Raycom Media Camellia Bowl grades: Appalachian State vs. Ohio
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Appalachian State’s walkoff-FG victory over Ohio in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl:
Appalachian State Mountaineers
— The Appalachian State defense came to play on Saturday, as a total of 14 Mountaineer defenders finished with a positive overall production grade. Leading the charge, as has been the case all season, was redshirt senior DE Ronald Blair. He simply stunted the Bobcats’ attempts to move the ball on the ground, posting a remarkable +6.4 run defense production grade, including three tackles, and three stops. His overall production grade was further strengthened by recording a pair of QB hurries.
— While Blair and Co. took care of business up front, CB Latrell Bibbs played a huge role in limiting Ohio QB J.D. Sprague to a 51.9 percent completion percentage, 132 passing yards, zero TDs, and two interceptions. One of those interceptions soared over the head of Sprague’s intended target, sending Bibbs in a backwards diving trajectory, and adding a clip to his highlight reel during the fourth quarter to set up a 26-yard TD run. Bibbs was targeted nine times during the game, allowed four receptions, and limited his coverage responsibilities to only 3.3 yards per reception.
— Speaking of that 26-yard TD run, RB Marcus Cox found his crease off of the left edge of the defense while bursting past four Ohio defenders. He was fed 24 carries during Appalachian State’s 11th-straight victory, responding with 162 rushing yards, five missed tackles and 6.04 yards after contact per attempt. He left late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury when he was tripped up in the endzone for a safety, but the “true” junior left the stadium with the game’s MVP hardware.
DE Ronald Blair (+8.5)
CB Latrell Bibbs (+4.8)
RG Colby Gossett (+3.7)
HB Marcus Cox (+2.2)
TE Barrett Burns (+2.0)
— While the Appalachian State squad featured a blend of above-average performances on both sides of the ball, it was the Bobcats’ defense that kept the team close down to the final second. The most outstanding performance was provided by LB Jovon Johnson as evidenced by the impressive collection of a sack, QB hurry, six tackles, one assist, and six stops. He made an eye-opening play in the third quarter, stripping Mountaineer WR Ike Lewis of the ball on a Jet Sweep, and taking it to the house for an early 24-7 lead. Johnson was on the distribution-end of the endzone-stuffing tackle that left Cox hobbled for a safety – bringing the Bobcats to within two points with six minutes remaining in the game.
— Redshirt sophomore LB Quentin Poling played a significant role in limiting Appalachian State QB Taylor Lamb to averaging a minuscule 4.8 yards per attempt – the second lowest of his season. Trailing 7-3 in the closing minutes of the first half, Poling cut off a pass intended for WR Malachi Jones, and returned it for a 20-yard TD. Poling posted a +3.9 coverage production grade in the game while limiting Mountaineer targets to 2.8 yards per attempt during 32 snaps in coverage.
— The singular performance in the game for the Bobcat offense that is worthy of mention came from RB Papi White. His final line included seven rushing attempts, four-of-four catchable targets secured, and 57 total yards. His receiving contributions kept the chains moving during key second-half possessions and he ably averaged 12.0 yards after the catch per reception in his return from a five-game injury absence.
LB Jovon Johnson (+4.3)
LB Quentin Poling (+3.9)
DE Casey Sayles (+2.7)
DE Tarell Basham (+1.7)
RB Papi White (+1.5)