Appalchian State Mountaineers Myrtle Beach Bowl Postgame Notes

App State 56, North Texas 28

With its dominant victory in the inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl, App State improved to 6-0 in six consecutive bowl games since becoming bowl eligible in 2015. It is the only program with no losses or ties in at least five appearances. This is the third straight win over a Conference USA opponent from 2018-20 after three straight wins over MAC schools from 2015-17.
 
With six straight bowl wins, App State is tied with Louisiana Tech for the longest bowl winning streak in the country. Alabama is next with five straight bowl wins (not counting its CFP title loss to end the 2018 season).
 
App State, Alabama and Clemson are currently the only programs to have won nine or more games in each of the last six seasons. In this unique 2020 season, App State is one of 10 teams with nine or more wins as bowl season begins.
 
Since 2015, App State improved to an FBS-best 27-0 in non-season-opening games in which it had more than a week to prepare.
 
The Mountaineers’ 63-15 record and 80.8 win percentage since the start of 2015 is No. 5 nationally behind just Clemson (79-6, 92.9%), Alabama (77-6, 92.8%), Ohio State (67-7, 90.5%) and Oklahoma (66-12, 84.6%).
  
App State finished the season with 76 straight days without a positive COVID result among its football players and coaches.
 
Senior QB Zac Thomas improved to 32-6 as a starter. His 32 wins are No. 2 among active FBS QBs behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (34-1). Thomas is No. 3 in career wins by an App State starting quarterback, behind just Taylor Lamb (36-13) and Armanti Edwards (42-7).
 
OFFENSE
 
Sophomore RB Camerun Peoples sprinted, dodged and weaved his way to one of the best rushing performances in the history of bowl games. His 319 rushing yards are the most by any player in an NCAA bowl game, eclipsing P.J. Daniels’ total of 307 for Georgia Tech in the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl. Peoples’ five rushing touchdowns tied the all-time bowl record held by six other players.
 
Peoples’ 319 yards also broke Armanti Edwards’ school record of 313 (set in the 2007 FCS semifinals vs. Richmond), and his five rushing touchdowns tied John Settle’s school record set in 1986 vs. Davidson.
 
Peoples eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season (finished with 1,126). It’s the ninth straight year the Mountaineers have had a 1,000-yard rusher, currently the second-longest streak in the nation behind Boise State’s 11.
 
App State’s team rushing total of 502 yards is the fourth-most all-time in a bowl game behind totals of 645 by Baylor (2015 Russell Athletic), 524 by Nebraska (1996 Fiesta) and 507 by Army (2018 Armed Forces).
 
In the final game of the year, App State’s offense put up a season-high 56 points and a season-high 638 yards of total offense. Those are also the highest totals in a bowl game in school history.
 
Peoples’ 319 yards and Marcus Williams Jr.’s 101 yards made them the 100-yard tandem with the second-most combined rushing yards in a bowl game (420). Baylor’s tandem of Johnny Jefferson and Devin Chafin had 460 in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.
 
This was the team’s fifth 300-yard rushing game of the season, which is the fourth-most in school history behind seven in 2007 and six in 2015 and 1975.
 
Junior TE Henry Pearson had first career multi-touchdown game with scoring catches of 22 yards from Malik Williams and 11 yards from Zac Thomas, both in the first half. Pearson finished with three catches for 47 yards.
 
For senior WR Malik Williams, who took a lateral from Thomas before spinning a perfect 22-yard strike to Pearson in the end zone, it was his fourth career touchdown pass, including his third in a bowl game. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes on trick plays in the 2018 New Orleans Bowl.
 
Marcus Williams Jr. used a 70-yard rush to help him eclipse 100 yards on just six carries (16.8-yard average). The 70-yard rush tied the longest by an App State player this year before Peoples later ran for 76 yards on one of his 23 carries.
 
DEFENSE
 
With Steven Jones’ fourth-quarter interception, App State got its 102nd pick since 2015, which is the most among FBS programs.
 
Senior S Kaiden Smith finished with a career-high 13 tackles (10 in the first half) one week after setting a career high of 12 against Georgia Southern. It’s the most tackles in a bowl game by an App State player.
 
Junior ILB D’Marco Jackson had another strong all-around game with a career-high 12 tackles, and a career high-tying 2.0 TFLs and a sack.
 
Junior ILB Trey Cobb tallied 12 tackles, his fourth double-digit tackle game of the season.
 
Sophomore OLB Brendan Harrington had a career-high 11 stops to go with a pass breakup and a QB hurry.
 
Sophomore OLB Nick Hampton had a career-high 3.0 TFLs and a sack with seven tackles.
 
Sophomore DE Hansky Paillant recorded his first career solo sack.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS
 
Senior K Chandler Staton increased his Sun Belt record scoring total to 331 points by making all eight PATs.

COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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