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Appalachian State Ground Game Powers Comeback Win Over Georgia State

App State is now 9-0 all time against Georgia State.

NCAA Football: Georgia St. at Appalachian State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

If you only watched the first quarter of Wednesday’s Sun Belt matchup between Georgia State and Appalachian State, you might be forgiven for assuming Georgia State cruised to an upset win. Shawn Clark had other plans, however.

The Mountaineers rode a strong performance from their offensive line and running backs to a 42-17 victory against Georgia State. Appalachian State finished with 466 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns on 62 attempts. Chase Brice only threw the ball 17 times for 62 yards.

In the first quarter, Georgia State jumped out to a 14-0 lead with scores on their first two drives. GSU Quarterback Darren Grainger would finish the day with just nine completions on 23 attempts for 73 yards and one interception. He also had 19 carries for 90 yards and a rushing touchdown. Grainger now has more than 1,000 rushing yards as a member of the Panthers.

Panther running back Tucker Gregg also contributed 11 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Appalachian State would take until there were three minutes remaining in the half to score their first points. Camerun Peoples would run it in from 16 yards out at the end of a 75-yard drive. Peoples would finish with 168 yards and two touchdowns after returning from injury.

In the second half, Shawn Clark was determined to make the run game work, and it paid off for him. The Mountaineers had a new sense of resolve in the third quarter that led to two more rushing touchdowns and their first lead of the night. Ahmani Marshall ran one in from 37 yards out on their first drive of the second half and Chase Brice put the Mountaineers ahead with a QB sneak that capped off a five minute drive with only one pass play.

Tyler Bird would pick off Darren Grainger Georgia State’s next possession, returning it to the Panthers’ 13-yard line. That gave Brice another opportunity for another short touchdown run.

Georgia State would answer with a 47-yard field goal, but App State would get the ball back and score once again on a drive that consisted of all running plays, minus one incomplete pass. The Mountaineers’ last score would come at the end of yet another long drive, this time by Anderson Castle.

Georgia State falls to 2-5 on the season. The Panthers continue their season on October 29 at home against Old Dominion.

The Mountaineers improve to 4-3 (2-2 in league play) after this rebound from two-straight losses. They’ll also play at home on October 29 when they welcome FCS foe Robert Morris.