Appalachian State defeats Ohio in wild Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, AL


Appalachian State defeats Ohio in wild Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, AL

Saturday night the Appalachian State Mountaineers defeated the Ohio Bobcats in a wild game in the second annual Camellia Bowl, which seems to becoming a trend for this young Bowl, at the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Last year South Alabama fell to Bowling Green in the inaugural game 33-28 in a barn burner. This year’s contest lived up every bit to that performance.

In 2007 Appalachian State shook the college football world with possibly the greatest upset in football history. Then FCS (Division II) school Appalachian State upset the mighty Michigan Wolverines 34-32, becoming the first FCS school to ever defeated a ranked FBS school ever. That team went on to win the schools third FCS National Championship and then in 2013 began the transition into FBS (Division I) football. This year was the Mountaineers first year of Bowl eligibility and responded by going 11-2 and winning their first ever bowl game..

The Mountaineers started off fast and furious driving up and down the field on Appalachian State’s first three possessions, but despite the offensive production the Mountaineers could only manage seven points in that stretch. The points came on quarterback Taylor Lamb’s 21-yard TD run with 7:17 remaining in the first quarter. Kicker Zach Matics missed a 39-yard and 42-yard field goal in the first quarter. The 39-yard miss was the first field goal under 50-yards that Matics had missed since 2014.

The Bobcats offense just couldn’t seem to get anything going at all going three-and-out in it’s first four possessions. In fact Ohio didn’t manage to gain a first down until 13:00 remaining in the second quarter. Ohio didn’t convert it’s first third down until five minutes remaining in the first half either. Ohio’s offense finally got a little something going late in the first half and kicker Josiah Yazdani converted a 36-yard field goal with just 1:31 left in the half.

On Appalachian State’s next drive Ohio linebacker Quentin Poling snatched a Lamb pass out of the air and raced 20 yards for the score to put Ohio on top 10-7 with just 1:23 remaining in the half. Less than a minute later a bad snap led to another turnover with Ohio taking over on the Appalachian State 23-yard line. With 20 seconds remaining in the half running back AJ Ouellette extended Ohio’s lead to 17-7 at the end of the first half.

Ohio’s offense managed more than 50 yards and 17 points in the last 2 minutes of the half, more than they had gained in the rest of the half combined.

The defenses seemed to settle in as the second half began and both teams exchanged punts. Then Ohio quarterback DJ Sprogues hit receiver Brandon Cope on a 39-yard pass to the Appalachian State 11-yard line. Just as looked like Ohio was going to potentially put the game away running back Daz’mond Patterson fumbled and Appalachian State’s Ronald Blair recovered it and returned the ball to the Ohio 33-yard line.

The Ohio defense would bail out their offense again, however, as linebacker Jovan Johnson stripped Appalachian State receiver Ike Lewis of the ball and returned it 45-yards for the touchdown to extend the lead again to 24-7 with just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox got his offense humming late in the third quarter with a pair of big runs, and then Lamb hit tight end Barrett Burns for a 17-yard TD pass just as the fourth quarter began. The 97-yard drive was the longest drive of the season for the Mountaineers and came at a huge time as the game seemed to be slipping away from them.

On Ohio’s next possession Appalachian State defensive back Lattrel Gibbs stepped in front of a receiver and intercepted his seventh pass of the season. On the next play Cox gashed the Bobcat defense for a exciting 26-yard touchdown run and cut the Ohio lead to 24-21 with 12:10 remaining in the game.

The Mountaineers defense again intercepted a Sprouges pass on the next drive as Mondo Williams snatched the ball out of the air. Cox followed up with another long run down to the Ohio 11-yard line, and a couple of plays later Lamb found Burns for an 8-yard TD pass to put the Mountaineers on top 28-24 with under 12 minutes remaining in the game. It was Appalachian State’s first lead of the game since the first half.

Just as all the momentum seemed to have shifted back to Appalachian State Ohio pinned Appalachian State down inside their own five yard line with a punt. Jovon Johnson then tripped up Cox as he attempted to scamper out of the end zone on a run play causing a sack and injuring the ankle of the eventual game MVP.

