It was a party in the puddles as the clock hit zero on Saturday.
Rain absolutely poured throughout the day at the Avocados From Mexico Cure Bowl. While both teams faced difficulties because of the weather, the Appalachian State Mountaineers were able to soldier through for a 13-9 victory over MAC runners up Miami.
“These kind of games come down to a few plays, and we were able to make a few more of them,” App State head coach Shawn Clark said following the game.
In Nate Noel’s absences, running back Anderson Castle rushed for 119 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Joey Aguilar also had a successful day, picking up a rushing touchdown and throwing for 211 yards with 18 completions on 32 attempts. Aguilar was named the MVP of the game and almost looked to enjoy the rain.
Clark made a point throughout the week to point out they usually prepare for the worst type of weather, which is a fairly common occurrence in Boone, North Carolina.
“I hope they won’t complain next time I ask them to go outside and practice in February and practice. It paid off today in these elements,” Clark said. “We talk in our program that we can only control what we can control. We want to do who we are and do it better than everyone else. The elements are the elements. We play in conditions like this in our conference, maybe not quite like this. But we’re going to be true to who we are and enjoy what we have.”
The bowl win capped a season that had some bumps for the Mountaineers. They end the season with nine wins after hitting 3-4 back in October. After that, they won five consecutive games to reach the Sun Belt title game, which they lost to Troy.
“We weren’t conference champions, but we’re Cure Bowl champions,” Clark remarked. “There are high expectations at App State. It’s championship or bust. And being an alum from here and knowing what it takes to win and being a part of football season championship runs here . . . I told our players, if you stick together and believed in one another and played for one another, it would come to fruition. And it did.
The Mountaineers have now accumulated seven total bowl wins, all since 2015. Moving into 2024, head coach Shawn Clark seems to think more good fortune is on the horizon for the program.
“Our brand is strong right now,” Clark remarked. “The ‘A’ [logo], you go around the country, everyone knows it’s App State.”