Appalachian State sinks Southern Miss with fourth-quarter comeback

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, October 28, 2023

BOONE, N.C. — Southern Miss seemed on its way to ending its losing streak and finding a bright spot in a disappointing season.

Then the fourth quarter started and the bottom fell out.

Appalachian State scored three touchdowns and 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter Saturday, and turned a 10-point deficit into a 48-38 victory over Southern Miss.

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Aguilar completed 23 of 33 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns, including two during the fourth-quarter comeback.

Jakarius Caston’s 11-yard scoring run 59 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Southern Miss a 38-28 lead, and then Aguilar and the Mountaineers went to work.

Appalachian State (4-4, 2-2 Sun Belt Conference) responded with Aguilar’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Christan Horn. After forcing a punt, on the third play of the Mountaineers’ drive, Kanye Roberts ran for a 61-yard score to put them ahead 42-38 with 6:37 remaining.

Southern Miss countered with a drive that took it to the Mountaineers’ 30 but it ended with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-2.

Aguilar and Appalachian State closed it out with a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 21-yard TD pass to Horn for the final margin.

Horn finished with eight receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and Roberts had 109 rushing yards.

Frank Gore Jr. ran for 247 rushing yards on 24 carries and scored twice for Southern Miss (1-7, 0-5) which had leads of 10 points three times. Gore had a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 75-yard burst early in the third.

Quarterback Billy Wiles was 23-of-41 passing for 287 yards and one touchdown, a 16-yarder to Latreal Jones in the first quarter. Jones finished with six receptions for 81 yards and Tiaquelin Mims caught 10 passes for 141 yards.
Andrew Stein made a 42-yard field goal, but missed two others.

Southern Miss had not scored an offensive touchdown in its previous two games, but had five on Saturday. Its 588 total yards were also a season-high.

The Golden Eagles lost their sixth game in a row.