STATESBORO, Ga. — Jalen Virgil scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Nate Noel broke loose for a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and Appalachian State beat Georgia Southern 34-26 on Saturday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Alex Raynor’s 47-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter gave Georgia Southern (7-5, 4-4 Sun Belt Conference) a 20-17 lead. Virgil scored on the ensuing kickoff and after the Eagles went three-and-out, Noel scored to stretch the Mountaineers’ lead to 31-20.
Miller Mosley threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Dexter Carter Jr. with 5:23 remaining that pulled Georgia Southern to 31-26. Chandler Staton added a 37-yard field goal for the Mountaineers. The Eagles then drove to their 44 before Nicholas Ross picked off a Mosley pass to seal it.
Zac Thomas threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns for Appalachian State (8-3, 6-2). Noel had 13 carries for 103 yards rushing. Virgil had three receptions including a 16-yard touchdown catch.
Georgia Southern’s David Spaulding had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Appalachian State and North Texas will play in the first Myrtle Beach Bowl on Dec. 21 in Conway, S.C.
The Mountaineers (8-2) and the Mean Green (4-5) will play on the campus of Coastal Carolina in the first NCAA-sanctioned bowl game in the state of South Carolina.
This will be the first meeting between Appalachian State of the Sun Belt Conference and North Texas of Conference USA.
The Mean Green were Sun Belt members from 2001-12, winning four straight league titles from 2001-04.
The Mountaineers won the past four Sun Belt crowns entering this season. They are are 5-0 in bowl games in their FBS history, beating UAB 31-17 a year ago in the New Orleans Bowl.
The Mean Green, which closed their regular season with 45-43 win over UTEP last Friday night, is making its 11th all-time bowl appearance. Its last trip came two years ago with 52-13 loss to Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl.