Zac is back

App State quarterback Zac Thomas (12), sitting between receiver A’Darius Purifoy (left) and running back Malik Williams (14), will start for the Mountaineers against Texas State.

BOONE — Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas practiced Sunday, Nov. 4, and will play Nov. 10 when the Mountaineers play at Texas State.

Thomas suffered a concussion in App State’s 34-14 loss at Georgia Southern on Oct. 25 and missed the Mountaineers’ 23-7 win at Coastal Carolina on Nov. 3. Thomas went through concussion protocol, but practiced for the first time on Sunday.

“He’s back,” Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield said. “He was back practicing (Sunday), so he’s back full and he’ll be back starting this weekend.”

Thomas was knocked out of the Georgia Southern game during a scoreless tie in the first quarter. He did not return to the game and did not practice the following week while App State prepared for Coastal Carolina.

Jacob Huesman started at quarterback against Coastal Carolina and led the Mountaineers (6-2, 4-1 Sun Belt) to a 23-7 victory. Huesman had mixed results, completing 9-of-19 passes for 127 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown to Corey Sutton in the second quarter that gave the Mountaineers a 14-7 lead.

But Huesman also tossed two interceptions, including one that was returned 60 yards for a touchdown. The pass to Marcus Williams bounced off the running back’s helmet and to Derambez Drinkard, who raced past the App State offense for the touchdown.

“I thought he played a solid game, not a great game but he was solid,” Satterfield said. “He had a couple of unfortunate things happen to him. He had interceptions that bounced off our guys and so you take those two picks away — and one of those was taken the other way for a touchdown, but he was good enough for us to win the game.”

“The first one I’ve never seen anything like that,” Satterfield said. “It bounced off our kids’ helmet and (Drinkard) goes 60 yards for a touchdown.”

Satterfield said passing the ball that direction during the first quarter was difficult because the Mountaineers’ receivers were looking directly into the sun. He said Williams was not the only receiver to struggle with the sun at the angle of the pass that was being thrown.

“That sun was right in our guy’s eyes,” Satterfield said. “We had three pass plays right before it happened, but from that sideline they were looking back right at the sun and none of them touched the football. They just couldn’t see it.”

Satterfield said Thomas benefited from the time off by getting healthy. Satterfield said the redshirt sophomore quarterback took some shots in his last couple of games, and the time off helped him recover.

“He took some time off last week and then was able to look at the game though a different perspective this weekend,” Satterfield said. “He was on the sideline and he’s kind of seeing things through Huesman’s eyes from the sideline. Mentally I think it helped him and physically, too. He got hit pretty hard there the last couple games and he’s healed up. He said he feels better than he has at any point all season.”

Thomas returns for Appalachian State’s third straight road game. The Mountaineers face a Texas State team that is 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the Sun Belt, but battled Georgia Southern to a 15-13 loss and lost 20-14 to Louisiana-Monroe in two straight Sun Belt games.

Texas State beat Georgia State 40-31 on the road Nov. 3.

Appalachian State schedule had three straight home games near the start of the season, although two were non-conference games. The Mountaineers’ schedule has seen its share of unusual turns with the Mountaineers playing at Arkansas State on Tuesday, Oct. 9. After hosting Louisiana Oct. 20, App State played at Georgia Southern on Thursday, Oct. 25.

“When we saw the schedule initially, you have three road games in a row, it’s very weird the way that was set up,” Satterfield said. “But it is what it is. You can’t dwell on that. The thing about it is we just did this trip last year, so we’re familiar with where we’re going. Usually you don’t go to the same place two years in a row.”

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