HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — In Appalachian State’s win over Charlotte Sept. 12, the Mountaineers were able to overcome their share of mistakes and still walk away with a victory.
Marshall wasn’t as forgiving one game later.
No. 23 App State made mistakes big and small and Marshall took advantage of two critical ones in its 17-7 victory over the Mountaineers on Sept. 19. Appalachian State fumbled what was likely a sure touchdown early in the fourth quarter and missed a very makeable field goal later in the fourth quarter, slipping to 1-1 on the season.
“I’m proud of the guys the way they fought until the end, but we can’t turn the ball over,” App State coach Shawn Clark said in his opening statement to the media after the game. “We’ll come back and get it better.”
App State had a golden opportunity to close Marshall’s 17-7 lead to just three points at the start of the fourth quarter when Mountaineers tight end Mike Evans caught a fourth-and-inches pass deep in the Herd’s territory. But the ball was knocked out of his hands inside the 5-yard line and went into the end zone for a touchback.
Marshall (2-0) nearly drove 80 yards on the ensuing drive with its running game, anchored by its standout offensive line, but could not convert a fourth-and-three at the App State 14-yard line. That gave App State another chance at scoring points, but Chandler Staton missed a field goal on its ensuing possession, and the Herd took over.
App State’s offense struggled to create those opportunities, or convert them when given the chance. The Mountaineers, who rushed for more than 300 yards against Charlotte, settled for just 96 yards on the ground. Camerun Peoples finished with a team-leading 57 rushing yards, while Daetrich Harrington was limited to 30 yards.
Marcus Williams Jr., who led the Mountaineers in rushing against Charlotte, was in uniform during warmups, but was in street clothes by halftime, according to Clark.
“We had two turnovers and we couldn’t run the football all day,” Clark said. “That’s been our bread and butter and they shut the run game down and again. Hats off to them.”
Both teams put up touchdowns to start the game. Marshall went first with a Brenden Knox 2-yard touchdown run with 12:29 left in the first quarter.
App State struck back with a Zac Thomas 11-yard TD pass to Jalen Virgil to tie the game. Marshall kicker Shane Ciucci gave the Herd a 10-7 halftime lead with a 29-yard field goal late in the second quarter. App State was driving to the Herd end zone, but Marshall intercepted a Thomas pass with 1:05 left in the first half.
App State’s offense struggled after scoring on its next four possessions with three drives ending in punts and the final possession ending in the interception.
Thomas completed 22-of-38 passes for 268 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams each caught five passes.
Marshall got 138 yards and a touchdown rushing from Knox and Wells completed 11-of-25 passes for 163 yards and an interception.