Zac Thomas

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Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list includes 2018 finalist Shea Patterson, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert

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And now for a quarterback award watch list that won’t include a certain starting quarterback form Clemson or Alabama. The Johnny Unitas Foundation has released the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, presented annually to college football’s top senior or fourth-year quarterback. This year’s watch list includes some recognizable names such as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew was named the winner of the award in 2018. Just one finalist for the 2018 award is on the watch list this season. Michigan’s Shea Patterson is that player (UCF’s McKenzie Milton was a finalist last year but is not expected to play this season despite still being at UCF as he recovers from his season-ending injury from late in 2018).

Other past winners include Deshaun Watson (2016), Marcus Mariota (2014), Andrew Luck (2011), Matt Ryan (2007), Eli Manning (2003), Carson Palmer (2002) and Peyton Manning (1997).

2019 Golden Arm Award Watch List Presented by A. O. Smith

  • Jack Abraham, Southern Mississippi
  • Blake Barnett, University of South Florida
  • Woody Barrett, Kent State
  • Jake Bentley, University of South Carolina
  • Anthony Brown, Boston College
  • Kelly Bryant, Missouri
  • Joe Burrow, LSU
  • Stephen Buckshot Calvert, Liberty
  • Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
  • K.J. Costello, Stanford Unversity
  • Jacob Eason, Washington University
  • Caleb Evans, University of Louisiana Monroe
  • Mason Fine, North Texas
  • Feleipe Franks, University of Florida
  • Mitchell Guadagni, Toledo
  • Jarrett Guarantano, University of Tennessee
  • Gage Gubrud, Washington State University
  • Quentin Harris, Duke University
  • Justin Herbert, University of Oregon
  • Kelvin Hopkins, Jr., Army
  • Tyler Huntley, University of Utah
  • Jalen Hurts, University of Oklahoma
  • Josh Jackson, University of Maryland
  • D’Eriq King, Houston
  • Brian Lewerke, Michigan State University
  • Jordan Love, Utah State University
  • Jake Luton, Oregon State University
  • Cole McDonald, University of Hawaii
  • Justin McMillan, Tulane
  • Steven Montez, University of Colorado
  • James Morgan, FIU
  • Riley Neal, Vanderbilt University
  • Kato Nelson, Akron
  • Shea Patterson, University of Michigan
  • Bryce Perkins, University of Virginia
  • Malcolm Perry, Navy
  • Peyton Ramsey, Indiana University
  • Armani Rogers, UNLV
  • Nathan Rourke, Ohio
  • Anthony Russo, Temple University
  • J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
  • Nate Stanley, University of Iowa
  • Dillon Sterling-Cole, Arizona State University
  • Khalil Tate, University of Arizona
  • Zac Thomas, Appalachian State University
  • Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
  • Brady White, University of Memphis
  • Ryan Willis, Virginia Tech
  • Brandon Wimbush, University of Central Florida

Appalachian State wins inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game

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For the first time in conference history, the Sun Belt Conference held a conference championship game. That makes Appalachian State (10-2, 7-1 Sun Belt) the first program in history to win the Sun Belt Conference championship game after topping Louisiana (7-6, 5-3 Sun Belt) on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Appalachian State will head to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl as the conference champion.

Appalachian State’s defense forced two turnovers and added a turnover on downs in the final minutes to help seal the 30-19 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns. After a tight first half of play, which saw the Mountaineers head to the locker room with a 14-6 advantage on Louisiana, the Mountaineers took care of business in the second half when it counted the most. A 20-16 lead going to the fourth quarter was increased to 27-16 with a Zac Thomas touchdown run of 35 yards. Thomas scored two touchdowns on the ground while having a quiet game through the air. Combined with 111 rushing yards by Darrynton Evans and the ability fo the defense to lock things down in the fourth quarter, there was no question Appalachian State was the best team in the Sun Belt Conference on this day, and this season.

This is the first outright conference championship for Appalachian State since moving up to the FBS ranks in 2014. The Mountaineers earned a share of the conference title each of the last two seasons before the introduction of the conference championship game. It has been a steady climb up the Sun Belt since moving up from the FCS, and now head coach Scott Satterfield has an outright conference championship to celebrate as the latest crowning achievement for the program.

Appalachian State will play in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 15. They will face an opponent from Conference USA, with the likely opponent expected to be either UAB or Middle Tennessee. Louisiana is still eligible to go to a bowl game, but will have to wait and see what bowl game they will be attending.

No. 25 Appalachian State roughed up by Georgia Southern, 34-14

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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.