- Lucas Warren
Mountaineers Survive a Thursday Night Thriller Against the Thundering Herd
The Mountaineers were shot out of a cannon to start last night's showdown against long time Southern Conference rivals the Marshall Thundering Herd. After a three and out on Marshall's first possession the Mountaineers came out swinging on first down hitting super-senior wideout Thomas Hennigan on a deep crossing route for 28 yards. Junior running back Camerun Peoples would finish off the drive with his legs giving the Mountaineers an early seven nothing advantage.
Needing to answer the Marshall Thundering Herd would respond with three straight scoring drives all going for more than seventy yards. The App State defense would hold the Thundering Herd to two field goals in the red zone however keeping the Mountaineers alive down thirteen to seven.
After their last two drives ending in punts the Mountaineers would take back the lead on a fifteen play seventy-five yard drive. Most of the work was done through the air as Chase Brice connected with Hennigan for two first downs. Once again the Mountaineers finished the drive on the ground feeding star running back Camerun Peoples for his second touchdown of the half giving App State a fourteen to thirteen lead.
That lead would not last very long however as Rasheen Ali was able to take a kickoff to the house after a fake reverse caught the App State kickoff team out of place. App State would not stay down for long as they answered with a seventy-two yard two minute drill resulting in Peoples third touchdown on the night and eighth on the season.
With a twenty-one to twenty lead and the ball going into the third the Mountaineers were looking to pull away from the Thundering Herd. Instead the Mountaineers would have a third quarter from hell with each drive this quarter ending in a turnover. The first came on an under thrown deep ball from Brice that gave the receiver no chance to get the ball. After a field goal from the Thundering Herd running back Camerun Peoples would lose the ball after picking up a first down inside our own fifty giving Marshall the ball in great field position and the lead. The Thundering Herd would then lean on freshman running back Rasheen Ali who accounted for forty of the forty-seven yards and a score on this touchdown scoring drive. The Mountaineers needing to respond were able to get a few first downs but found themselves in fourth and nine on their own forty. Down two possessions the Mountaineer offense decided to go for it but were unable to complete a pass past the sticks to wide receiver Corey Sutton. This would end a nightmarish third quarter for the Mountaineers trailing thirty to twenty-one entering the fourth.
Needing some life App State would go to super-senior Corey Sutton connecting on a thirty-seven yard bomb and then making a miraculous twenty-four yard touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone showing why he could be a high value draft prospect. Now trailing twenty-eight to thirty Marshall would drive down the field and set up a twenty-two yard field goal to extend their lead. The football gods had other plans however as Marshall kicker Shane Ciucci would hook the chip shot field goal right giving the ball back to the Mountaineers.
With the ball down two the Mountaineers returned to their run game but this time with a different running back in the backfield. After the fumble Peoples never saw another snap and instead the Mountaineers relied on the speedster Nate Noel. App State would rely on outside runs on this drive as the tired Marshall defense was unable to contain the electric Noel. Noel, who only had three carries in the first half would finish the game with twenty carries and one-hundred and eighty-seven yards. After getting App State into field goal range, super-senior kicker Chandler Stanton hit a forty-five yarder with the clock ticking away giving App State a thirty one to thirty lead.
Needing a score Marshall would drive down the field and find themselves right outside of field goal range with less than four minutes to play. The App State defense would stand strong however after a running play led to a six yard loss forcing the Thundering Herd to punt the ball.
On the back of Noel, App State was able to run out the clock and escaped this Thursday night thriller with a win. With the loss Marshall falls to two and two as they give up their second straight double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. For App State they now improve to three and one as they prepare for their first sunbelt opponent when they travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers.