Just days after cracking the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history, No. 25 Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1 Sun Belt) is about to fall out of the ranking. The Mountaineers were blown out on the road by Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0 Sun Belt) Thursday night, 34-14.
Appalachian State’s offense, already playing without an injured running back Jalin Moore, took another tough loss with quarterback Zac Thomas being knocked out of the game. Without their two best players, the offense was in complete disarray and the Eagles took advantage of the situation to seize control in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division. Backup quarterbacks Peyton Derrick (3/12, 73 yards) and Jacob Huesman (8/14, 67 yards, 1 TD) were each intercepted twice by the Georgia Southern defense.
Georgia Southern quickly cashed in on a second-quarter interception when Darrion Anderson caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Shai Werts for the first score of the game. After the Mountaineers tied things up at 7-7, it was all Georgia Southern from there with 27 straight points until a late touchdown by Appalachian State in the final seconds of the game. The Eagles thrived on the ground with Werts rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown while the team combined for 277 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
With the win, Georgia Southern now controls the fate of the East Division. At 4-0 in conference play, the Eagles are tied with Troy in the division standings, and Appalachian State slips into third place overall and now loses on a head-to-head tiebreaker with Georgia Southern. Both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State still must play Troy, so the division is still pretty much up for grabs. Georgia Southern will face the Trojans in two weeks on November 10 after visiting Louisiana-Monroe next week.
Appalachian State will look to rebound from their second loss — which essentially knocks them out of the Group of Five hunt for a New Years Six bowl spot, even if there was just a slim chance of having that opportunity — next week when they visit Coastal Carolina.