Another stunner: App State beats Troy on Hail Mary

The Mountaineers won 32-28 in their first Sun Belt Conference game of the season

ESPN’s “College GameDay came to Boone on Saturday to help the App State football team and its fans celebrate last week’s stunning upset of then-No.6 Texas A&M.

The Mountaineers extended the festivities with another epic win.

Quarterback Chase Brice’s Hail Mary as time expired bounced in the air and was caught near the 5-yard line by Christian Horn, who curled around the mass of players and ran into the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown to give Appalachian State a 32-28 victory over Troy in a Sun Belt Conference opener on Saturday.

“I think God’s a Mountaineer today,” App State coach Shawn Clark said after the win.

Brice had driven Appalachian State (2-1) down the field on the previous drive before throwing an incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with 1:13 left in the game.

Troy took over up four points and ran the ball three straight times, running the clock down. But Trojans first-year coach Jon Sumrall made a couple of curious decisions that opened the door for the Mountaineers.

First, rather than punting of fourth down, Sumrall decided to have quarterback Gunnar Watson take a safety with 25 seconds remaining.

Sumrall then chose to have kicker Zach Long squib the ensuing kickoff back to App State, giving the Mountaineers the ball close to midfield with 15 seconds remaining and only needing a field goal to win.

Brice threw three straight incompletions before heaving the game-winning throw on fourth-and-10.

Brice completed 22 of 34 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Horn had five catches for 98 yards, while Dashaun Davis staked the Mountaineers to a 7-0 lead with a 17-yard scoring strike to Christian Wells.

Watson had two 1-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter to give Troy (1-2) a 21-14 lead at halftime. Watson completed 23 of 37 passes for 302 yards with one interception for the Trojans. Troy rushed for only 57 yards on 28 carries.