The Appalachian State Mountaineers never trailed in regulation, but that wasn’t sufficient to knock off ninth-ranked Tennessee at Neyland Stadium Thursday night.
Mountaineers quarterback Taylor Lamb’s pass was broken up in the end zone to preserve Tennessee’s 20-13 overtime victory. Appalachian State was in a fourth-and-5 situation when Lamb threw for the end zone.
Appalachian State could have won in regulation had Mountaineers freshman kicker Michael Rubino made either an extra point after his team’s second touchdown or a 42-yard field goal attempt in the second half.
Appalachian State scored off its second possession of the game, exploiting great field position when Tennessee lost possession on a punt return. Lamb ran the ball in from the 5-yard line.
The Mountaineers drove into Tennessee territory on its final possession of regulation, but Lamb couldn’t get out of bounds before time expired to set up a field-goal try.
The Volunteers took their only lead of the game in overtime when quarterback Joshua Dobbs hurdled the goal line. Dobbs lost the ball but it was recovered by Volunteers tailback Jalen Hurd in the end zone.
Three who mattered
Hurd: Jumping on that ball in the end zone was huge for the Volunteers.
Dobbs: After an uneven first half, Tennessee’s quarterback completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 13-13 with 10 minutes, 30 seconds left.
Cameron Sutton: The Tennessee punt returner’s fumble gave Appalachian State great field position, setting up the Mountaineers’ momentum-setting initial touchdown.
▪ Mountaineers freshman defensive back Clifton Duck, a former star at Charlotte’s Butler High, had a nice pass breakup in his first college game.
▪ Dobbs’ decision to throw that off-balance pass that was picked off by Mondo Williams late in the first half was about as bad a decision as you’ll see in major-college football. Anything -- a sack, even intentional grounding -- would have been a far better choice.
▪ This game came nine years to the day that Appalachian State upset Michigan. Tennessee paid Appalachian State about $1.1 million to come to Knoxville.
▪ Appalachian State’s offensive line drew a lot of offseason praise. That looked justified in the first half when the Mountaineers averaged more than 4 yards per rushing attempt, compared to Tennessee’s 3.1 yards.
▪ Appalachian State went without a turnover in the first half. Lamb was picked off in Tennessee territory midway through the third quarter.
▪ The game was televised nationally on the SEC Network.
▪ This isn’t Appalachian State’s only matchup this season with a Power 5 conferences team. The Mountaineers will host Miami on Sept. 17 in Boone.
▪ Attendance was announced at 100,074 at Neyland Stadium. The home crowd booed loudly when Tennessee entered halftime trailing 13-3.