Nobody saw this one coming after Arkansas State's 45-10 thrashing of South Alabama last week, but App State went into Jonesboro and extended their winning streak to four games.
Behind a 40 carry, 229 yard performance by Marcus Cox, the Appalachian State offense put up 31 unanswered points from the second quarter to the fourth, at one point leading by as many as 17. The Mountaineer defense also managed to shut down Red Wolf QB Fredi Knighten, holding him to a pedestrian 14/28 and 147 yards.
Knighten was able to make things interesting late, with a pair of touchdown passes in the final three minutes, bringing the Red Wolves within five, and setting up for a Hail Mary attempt as time expired. Arkansas State also got an early punt return for a touchdown from Blaise Taylor, and a solid 87-yard rushing performance from Michael Gordon.
Ultimately, Appalachian State explioted a gap in Arkansas State's defense first seen in their matchup with the Ragin' Cajuns. The Red Wolves have struggled stopping a consistant and punishing rushing attack this year. As a team, App State only averaged 4.7 yards per rush, but ran the ball 63 times. The Mountaineers snapped the ball on an ungodly total of 85 plays against the Red Wolves.
This outcome throws a minor wrench into current Sun Belt plans for the postseason. App State can now become bowl eligible with a win over UL or Idaho. (Probably Idaho.) Meanwhile Arkansas State needs to have strong showings against Texas State and New Mexico State if they want to secure the Sun Belt's third guaranteed bowl slot.