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Recap: Appalachian State utilizes ground game to defeat North Texas in Myrtle Beach Bowl

Recap: Appalachian State utilizes ground game to defeat North Texas in Myrtle Beach Bowl

Recap: Appalachian State utilizes ground game to defeat North Texas in Myrtle Beach Bowl
December 22
00:03 2020

North Texas (4-6, 3-4 Conference USA) closed out its 2020 season dropping a 56-28 contest to Appalachian State (9-3, 6-2 Sun Belt Conference) and allowing 505 rushing yards to the Mountaineers.

The Mean Green had multiple players sidelined or not participating in the bowl game including sophomore quarterback Austin Aune and the top two receivers in Jaelon Darden and Deonte Simpson.

“We’re not going to make excuses,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “You have to give [Appalachian State] credit, they are a very good team. They are tough to beat when fully healthy and I was proud of how we responded. It’s going to happen in college football so you need depth and the next guy up mentality.”

Appalachian State jumped to a 14-0 lead on North Texas in the first quarter coming from a pass by Mountaineers wide receiver Malik Williams to Henry Pearson and a three-yard carry to the endzone by running back Camerun Peoples.

The Mean Green responded early in the second quarter when sophomore quarterback Kason Martin filled in under center for fellow after sophomore quarterback Jason Bean was briefly injured. Martin completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to freshman Loronzo Thompson playing receiver for the game, where he was a defensive back all season long.

The Mountaineers added two touchdowns from an 11-yard pass by quarterback Zac Thomas to Pearson and running back Marcus Williams Jr. broke out for a 70-yard touchdown run.

“Early on the defense did some good things,” Littrell said. “We stopped the run for a stretch. We knew that was something we’d have to consistently defend. Once it got going they hit it a few times.”

North Texas on the ensuing drive scored on freshman running back Oscar Adaway’s 4-yard touchdown run to make it a 28-14 game with 27 seconds remaining in the half.

Peoples broke out for a 62-yard touchdown for the Mountaineers to close out a 35-14 lead over North Texas at halftime.

In the second half, Peoples scored all three of the Mountaineers touchdowns, he finished the game with 319 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The North Texas defense allowed 638 yards of total offense against Appalachian State, making it the third game of the season where the defense allowed 600 or more yards.

Thompson caught his second touchdown pass of the contest for seven yards from Bean midway through the fourth quarter to finalize the scoring at 56-28.

“I was proud of Thompson, he’s been back and forth as a true freshman and we needed him to play more wide receiver,” Littrell said. “[Thompson] did very well but we had a lot of young guys out there. This will be a great experience for us. Moving forward it will really benefit the young guys.”

The Mean Green offense put up 509 yards of total offense, six yards shy of the season average at 515 total yards offensively coming into the matchup.

Bean finished Monday with 21-of-36 attempts passing for 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Junior running back Tre Siggers led the Mean Green in rushing going for a season-high 120 yards on 17 carries. Adaway tallied 97 rushing yards on 27 carries.

Sophomore receiver Austin Ogunmakin led North Texas in receiving yards at a career-high 131 on seven receptions.

“You have to put it on the coaches,” Littrell said. “It’s my job as the head coach that these guys are put in the best situation, and from there the players have to do their jobs and fit where they’re supposed to fit. We have a lot to work on and I’m looking forward to this offseason. That’s something we need right now.”

Featured Image: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Bean gives the ball to redshirt senior running back Nic Smith against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 3, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Preston Rios

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