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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘That’s on me’

Freshman+WR+Evan+Stewart+%281%29+gets+tackled+to+the+ground+at+Kyle+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+10%2C+2022.

Freshman WR Evan Stewart (1) gets tackled to the ground at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

Appalachian State’s Week 1 loss to North Carolina did not seem to phase it as the Mountaineers traveled over 16 hours to College Station to upset the No. 6 ranked team in the nation, the Aggies’ first loss of the season on its own home field.
On Sept. 10, App State upset the No. 6 ranked Texas A&M in every aspect of the game, from the kickoff to the final whistle blown, and will be traveling back home with its first win and enough momentum to carry them through the rest of the season.
The first half of the game looked as painful on the field as it did in the pressbox. The Aggies looked undisciplined from the start and it never seemed to end.
On the second drive of the game, the Mountaineer offense ran out of the huddle on a 4th and inches situation and the maroon and white defense was never set. Graduate quarterback Chase Brice faked the snap, turning the defensive line into shambles and causing a false start that resulted in a first down.
However, a common theme of this game was with every mistake the Aggies made, the Mountaineers made a similar mistake or a penalty was called in their favor.
This drive resulted in a missed field goal by sophomore kicker Michael Hughes.
The defensive side of the ball continued to struggle as they ended one drive with four straight penalties that allowed sophomore running back Ahmani Marshall to run up the middle for four yards and secure App State’s first touchdown.
The first two penalties for the Aggies came from the same play. At the snap, redshirt freshman Tunmise Adeleye lined up off-sides and as Brice threw one towards the end zone, sophomore cornerback Tyreek Chappell grabbed his opponent and caused a pass-interference.
Fortunately for the Aggies, App State head coach Shawn Clark got in a confrontation with the referee causing his team to be charged with unsportsmanlike conduct that saved the Aggies, once again.
One player on the offensive side of the ball kept the Aggies’ hopes alive as junior running back Devon Achane ran up the middle on the following drive for 26-yards and scored A&M’s first touchdown of the half.
“I just watched the blocks from the offensive line to the secondary,” Achane said. “I just cut back, and then just everything else was just me being athletic. Just trying to be special for the team.”
At the end of the first half, sophomore quarterback Haynes King completed six of his 10 passes for 46 yards and no turnovers. Achane had three carries for 30 yards and senior receiver Ainias Smith led the Aggies in receiving yards with 17 on just two receptions.
Defensively, Adeleye stepped up and caused havoc in the backfield, ending the first half with three tackles and three quarterback hurries.
In the second half, the Mountaineers seemed to find a solution for getting past defensive coordinator DJ Durkin’s defense. The answer was a play-action pass.
The maroon and white defense continually fell for the fake hand-off and had no one lined up on their weaker side to force Brice into an uncomfortable situation. As a result, Brice hit redshirt sophomore receiver Deshaun Davis for 21 yards and immediately after hit senior tight end Henry Pearson for a nine-yard touchdown pass on the same exact play.
As disturbing the defense looked, Achane stepped up, once again, and returned the following kick for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-all.
The offense found the majority of its time on the sideline as App State took control of the time of possession from start to finish. At the end of the game, the Mountaineers had a total of 41 minutes and 29 seconds on offense versus the Aggies 18 minutes and 31 seconds.
“As a defense, you want to get as many three-and-outs as you can,” junior defensive back Antonio Johnson said. “We just had to communicate and execute and we just couldn’t execute and get them down.”
As for conversions, App State completed nine of its 3rd down conversions and three of its five 4th down conversions, only putting one time in the game. A&M struggled to convert in any 3rd down situations as they finished the game two for eight.
An even more terrifying statistic, the Aggies had only two plays in the opposing teams territory the whole game in 38 total snaps. App State had 80 total offensive snaps and converted on three of its four red-zone opportunities.
On A&M’s final time on offense, the Aggies formulated a drive that set up redshirt junior kicker Caden Davis for a 37-yard field goal that resulted in a miss and put the ball in the Mountaineers hands to run out the clock and complete the upset of the season.
Offensively, King completed 13 of his 20 passing attempts and scored zero times. Achane rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries and formulated a touchdown and freshman receiver Evan Stewart tallied 48 yards on five receptions as the leading receiver.
Defensively, Johnson led the team in tackles with 13 and the only sack of the game came from senior linebacker Chris Russell Jr. and sophomore defensive tackle Shemar Turner midway through the third quarter.
“We did not execute and play at the level we needed to, and that’s on me,” Fisher said. “As the head football coach, that’s your job to have your guys read the play and put them in position to make plays and let them do it.”
No. 6 A&M football will play one more home game before taking off on a four-game road trip against no. 15 Miami on Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. in Kyle Field.

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