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App State holds off Charlotte with fourth-down stop and two Daetrich Harrington touchdowns

App State holds off Charlotte with fourth-down stop and two Daetrich Harrington touchdowns

Appalachian State UNC Charlotte Football

Appalachian State junior running back Daetrich Harrington (4) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game against UNC Charlotte on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C. The App State Mountaineers defeated the UNCC 49ers, 35-20. (Allison Lee Isley, Winston-Salem Journal) 091320-wsj-spt-appstate

BOONE — Appalachian State's football team rarely found breathing room from hard-charging Charlotte.

But on a rainy, season-opening Saturday, two fourth-quarter Mountaineers touchdowns provided relief, and a fourth-down stop secured a 35-20 victory. 

App State (1-0) overcame a turnover near its end zone by keeping Charlotte away from a tying score. The 49ers never moved off the App State 20-yard line in four consecutive plays, and the Mountaineers found distance in the game's final five minutes.

The victory was App State coach Shawn Clark's first in Kidd Brewer Stadium. 

Daetrich Harrington scored both of App State's touchdowns in the final quarter. On his first, he plowed through for a 4-yard touchdown to cap a 14-play, 75-yard drive with 10:08 remaining. The second sealed the game, from 15 yards out with 1:15 remaining. 

The third quarter got wild. Dueling interceptions and a 49ers field goal, followed by a big App State passing touchdown, followed by a kickoff return touchdown by Charlotte made it so. The sequence meant that App State’s lead withered down to one point twice.

Brendan Harrington came up big for the Mountaineers when they needed it. After giving up a 21-yard pass play on third down, App State faced a third-and-1 as Charlotte pushed into Mountaineers territory.

Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds tried to throw down the middle, but the ball bounced off a defended receiver and into Harrington’s hands. The sophomore linebacker returned it 46 yards to give App State a short field. But the Mountaineers failed to score, a drive that ended with a Zac Thomas interception.

Thomas went 14-for-21 and 204 yards, with his lone touchdown coming from a 51-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Hennigan. That score came the series after his interception. 

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@EthanJoyceWSJ

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