Travel woes force Appalachian State to stay overnight in College Station after upset win over Texas A&M


After pulling a historic upset at No. 6 Texas A&M on Saturday, the Appalachian State football team didn’t get to celebrate back home in Boone, North Carolina.

Mechanical issues with the team charter forced the Appalachian State team to spend the night at the hotel where they’d slept the previous night in College Station, a team spokesperson told ESPN. With the hotel sold out, the team spread out in various hallways, conference rooms and the lobby area.

The team spent about three hours on Saturday night at the airport before returning to the hotel around midnight. They had an unofficial 3:30 a.m. wake-up before returning to the airport, where they boarded a flight at 4:30 a.m.

The team flew to Charlotte on Sunday morning. They landed around 8:30 a.m., and the five team buses were expected to get to Boone, which is about two hours away, around 11 a.m.

While the delay was a slog, it’d be difficult to dampen the spirit of team and staff. They pulled off what will be remembered as the second-biggest upset in school history, stunning a Texas A&M program that had been stockpiling talented recruits and had coaches and administrators engaging in a verbal joust with Alabama coach Nick Saban this offseason. Instead, the Aggies became the second top-10 team to lose to a program from the Sun Belt on Saturday, as Marshall toppled No. 8 Notre Dame.

While attempting to wait out the mechanical issues on Saturday night, coach Shawn Clark was informed the program would be hosting ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time on Saturday. Clark is a 1998 Appalachian State graduate who took over in 2020 and has been on the staff for seven seasons.

Appalachian State entered the game coming off a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina, which saw the Mountaineers score 40 points in the fourth quarter and still lose 63-61.

On Saturday, the Mountaineers played keep-away, holding the ball for 41 minutes and 29 seconds. The game plan by coordinator Kevin Barbary and turnover-free execution by quarterback Chase Brice and tailback Camerun Peoples (112 yards on 19 carries) allowed Appalachian State to melt the clock. That included second-half drives of 11 plays and 18 plays that drained more than 15 minutes off the clock.

Appalachian State burst onto the national sporting consciousness when it upset No. 5 Michigan in 2007, when the school was still an FCS program. The win over Texas A&M marked the third victory over a ranked opponent in school history.

Appalachian State has a rich history, as the school won three FCS titles before moving up to FBS play less than a decade ago. Former head coaches there include Jerry Moore, who won the three titles, and Mack Brown (UNC), Eliah Drinkwitz (Missouri) and Scott Satterfield (Louisville).

Texas A&M paid $1.5 million to play Appalachian State.

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