BOONE, N.C. (AP) — Darrynton Evans ran for 154 yards and three second-half touchdowns and No. 23 Appalachian State avoided another home upset with a big second half to beat Texas State 35-13 on a rain-soaked Saturday.
Zac Thomas threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns to help the Mountaineers (10-1, 6-1 Sun Belt) improve to 30-6 at home since becoming an FBS team in 2014.
Texas State entered the game as a 30 1/2-point underdog, but trailed only 14-13 midway through the third quarter, and most fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium were probably thinking about Georgia Southern’s 24-21 upset over then-20th-ranked Appalachian State three weeks ago on this same field.
But linebacker Noel Cook turned the momentum when he intercepted a tipped pass in Texas State territory, setting up a 13-yard TD run around right end by Evans. Evans would add touchdown runs of 10 and 13 yards to give 14 TDs on the season to put the game away.
Tyler Vitt threw for 154 yards and a touchdown for Texas State (3-8, 2-5).
Thomas got the Mountaineers going early, connecting on a 45-yard TD strike down the middle to wide receiver Corey Sutton, who got a step on three defenders and stretched out to make an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone. But Sutton, the team’s leader in yards receiving and TDs receiving, left the game with a knee injury after fumbling in the second quarter and it seemed to take the Mountaineers a while to adjust.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: A close win over Texas State isn’t exactly going to impress the voters, but the Mountaineers still could potentially move up in the polls. Appalachian State was previously ranked No. 20 this season, its highest ranking ever.
Texas State: This was a solid showing for the Bobcats for the first 2 1/2 quarters, particularly on defense against a Mountaineers team that came in ranked 21st in the country in scoring offense. But a penalty for illegal hands to the face nullified a third down stop, giving Appalachian State new life on offense.
Appalachian State: The injury to Sutton could be problematic moving forward for the Mountaineers. Sutton was on the sideline in crutches after the game. The Mountaineers will have to rely more on Western Michigan graduate transfer Keishawn Watson, who had a 19-yard touchdown reception, his first with the school.
Texas State: Wraps up the season next Saturday at Coastal Carolina.
Appalachian State: Can wrap up Sun Belt Eastern Division championship with a win at Troy on Friday night.