Rapid Reaction: Giant-killer App State shocks No. 6 Texas A&M
They don’t call them “Giant Killers” for nothing. It was 2007 when Appalachian State went to the Big House and pulled one of the greatest upsets in college football history, beating No. 5 Michigan. On Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field, in their first meeting with Texas A&M, the Mountaineers did it again, upsetting mistake-prone, uninspired No 6. Aggies, 17-14.
The Mountaineers (1-1) took a 17-14 lead at the 8:05 mark of the 4th quarter on a 29-yard field goal by Michael Hughes. It was the culmination of a 16-play drive and was typical of a Mountaineers team that turned the tables on Texas A&M. Normally the team with a ball-control offense, the Aggies fell victims to an App. State offense that pounded out the first downs and dominated time of possession.
Appalachian State led 14-7 lead late in the 3rd quarter on an impressive 11-play, 62-yard drive, capped by a 9-yard TD pass from QB Chase Brice to Henry Preston.
But as with the first time the Mountaineers took a lead, it didn’t last long. It was only moments later that Devon Achane took the ensuing kickoff and broke a tackle near midfield on his way to a 95-yard kickoff return for a game-tying touchdown.
The Mountaineers were in control from the start, running from side to side, trying to beat the Aggies to the edge on running plays. It was so successful that it softened the middle of the defense and the Mountaineers continued to pound the ball there and eat up the clock.
After a scoreless 1st quarter, App State grabbed a short-lived 7-0 lead on the initial play of the 2nd period. Taking advantage of a turnover, the Mountaineers turned it into points, going 29 yards in 5 plays.
It was the first TD allowed by the Aggies’ defense in 13 quarters.
But Texas A&M had an answer. The Aggies’ first scoring drive, a 7-play, 75-yard march, almost wasn’t. Haynes King fumbled for a 2nd time but was able to recover. He overcame the bobble with a 31-yard run on 3rd-and-14, setting up a 26-yard touchdown run by Achane that tied the game, 7-7.
King played the entire game for A&M, but there no doubt will be questions about that decision after King finished just 13-for-20 with 97 yards passing.