The safety put Ohio within two points of the Mountaineers and got the ball back with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Ohio gambled on 4th and one from midfield and with backup QB Gred Windham in the game as it seems Sprogues may have been injured on the previous drive. Windham fumbled the snap on fourth down but managed to compose himself and threw to a wide open Kawmae Sawyer for a huge first down at the 13-yard line. Appalachian State managed to stiffen up and forced a 21-yard field goal from Yazdani to give Ohio the 29-28 lead.

Appalachian State got the ball back with just under two minutes remaining in teh game and two timeouts. Lamb got the drive going with a huge 32-yard scramble and then Jalin Moore broke off a long run to the 11-yard line with just 23 seconds remaining. Appalachian State kicker Zach Matics made up for his two earlier misses as he converted a 23-yard game winner as time expired to give the Mountaineers their first bowl win in school history.

Cox was named the games MVP as he led all rushers in the game with 162 yards and one touchdown in the game. Ohio defenders Jovon Johnson (9 TKL, 0.5 sack, 2.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR, 45 yards, 1 TD) and Quentin Poling (11 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 1 INT, 20 yards, 1 TD) made a pretty nice case for MVP as well.

The Mountaineers finish off their first year in FBS with bowl eligibility 11-2 and the Camellia Bowl Champions. The Bobcats finish the season 8-5 on the year.

Taylor Lamb: 13-26, 124 yards, 2 TD; 1 INT; 9 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD

Marcus Cox: 24 carries, 162 yards, 1 TD * GAME MVP *
Jalin Moore: 13 carries, 96 yards

Simms McElfresh: 5 catches, 42 yards
Barrett Burns: 3 catches, 32 yards, 2 TD
Malachi Jones: 2 catches, 30 yards
Bobo Beathard: 1 catch, 10 yards
Jaylan Barbour: 1 catch, 10 yards
Ike Lewis: 1 catch, 0 yards

Devan Stringer: 10 TKL
Eric Boggs: 9 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack
Latrell Gibbs: 7 TKL, 1 INT, 11 yards, 3 PBU
Kennan Gilchrist: 7 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sack
DJ Ward: 5 TKL, 0.5 TFL
Doug Middleton: 5 TKL, 1 PBU
Ronald Blair: 4 TKL, 1.0 TFL, 1 FF, 1 FR
Teh’Ron Fuller: 3 TKL, 1 FF
Tae Hayes: 3 TKL, 1.0 TFL
Mondo Williams: 1 TKL, 1 INT

Bentlee Critcher: 4 punts, 35.0 YPP, Long: 42 yards
Zach Matics: 1/3 FGs, 4/4 XPs
Ricky Fergeson: 3 KOR, 64 yards
Simms McElfresh: 1 KOR, 14 yards

DJ Sprague: 14-28, 132 yards, 2 INT; 10 carries, 35 yards
Greg Windham: 1-1, 33 yards; 1 carry, 2 yards

AJ Ouellette: 14 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 2 yards
Papi White: 7 carries, 25 yards; 4 catches, 32 yards
Daz’Mond Patterson: 4 carries, 0 yards; 3 catches, 19 yards

Sebastian Smith: 3 catches, 23 yards
Brendan Cope: 2 catches, 46 yards
Kawmae Sawyer: 1 catch, 33 yards

Toran Davis: 14 TKL, 1 PBU
Quentin Poling: 11 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 1 INT, 20 yards, 1 TD
Jovon Johnson: 9 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 0.5 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR, 45 yards, 1 TD, 1 safety
Ian Wells: 7 TKL
Tarell Basham: 5 TKL, 2.0 TFL, 0.5 sack, 2 QBH
Kurt Laseak: 5 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack
Devin Jones: 4 TKL, 1 PBU
Blair Brown: 4 TKL
Brandon Purdum: 4 TKL
Chad Moore: 3 TKL, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sack

Mitch Bonnstetter: 8 punts, 37.8 YPP, Long: 52 yards
Josiah Yazdani: 2/2 FGs, 3/3 XPs
Daz’mond Patterson: 3 KOR, 70 yards