App State rallies for 31-29 win over Ohio in Camellia Bowl

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Zach Matics capped a wild Camellia Bowl with a 23-yard field goal on the final play to lift Appalachian State to a 31-29 victory over Ohio on Saturday night.

The Mountaineers (11-2) moved from their own 21 in the final 1:42 after rallying from a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter only to lose the lead again. It was their first bowl game since moving up to FBS.

Quarterback Taylor Lamb had a 32-yard scramble then handed off to backup tailback Jalin Moore several times. Moore had a tackle-breaking 15-yarder and a 6-yarder to set up the kick by Matics, who missed two earlier attempts.

A safety and Josiah Yazdani’s 21-yard field goal had given Ohio (8-5) the lead in a game where the Bobcats scored two defensive touchdowns after a sluggish start.

MVP Marcus Cox gained 162 yards on 24 carries for Appalachian State, which set a Sun Belt Conference record for wins in just its second season in FBS.

The Bobcats’ final drive was finished by third-team quarterback Greg Windham after an injury to J.D. Sprague, who had taken over for an injured Derrius Vick late in the season.

Windham came in on a third down and was spun to the ground short on a run. On fourth and 1, he dropped the ball and scooped it up before hitting Kawmae Sawyer, who scampered down the right sideline for a 33-yard gain before getting knocked out of bounds to set up the go-ahead field goal.

The celebration was short-lived.

Appalachian State had started its own fourth-quarter comeback with a 97-yard drive and two touchdowns in a 42-second span before taking the lead. Lamb hit tight end Barrett Burns for a 17-yard touchdown pass, and they hooked up on an 8-yarder a couple of minutes later for a 28-24 lead with 11:56 left.

That gave Lamb a school single-season record of 31 touchdown passes.

In between, Cox scampered 26 yards down the left sideline one play after Latrell Gibbs’ interception.

Mondo Williams then made a diving interception of another Sprague pass and Cox streaked through the middle for a 35-yard gain to set up Burns’ second score.

Dominated most of the first half, Ohio scored 17 points over the final 1:31. Linebacker Quentin Poling returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown 8 seconds after a 36-yard field goal by Yazdani.

Three plays later, Tony Porter recovered a botched snap to set up A.J. Ouellette’s 7-yard touchdown run for a 17-7 lead.

The Mountaineers had raced to a huge edge on the stat sheet, but not the scoreboard. They outgained Ohio 188-33 deep into the second quarter but led just 7-0 thanks to those two missed field goals and a failed fourth-down attempt.

Applachian State players jogged to the locker room while a number of the Bobcats danced and pumped their fists. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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