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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Ambitions die hard as App State escapes 41-40

Jacobe Boston

For 59 minutes, the Warhawks pulled together the elements of an instant classic against Appalachian State, but a 54-yard Mountaineer field goal as time expired shoved the dagger through the spirit of a defiant ULM team.

ULM (2-2; 0-1 Sun Belt) and App State (3-2; 0-1 Sun Belt) combined for 11 touchdowns as midnight approached on Saturday in Malone Stadium before the Mountaineers delivered heartbreak through the uprights to seal the game 41-40. 

It’s a defeat that head coach Terry Bowden hasn’t “felt this bad about a loss in a long time.”

Bowden opted to go for a touchdown instead of a field goal with a two-point lead earlier in the fourth quarter, but a swarm of Appalachian defender interrupted the play. 

The decision likely altered the outcome of the game. 

“We didn’t play conservative the whole game, and I didn’t have one coach on that headset disagree with me,” Bowden said. “Let’s go ahead, go for the touchdown and finish this thing off. It didn’t happen.”

Earlier in the game, the Warhawks lost offensive lineman Stacy Wilkins to an injury on a play that resulted in a touchdown. 

The Mountaineers pressured where Wilkins would have lined up on the ensuing PAT and blocked the kick. Bowden cited this as another reason for passing on a field goal for a five-point lead.

Quarterback Jiya Wright had a career-high 268 yards passing in his third game as a starter. He produced five total touchdowns — four in the air and one on the ground from a yard out. 

Three of his touchdowns landed in the hands of wide receiver Tyrone Howell.

ULM’s defense forced four turnovers and seemingly ended the game with a fourth down stop near midfield inside the final two minutes. 

But those tremendous efforts couldn’t override the final score. App State drove 43 yards to the edge of field goal range with a minute left.

“They made one more play than we did,” Bowden said.

Some might try to find a moral victory in competing with one of the best teams that the Sun Belt has to offer until the final play, but they don’t count on the record. 

“A win would have sent a lot better message than a loss,” Bowden said.

ULM’s chance to even its conference record lies just another week away. 

Malone Stadium is once again the site as the Warhawks host South Alabama (2-3; 0-1) on Saturday night.

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