Zappe Makes History as The Mountaineers Season Ends in Disappointment
From the opening drive Bailey Zappe and the air raid Hilltopper offense had their way against a weak App State secondary. Zappe would throw the ball 47 times completing 33 of them for 422 yards and 6 touchdowns. Zappe finished off a historical season throwing for 5,964 yards and 61 touchdowns putting Zappe at number one in both single season passing yards and touchdowns in NCAA history. Western Kentucky’s top two wide outs showed up with Jerreth Sterns hauling in half of Zappe’s touchdowns finishing the day with 13 receptions for 184 yards and three touchdowns while Mitchell Tinsley caught 7 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. The two-headed monster of Sterns and Tinsley finished the season with 237 receptions, 3,304 yards, and 31 touchdowns. Even though the Hilltoppers’ are known for the air raid offense they found success on the ground today with Noah Whittington rushing 7 times for 150 yards and a touchdown.
While the Mountaineer defense found no success against the explosive Western Kentucky, the Mountaineer offense was able to keep pace for a half. Chase Brice had a nice day completing 15 of his 23 passes for 317 yards and 4 touchdowns, throwing three first half touchdowns before going down in the third quarter with a leg injury. The only mistake from Brice came on the opening drive when he threw a pick in Hilltopper territory. The mountaineers also found plenty of success on the ground with Nate Noel taking the first handoff of the game for 47 yards. Cameron Peoples would end up leading the Mountaineers in rushing with 101 yards on 13 carries. App State would end up running the ball 43 times for 251 yards and a touchdown with four different backs rushing for at least 50 yards.
The Boca Raton Bowl was a shootout from the start with both teams finding the endzone in two of their first three drives. Going into the second quarter tied up at 14 both sides would show some backbone forcing back to back punts. After punting the two teams would trade a touchdown and field goal keeping the score tied at 24 a piece until Western Kentucky would show how explosive they can be after an eight play 78 drive resulting in a touchdown and a 31-24 lead.
If you’re an App State fan you can stop reading here as your best effort was left in the first half. On the first drive of the second half the Mountaineers would drive into Hilltopper territory but just like the opening possession would end in disaster with Cameron Peoples fumbling at the end of a 19 yard run. The Hilltoppers would find the endzone on their next two possessions and make what was a tightly contested game into a runaway win in minutes. The Mountaineers were able to match the Hilltoppers explosive offense in the first but couldn’t find the same success in the second being outscored 28 to 14 in the second half eventually losing 59 to 38.
For the Mountaineers this ends a semi-disappointing season that saw highs like beating undefeated Coastal Carolina and lows like dropping their final two games after finishing the regular season 10 and 2.
For the Hilltoppers this sealed what was a historical season for the NFL hopeful quarterback Bailey Zappe and finished off a great comeback season finishing 9 and 5 after starting the year 1 and 4.