They did it again. Nearly 15 years to the day that Appalachian State defeated Michigan in The Big House to pull off the biggest upset in college football history, they did it again.
The Mountaineers (1-1) went into College Station — at Kyle Field — and stunned No. 6 Texas A&M (1-1), 17-14, on Saturday. And they were dominant. Appalachian State held the Aggies to 186 total yards. They held the ball for a whopping 41:30-of-60, and did just enough in that time of possession to triumph.
And who says Week 2 is boring? A seemingly mundane slate of games has turned into an exciting day of college football. The Sun Belt conference, who earlier saw Marshall (2-0) go into South Bend and defeat Notre Dame (0-2), 26-21, has another big-time win to celebrate after Appalachian State’s victory. And to think that just hours prior, we all thought that Texas downing No. 1 Alabama would be the biggest upset of the weekend — if it had occurred.
For Appalachian State and head coach Shawn Clark, it’s a program-defining win. It comes a week after they nearly pulled off the upset of North Carolina. The Tar Heels would go on and win, 63-61. But there was none of that today — only an emotional Clark after the game and one happy plane ride back to the Boone, North Carolina.
“I love this program. It means everything to me.” a teary-eyed Clark said.
Many Questions, No Clear Answers for Texas A&M After Shocking Loss
It might be fair to ask at this point, why any top power-five team would dare schedule Appalachian State early in the season. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a major disappointment for Texas A&M and head coach Jimbo Fisher. This was supposed to be the year where the Aggies would get over the hump. Ride their elite talent all the way to the College Football Playoff — or at least the SEC Championship. That’s now severely in doubt.
Offensively, it was a mess for Texas A&M. Quarterback Haynes King, who struggled in the 31-0 victory over Sam Houston State last Saturday, was abysmal against the Mountaineers. 13-of-20 passing for 97 yards was the final line for King. All while Max Johnson, who transferred in from LSU, watches from the sideline. The cries for Johnson to get a look figure to get even louder this week.
It was a collective effort for Appalachian State, who were led by their ground attack. Camerun Peoples was the standout, rushing for 112 yards on 19 carries. Daetrich Harrison and Ahmani Marshall chipped in with 68 rushing yards and a score.
Quarterback Chase Brice wasn’t asked to be the star, but played turnover-free football. He finished 15-of-30 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown.
“That was part of our keys to victory we had to make sure we got them off the field on third down on defense, we had to run the ball on offense and our kids believed,” Clark said.
A Missed Opportunity for Texas A&M
Remarkably, however, Texas A&M still had a chance despite running only 38 plays on offense. For that they have Devon Achane to thank, who returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to tie things up at 14 late in the third quarter.
Appalachian State would counter with an 18-play, 63-yard drive that took up 9:15 of time. They capped it off with a field goal, leaving the door wide open for Texas A&M. King and the offense were able to move the ball just enough to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt from Caden Davis.
Davis rewarded his team with the shank of all shanks.
And that was it. There was no more offense to come from Texas A&M. Appalachian State would wear down the Aggies’ defense for the remaining 3:43 of the game to hold on for the victory. Things won’t get much easier for Texas A&M and head coach Jimbo Fisher. The pressure is certainly on for Fisher, who inked an extension last fall that pays him more than $9 million annually through 2031.
Next up is a home tilt against No. 15 Miami (2-0). All eyes will be on the quarterback situation throughout this week and if Fisher sticks with King, or makes a change and goes with Johnson.
This is a developing story. Check back with Outsider for updates.