GAMEDAY College Football

Appalachian State 17, Texas A&M 14

(AP Photo/Sam Craft)

By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - On paper, there was no reason to believe that Appalachian State would have a chance against Texas A&M.

But Mountaineers coach Shawn Clark, who makes 10 times less than the over $9 million Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher receives each season at the Southeastern Conference school, made it clear to his 18 1/2-point underdog team that the game is not played on paper and mindset would mean everything.

"The key was belief," an exhausted Clark said. "You have to believe in yourself and believe in this program. I told them take the logo off of the helmet, take the logo off the field and let's go play football."

And play football they did, with Chase Brice throwing for 134 yards and a touchdown and a stingy defense taking advantage of two turnovers to stun the Aggies 17-14.

"It didn't feel real at first," Brice said. "I'll be honest, I was just in shock. I just couldn't believe the way we fought and finished. It was just great."

Appalachian State won a week after scoring six touchdowns and 40 points in the fourth quarter in a 63-61 opening loss to North Carolina.

"It means something to me to beat the No. 6-ranked program," Clark said. "It's two different programs. We don't recruit at the same level. We don't have what they have, but we have a lot of heart and we have the right kind of players in our program."

Clark was thrilled to see Brice lead his team to the win after his school-record six-touchdown performance last week wasn't enough to complete the comeback.

"He was crushed," Clark said. "He loves this program and today was his shining moment."

Along with the victory, the Mountaineers got a fat $1.5 million check to take back with them to Boone, North Carolina, for playing this game.

Appalachian State (1-1) settled for a 29-yard field goal by Michael Hughes to take a 17-14 lead with about eight minutes left after Christian Wells was wide open but dropped a touchdown pass on third down.

The Aggies (1-1) had a chance to tie it with about 3 1/2 minutes to go, but a 47-yard field goal attempt by Caden Davis was short.

Camerun Peoples, who finished with 112 yards rushing, had a 1-yard run on third down on the next possession to keep Appalachian State's drive going. He then dashed 48 yards to the 12 on the next play and the Mountaineers ran out the clock.

"At the end of the day, that's my fault as the head football coach," Fisher said. "We have to have guys ready in all three phases. We had chances to make plays in all three phases.. We had opportunities, but we have to coach it better. That's on me."

It's Appalachian State's first win over a team in The AP top 10 as a FBS team after losing in overtime to No. 9 Tennessee in 2016 and dropping an OT game to No. 9 Penn State in 2018.

The Mountaineers famously knocked off No. 5 Michigan 34-32 with a last-second blocked field goal in Ann Arbor in 2007 when they were still in the FCS.

"Respect all those guys they were great," offensive lineman Cooper Hodges said. "But I'm tired of hearing about Michigan. I want our legacy to be Sun Belt champions and I want our legacy to be beating Texas A&M."

The Mountaineers kept A&M's offense in check a week after Clark was left looking for ways to fix his defense after the 63-point outburst by North Carolina.

Devon Achane ran for a touchdown in the first half and returned a kickoff for a score in the third, but the Aggies had trouble getting much else going on a mistake-filled day.

The Mountaineers outgained A&M 305-186 and had 22 first downs to just nine by the Aggies. They controlled time of possession, too, holding a 41:29 to 18:31 advantage in that area.

Fisher said he would consider a change at quarterback this week after a sub-par performance by Haynes King. He added that they probably would have made the switch Saturday if the game had gone differently.

"We were but we never had the ball," he said. "If we had got more possessions maybe so."

The Aggies were driving in the third quarter when Dexter Lawson Jr. forced a fumble by Evan Stewart after a 13-yard reception and it was recovered by Nick Hampton.

The Mountaineers took a 14-7 lead when Henry Pearson grabbed a 9-yard TD reception from Brice with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the third.

The lead was short-lived as Achane returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown seconds later. Achane, who is a sprinter on Texas A&M's track team, juked a defender before shedding a would-be tackler and racing downfield for the score to tie it at 14-all.

King was sacked by DeAndre Dingle-Prince and fumbled late in the first quarter. Texas A&M lineman Layden Robinson recovered the ball, but he also fumbled and this time Appalachian State recovered it.

They cashed in on the mistake when Ahmani Marshall scored on a 4-yard touchdown run that made it 7-0 early in the second quarter.

The Aggies tied it up when Achane dashed 26 yards for a touchdown on the next drive.

King finished with 97 yards passing.

THE TAKEAWAY

The loss puts a huge dent on Texas A&M's preseason goal of finally contending for a national title, leaving the Aggies in an early hole before they even begin the rigors of SEC play.

RECORD TALK

Fisher was hired to take A&M to the next level after coach Kevin Sumlin was fired after his sixth season. But so far Fisher hasn't done any better than Sumlin did in his time with the Aggies.

Sumlin was 36-14 in his first 50 games and Saturday's loss dropped Fisher to 35-15 in his first 50.


Scoring Summary
Second Quarter AppTexA&M
App TD 14:56 Ahmani Marshall 4 yd run (Michael Hughes kick) 7 0
TexA&M TD 11:37 Devon Achane 26 yd run (Caden Davis kick) 7 7
Third Quarter AppTexA&M
App TD 2:34 Henry Pearson 9 yd pass from Chase Brice (Michael Hughes kick) 14 7
TexA&M TD 2:20 Devon Achane 95 yd kick return (Caden Davis kick) 14 14
Fourth Quarter AppTexA&M
App FG 8:05 Michael Hughes 29 yd FG 17 14
Team Stats
  Appalachian State Texas A&M
First downs 22 9
  Rushing 9 4
  Passing 8 4
  Penalty 5 1
3rd Down Efficiency 9-20, 45% 2-8, 25%
4th down efficiency 3-5, 60% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 52-181 18-89
Passing Yards 134 97
Return Yards 31 121
Completions-Attempts-Int 15-30-0 13-20-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 1--6 2--4
Punts 3 4
Punts-Average 43.7 45.5
Fumbles Lost 1-0 4-2
Penalties - Yards 5-55 7-60
Time of Possession 41:29 18:31
Appalachian State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Brice 15 30 134 1 0
Texas A&M Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
H. King 13 20 97 0 0
Appalachian State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Peoples 19 112 5.9 0
A. Marshall 11 35 3.2 1
D. Harrington 12 33 2.8 0
D. Davis 2 9 4.5 0
C. Brice 6 4 0.7 0
Texas A&M Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Achane 10 66 6.6 1
H. King 8 23 2.9 0
Appalachian State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Davis 4 39 9.8 0
C. Wells 1 27 27.0 0
T. Page 1 15 15.0 0
D. Stroman 2 14 7.0 0
H. Pearson 2 12 6.0 1
C. Horn 2 12 6.0 0
D. Larkins 1 7 7.0 0
E. Wilson 1 5 5.0 0
K. Robinson 1 3 3.0 0
Texas A&M Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
E. Stewart 5 48 9.6 0
A. Smith 4 21 5.3 0
D. Green 1 12 12.0 0
Y. Brown 2 11 5.5 0
D. Achane 1 5 5.0 0
Appalachian State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Texas A&M Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Appalachian State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
C. Howell 3 131 43.7
Texas A&M Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
N. Constantinou 4 182 45.5
Appalachian State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Page 1 12 12.0
Texas A&M Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Smith 1 1 1.0
Appalachian State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
M. Tucker 1 19 19.0
Texas A&M Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Achane 2 120 60.0
Appalachian State Missed FG
Player Length
M. Hughes 42
Texas A&M Missed FG
Player Length
C. Davis 47




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