Despite taking the two middle quarters off, Appalachian State won its first ever bowl game in its first ever bowl appearance, beating Ohio, 31-29, in the Camellia Bowl, with a last-second field goal from Zach Matics, who missed his first two field goal attempts on the day.
The Mountaineers were ecstatic.
Appalachian State dominated the first quarter and most of the second quarter, scoring a touchdown and missing two field goals that could have put the Mountaineers up 13-0, but they were down by 10 at halftime after Ohio scored 17 unanswered points in the final 1:11 of the first half. After an Ohio field goal, the Bobcats got a pick-six to go up, 10-3. Then, five plays after the next kickoff, Ohio forced a fumble, then took two more plays to get into the endzone again.
Things kept going south for the Mountaineers in the second half, as Ohio linebacker Jovon Johnson just flat out took the ball from Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb for a touchdown.
Then the Mountaineers came back, scoring a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and turning two straight interceptions into touchdowns.
Ohio came back with five straight points to take the lead again, but with the game on the line, Lamb stepped up, using both his feet and his arm to get the Mountaineers in field goal range. Then, Zach Matics hit a field goal to win it.
1. Appalachian State won its first bowl game
Appalachian State was an FCS team just two years ago, and despite being bowl eligible last season, the Mountaineers couldn't go to a bowl game because they were still a "transitional" team. However, they got to go this year after going 7-1 in the Sun Belt and 10-2 overall. Now, they end the season with 11 wins.
The future is certainly bright for App State, which will be among the Sun Belt favorites again next year, but this will be a memory to cherish for a long time. Winning a bowl game is the ultimate "we're here" moment for a former FCS team.
2. This was a game of runs.
This was essentially a basketball game, with lots of runs. Here's a closer look:
RUN 1: Appalachian State dominated the beginning of the game, scoring a touchdown and missing two field goals that could have made it 13-0. Ohio gained just four yards on its first four drives, and the Bobcats had -3 yards on their first three drives.
RUN 2: Everything changed quickly when Ohio scored 17 unanswered points in 1:11 before halftime. That came with a field goal, a pick-six, then a touchdown off a fumble. After halftime, the Bobcats returned a strip for a touchdown to go up 24-7
RUN 3: Appalachian State roared back with a touchdown, then two straight touchdowns off interceptions to go up 28-24.
Run 4: Ohio got a safety to make it a two-point game, then drove down the field to get a field goal and go up by one.
Run 5: Appalachian State drove back down the field to win the game.
3. There are not too many bowl games
Why aren't there too many bowl games? Because the Camellia Bowl was an awesome game. It featured two teams that absolutely deserved to be there, and two teams that got to face opponents in similar leagues. Moreover, it was an entertaining game, with big plays and huge momentum swings. This game won't be remembered forever, but it was a lot of fun for everyone involved.