Live college football updates: App State vs. Coastal Carolina
CONWAY — When it comes to Sun Belt Conference football, it doesn't get any bigger than this.
On Saturday, undefeated and 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina welcomes rival Appalachian State to Brooks Stadium, having never beaten the Mountaineers in six tries.
CCU comes into the showdown with a 7-0 record, tying the conference record for best start to a season — a mark set by App State just last season.
The Mountaineers are 6-1 on the season and have received votes in the AP Top 25 poll.
We will keep you abreast with all the key plays, inside information and commentary throughout today's game slated to start at noon.
That's all she wrote! The No. 15 Chants defeat App State, 34-23, for the first time ever and improve to 8-0 on the season, the best start ever for a Sun Belt team -- ironically breaking the Mountaineers' 7-0 start from last year -- and also improve to 6-0 in the Sun Belt, giving them sole possession of first in the East Division.
After a big sack on third down from Brewer, Strong picked off Thomas for the second time today and returned it 38 yards to the HOUSE! Chants up 34-23 with 1:20 left and are starting to sense their first-ever win over rival App State.
Following a facemask penalty on App State's Brendan Harrington, CCU sophomore running back Reese White runs in from three yards out to put the Chants up 27-23 with 2:24 to go. The 2-point conversion was no good.
The Chants take it right back! Alex Spillum picks off Zac Thomas for Thomas' 2nd pick of the game and Spillum's 2nd pick of the season. Chants ball at the App State 49-yard-line with 6:59 to go.
Close, but no cigar. Grayson McCall reached for the end zone on a 5-yard run, but the ball was knocked out by Kaiden Smith and recovered by Nick Hampton in the end zone. After official review, it was determined the ball came about before crossing the plain of the end zone. App State's ball still up 23-21 at their own 20 with 8:57 to go.
After a big stop from C.J. Brewer on third down, App State had to settle for a FG. Staton made his third of the game, this one from 45 yards out, to give the Mountaineers a 23-21 lead with 11:47 to go in the game.
The FG capped off a 10-play, 53-yard drive that ate up just over five minutes of clock.
At the end of the third quarter, the Chants lead App State 21-20. However, the Mountaineers are driving with the ball at midfield.
Bring out the turnover cloak! CCU CB D'Jordan Strong picks off Zac Thomas for his fourth INT of the season. Chants ball at their own 33, 3:29 to go in the third.
Chants out in front! McCall finds RB CJ Marable for a 19-yard TD to cap off a 10-play, 65 yard drive. McCall's throw to Likely on the 2-point conversion flew out of the end zone to leave the score at 21-20, Chants, with 6:21 to go in the third.
It was McCall's third TD accounted for in the game, two passing and one rushing.
After C.J. Brewer stopped Zac Thomas short of a first down, Staton was called upon again to kick another FG. The kick was true, putting the Mountaineers up 20-15 with 10:55 to go in the third.
The drive, which went 69 yards in 7 plays and took 3:51 off the clock, was heavily aided by a 62-yard pass from Thomas to WR Malik Williams, the longest pass play of the season for App State and the longest reception of Williams' career.
See ya! Grayson McCall turns on the jets for a 62-yard TD, the longest run of his young career. McCall threw a pass to Isaiah Likely on the 2-point conversion, but Likely could not reach the end zone, leaving the try unsuccessful. App State still up 17-15, less than a minute gone by in the third.
At halftime, Grayson McCall is 5-for-8 with 119 yards and a TD pass. Senior RB CJ Marable leads the Chants in rushing with just 10 yards on two carries. Junior Isaiah Likely leads the Chants in receiving with 106 yards on two catches and a score.
App State QB Zac Thomas is 9-for-12 with 94 yards and a TD. RB Camerun Peoples leads the Mountaineers in rushing with 171 yards on 20 carries and a TD. Leading in receiving is WR Christian Wells with two catches for 41 yards and a score.
App State marches down the field and caps off a 9-play, 84-yard drive that only took 51 seconds with a 25-yard TD pass from Zac Thomas to WR Christian Wells. 17-9 Mountaineers heading into the half.
After a gang sack by CCU's C.J. Brewer and Jeffrey Gunter on App State QB Zac Thomas, App's Chandler Staton attempted another FG, this time knocking it through from 44-yards out. 10-9 'Eers with 4:57 to go before the half.
After a strip sack from App State's Demetrius Taylor that the Chants recovered, CCU had to settle for a 51-yard FG from Massimo Biscardi, which was good to give the Chants a 9-7 lead with 10:50 to go before the half.
App State senior PK Chandler Staton was well short on a 50-yard FG, and the kick was returned from the end zone to the CCU 40-yard-line by FR CB Manny Stokes Jr. with shades of the kick six from the 2013 Iron Bowl, minus the TD. Still 7-6 App State at the end of one.
Right back atcha! On the first play from scrimmage for the Chants, RS FR QB Grayson McCall finds junior TE Isaiah Likely for a 75-yard TD strike. However, JR PK Massimo Biscardi missed the PAT. App State still leads 7-6 with 11:29 to go in the first.
It was the longest scoring play of the season for the Chants.
App State is on the board first. RB Camerun Peoples runs it in from one yard out. 7-0 Mountaineers with 11:40 to go in the first.
On the previous play, CCU RS SR LB Silas Kelly forced a Peoples fumble that was recovered by safety Alex Spillum near the goal line. The officials said Peeples' knee was down on the field, and after a review, they let the play stand.
This is the first TD the Chants' defense has allowed in 10 quarters.
We are underway here in Conway! App State won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Mountaineers will start from their own 30.
With the postponement of the Clemson vs. Florida State game — announced just hours ago — the CCU-App State game has been moved to ESPN.
Tailgating started early this morning, with plenty of App State fans already camping out in parking lots around CCU's campus.
Appalachian State comes into the contest with a well-oiled offense that centers around its running game.
Check out the game preview here: