BOONE, N.C. — Wesley Kennedy ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns and Georgia Southern upset No. 20 Appalachian State for the second straight season 24-21 on Thursday night.
The Eagles (5-3, 3-1 Sun Belt) ran for 335 yards and held the country’s ninth-highest scoring offense in check most of the night on a rainy, windy Halloween night.
Georgia Southern ended Appalachian State’s 13-game winning streak, handing the Mountaineers their first loss since the Eagles knocked off them out of the Top 25 more than a year ago with a 34-14 victory.
Appalachian State again struggled defending Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense.
Kennedy struck the biggest blow when he took an option pitch from Shai Werts and raced 68 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of the second half. Werts blew through a huge hole in the line and raced 55 yards for a score on the ensuing possession to give the Eagles a 24-7 lead, sending the vast majority of the crowd heading to the exits.
Appalachian State (7-1, 4-1) came in averaging 41 points, but struggled to get any momentum going for the first three quarters other than a 92-yard touchdown drive in the final 2 minutes of the first half.
Zac Thomas tried to rally App State with two fourth-quarter TD passes to Corey Sutton, but the Mountaineers’ final two drives ended without any points. Thomas threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
The win is a big one for Georgia Southern because it gives its the tiebreaker advantage over Appalachian State when it comes to determining who goes to the Sun Belt Conference championship. Both teams, along with Georgia State, have one loss in the Eastern Division.
It was a such a windy night that one of the Appalachian State cheerleaders got the flag he was running with after a touchdown caught up in the crossbar on the goal post. He needed help from an official to get it untangled.
The loss will almost certainly knock the Mountaineers out of the Top 25. Appalachian State came into the game as the highest ranked Sun Belt team ever, but now they will need outside help just to reach the conference championship game.
Georgia Southern: The Eagles played like a team on a mission, controlling both sides of the ball from the onset. The offensive line fired off the ball, creating big holes on the edge for Kennedy. When the Mountaineers began over-pursuing to the outside, Werts burned them between the tackles.
Appalachian State: The defense that had been so good over the past three games — allowing just 17 combined points — couldn’t figure out the triple option offense. But the Mountaineers got beat in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Georgia Southern: The Eagles visit conference foe Troy on Nov. 9.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers travel to Columbia to face South Carolina on Nov. 9 in their final non-conference game of the season.