red zone. An 8-yard completion on second down was the only other yards the Chanticleers were able to muster up the rest of the drive as redshirt sophomore linebacker Caden Sullivan stopped McCall on fourth down and gave the Mountaineers the ball with 4:58 left. 

The first play after the turnover on downs saw Aguilar line up in the shotgun and take the snap seeing redshirt junior wide receiver Milan Tucker in the middle of the field. Aguilar found him and as Tucker brushed off two tackles he was off to the races inside Coastal Carolina’s 20-yard line, but a Chanticleer defender punched the ball loose and CCU was able to recover the fumble at their 16-yard line. 

The following CCU drive spanned 11 plays, 77 yards and took every single second left off the clock. The possession was capped off with a game-winning field goal from Coastal Carolina, ending the game at 27-24. 

The loss drops the Black and Gold to 3-3 on the season and 1-1 in Sun Belt play.

App State travels to Old Dominion Oct. 21 for a tough in-conference opponent. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised on NFL Network. 

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About the Contributors
Trey Blake, Reporter
Trey Blake (he/him) is a sophomore digital journalism major, media studies minor, from Clayton, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Hayden Wittenborn, Photographer
Hayden Wittenborn (she/her) is a junior Advertising major, Business minor, from Cary, N.C. This is her first year with The Appalachian.
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