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Appalachian State pulls off 17-14 upset over No. 6 Texas A&M

Sportsnaut
Sep 10, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA;Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Haynes King (13) is tackled by Appalachian State Mountaineers defensive back Nick Ross (4) in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2007, the Appalachian State Mountaineers beat a team ranked inside the top 10 of Associated Press Poll.

Led by running back Camerun Peoples and a stingy defense, visiting App State upset No. 6 Texas A&M 17-14 in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.

The loss for the Aggies (1-1) marks just the second time since 2010 that they have lost at Kyle Field against a nonconference opponent. Entering Saturday, Texas A&M was 33-1 in home games against teams from outside the SEC or Big 12, and that lone loss was to eventual national champion Clemson in 2018. The backup quarterback on that Tigers team was current App State signal-caller Chase Brice, then a true freshman.

Brice commanded the Mountaineers (1-1) on several long drives, completing 15 of 30 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Brice’s backfield mate, Peoples, paced the offense with 112 rushing yards on 19 carries, including a 48-yard scamper that helped seal the win in the waning moments of the game.

“I’m so proud of our program … These players, they get all the credit,” App State coach Shawn Clark told ESPN. “I have a lot of confidence, in myself, in this team, in this program, that we’ll go play anybody, anywhere, any time. We came into College Station and beat the No. 6 team in the country. How cool is that?”

After ending the third quarter with the score tied, the Mountaineers took a three-point lead with 8:05 to play in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard field goal by Michael Hughes, which was the first of his career. That kick capped off a 16-play, 63-yard drive that chewed 9:15 off the clock.

Texas A&M responded with a nine-play, 45-yard drive, but missed badly on a 47-yard field-goal attempt from Caden Davis that would have tied the game with under five minutes to play. The Mountaineers got the ball back and ran off the rest of the clock, with Peoples rushing for a pair of first downs.

The key in App State’s victory was its ability to control possession, grind out drives and keep the Aggies’ offense off the field. The Mountaineers more than doubled the amount of plays ran compared to the Aggies — 80 to 38 — and had the football for more than half the game, clocking its possession time at 41:29. The Mountaineers converted 9-of-20 third-down tries and 3-of-4 attempts on fourth down.

Also crucial was App State’s defense holding A&M to 2-of-8 on third-down attempts, and the Mountaineers taking away two Aggie fumbles. The App State defense allowed only one touchdown, as A&M’s second score was a 95-yard kickoff return by Devon Achane.

Aggies quarterback Haynes King completed 13 of 20 passes for just 97 yards.

It was the second road upset of the day for the Sun Belt, as Marshall beat No. 8 Notre Dame in South Bend, 26-21.

–Field Level Media