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USATSI

It took eight weeks for FBS college football to finally return to Wednesday nights. The wait was worth it as two Sun Belt powers fought until the final whistle in an instant classic. 

Appalachian State kicker Chandler Staton nailed a 24-yard field goal as time expired to hand No. 14 Coastal Carolina its first regular-season loss in two seasons in a 30-27 decision. It was the Mountaineers' first ranked win since shocking then-No. 5 Michigan in 2007 -- arguably the most memorable upset in college football history -- and their first win against a ranked opponent as a FBS program. 

Facing third-and-1 with under two minutes remaining, Appalachian State quarterback Chase Brice made a perfect read on a run-pass option, escaping the Coastal Carolina defense and breaking free for a 5-yard run first a first down. The Chanticleers, which burned a timeout on its previous drive from a miscommunication, tried to let running back Camerun Peoples score to get the ball back, but he wisely took a knee to run down the clock and set up the field goal. 

The Mountaineers were the first team all season to bottle up Coastal Carolina's rushing offense, holding the Chanticleers to just 55 yards on the ground and fewer than two yards per carry. Star quarterback Grayson McCall completed 15-of-23 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown, but the top-rated offense in the nation punted on its final three drives to close the game. In fact, Coastal Carolina failed to reach its own 40-yard line on those last three critical drives. 

Brice put together the best game of his career in the biggest moments. The former Clemson and Duke quarterback threw for 347 yards, rushed for 34 yards and totaled four touchdowns for the Mountaineers. Receiver Malik Williams had a monster game with 10 catches for 206 yards, both career highs. 

The loss is the Chanticleers' first in the regular season since falling 45-42 against ULM on Nov. 23, 2019. Coastal Carolina's only other loss over that stretch came in overtime against Liberty in the 2020 Cure Bowl, the first game back for many players after getting Covid-19. 

The win moves Appalachian State to 5-2 and puts it in control in the Sun Belt East division race, with its remaining opponents a combined 5-10 in conference play.