Chandler Staton kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired and Appalachian State knocked off 14th-ranked Coastal Carolina 30-27 on Wednesday night.
Chase Brice threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns, and Malik Williams had a monster game with 10 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown in front of a capacity crowd of 31,061 at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Camerun Peoples ran for two touchdowns for the Mountaineers (5-2, 2-1 Sun Belt). The have never lost to the Chanticleers at home.
The Mountaineers moved into the driver’s seat in the conference’s East division and could prevent Coastal Carolina (6-1, 2-1) from reaching the championship game.
Grayson McCall threw for 291 yards and one touchdown for Coastal Carolina. It had a 11-game Sun Belt winning streak snapped.
Coastal Carolina came in averaging 48.8 points, but the Chanticleers were outgained 575 to 376 and the offense struggled to protect McCall in the second half.
Appalachian State’s defense forced three Coastal Carolina punts in the fourth quarter, setting up Brice and the offense with great field position at the Mountaineers 38 for their final drive. From there, Brice went to Williams on consecutive throws of 19 and 16 yards to reach field goal range.
Appalachian State was careful not to score a touchdown in the closing seconds to prevent Coastal Carolina from getting the ball again with Peoples even going down on a knee at the end of one run instead of crossing the goal line. The Mountaineers ran the clock down to 3 seconds before Staton took the field for the winner.
It looked as if Coastal Carolina was going to run away with it early on.
The Chanticleers took a 14-0 lead when McCall faked as though he was going to run on a third and 4 play drawing the linebackers in, only to dump a pass over the middle to a wide open Kameron Brown, who raced 74 yards for a touchdown.
But the Mountaineers battled back behind super senior wide Williams, who snared two long passes to set up App State’s first score, then hauled in a 47-yard touchdown reception to tie the game after a successful onside kick.
Mason Biscardi added field goals of 50 and 46 yards to give the Chanticleers a 20-14 lead at halftime, but Appalachian State would battled back to tie it at 27 late in the third quarter on a 43-yard TD run around right end by Peoples.
App State was driving for the go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter when Daetrich Harrington couldn’t get the grip on a handoff and fumbled the ball away at the Coastal Carolina 7-yard line. But the defense held and gave the offense another chance to win it.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers’ offense failed them in the second half as they were limited to just seven points. The defense could never get its rhythm after Chanticleers jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Appalachian State: It’s an upset. It’s what the Mountaineers do. Brice played nearly a flawless game, completing 18 of 28 passes and the defense came up with huge stops in the fourth quarter.
The loss gives skeptics more credence that Coastal Carolina had played a weak schedule and was overrated in the polls. This one could drop them down quite a few spots, but it seems unlikely they will fall all the way out of the Top 25.
Coastal Carolina: Return home to face Troy in another mid-week night game Oct. 28.
Appalachian State: Host Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 30.