App State’s unlucky number Saturday? 2

The Mountaineers failed on a pair on two-point conversions late against UNC

A dejected Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice, right is comforted by linebacker Trey Cobb after Brice missed a two-point conversion during the Mountaineers' 63-61 loss to UNC on Saturday in Boone. (Reinhold Matay / AP Photo/)

BOONE — Given the jaw-dropping numbers, Saturday afternoon’s UNC-Appalachian State game might be remembered in part by how the Mountaineers couldn’t find a way to post two more points.

And that unfolded twice in the final minute.

But the Mountaineers, despite their 63-61 home loss, figured they took the best approaches to pull out a more memorable result at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

App State’s first failed two-point play came with 31 seconds left and trailing 56-55. At the time, it seemed like a win-or-else situation.

“At Appalachian State, we come here to win a football game,” coach Shawn Clark said. “We’re not playing for ties. We’re not playing for overtime. … We haven’t stopped them on defense yet and we were going for two to win the football game. We’re going for the win.”

Quarterback Chase Brice, who had just connected with Dashaun Davis on a 28-yard touchdown pass, had a rare misfire.

Brice overthrew Davis, who was open.

“Had it dialed up,” Brice said. “Didn’t execute it, didn’t complete it.”

It didn’t take long for the Mountaineers to be back in position for another two-point attempt, this time trying to tie the game with 9 seconds left.

Part of the play’s set-up looked similar to the previous two-point quest. This time, Brice kept the ball. He was denied shy of the goal line by UNC’s Noah Taylor.

“Noah Taylor made a really hard read for me to decipher whether to give it to (Camerun Peoples) or pull it and I had options there,” Brice said. “I came up short.”

Brice accounted for more than 400 yards of total offense, passing for 376 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for 36 yards. Those weren’t enough.

“We can’t go back,” Brice said. “There’s a lot of plays that I want to go back to that are circulating in my mind.”

Clark said the aggressive approach was the only way the Mountaineers want to operate.

“Losing sucks. We don’t come here to App to lose,” Clark said. “It was nothing to do with effort. It was about execution.”

While the two-point conversion plays were magnified, the Mountaineers struggled on defense. They surrendered 567 yards of total offense to a UNC team playing with a redshirt freshman quarterback (Drake Maye) in his first road game and without its top playmaker (injured receiver Josh Downs).

So there are plenty of areas to address before a more daunting assignment next Saturday with a game at nationally ranked Texas A&M.

“We’ll get some things fixed on defense. We have to,” Clark said. “We’re disappointed, but not discouraged.”