Nine years to the day of beating Michigan in one of college football’s greatest upsets, Appalachian State nearly did it again.
The Mountaineers lost to No. 9 Tennessee 20-13 in Knoxville Thursday night, but they were driving for the potential game-wining field goal when regulation expired. The Volunteers needed a missed extra point, a missed field goal and a recovered fumble in the end zone to finally triumph in overtime.
If you missed it, Vols head coach Butch Jones gave the Mountaineers a postgame pep talk. “Class act by Butch,” Brent Musberger said on the SEC Network’s broadcast.
Indeed, though some on Twitter had a different view:
Butch Jones over there talkin to App State. He prolly sayin: I really appreciate yall keepin me off the choppin block by not kickin a FG ???
— Jeuel Davis (@TheW1seONE) September 2, 2016
Butch Jones: “Maybe if I tell them they’re an exceptional football team that means my team isn’t poorly coached.” pic.twitter.com/wTWX3zCgMn
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) September 2, 2016
Can’t wait til Butch calls App State a “championship football team” in the post game pressed
— Andrew Davis (@DandyAndy110) September 2, 2016
Well, he didn’t. But Jones did credit Appalachian State.
And don’t forget that the SEC has been vulnerable to upsets. Last year, Jacksonville State nearly beat Auburn before losing in overtime and The Citadel upset South Carolina.
“I have a lot of respect for that football program,” Jones said in his postgame news conference. “We knew that it was going to be a great challenge. You don’t win 17 out of your last 19 games and just expect to come in here (and not compete). They’re a physical, tough football team that’s very active in their defensive front, which causes some issues up front.”
Mountaineers quarterback Taylor Lamb almost set up a field-goal attempt with a scramble on the last play of regulation. But time ran out just before he got out of bounds, forcing overtime with game tied at 13.
Having grown up around Tennessee football, Lamb made a blunt assessment of the loss.
“It sucks, to be honest with you,” he said. “You could point out opportunities where we could have won the football game, and that’s a great team over there. They played hard, and they’re big and physical on defense. This one’s going to sting for a while.”