The magic continues in the capital city.
For the third consecutive year, the Camellia Bowl was decided in the final two minutes when Toledo sophomore kicker Jameson Vest’s 30-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right to give Appalachian State a thrilling 31-28 win in front of 20,300 fans at the historic Cramton Bowl.
The Mountaineers had taken a 31-28 lead when freshman kicker Michael Rubino nailed a go-ahead 39-yard field goal with 5:14 left on the clock. ASU marched 35 yards in six plays for the winning margin. Rubino made all 14 field goal attempts from inside 40 yards this season.
App State head coach Scott Satterfield had confidence in his young kicker with the game on the line.
“He’s come a long way this season,” Satterfield said. “Our first game against Tennessee, we missed an extra point and we missed a field goal in that game. He’s come a long way. He’s continued to work just like the other kids in our program. They keep working. We don’t give up on them. They keep working.
“He came out here tonight in pregame and kicked the ball beautifully. That right there to win the game with a 39-yard field goal, under 40, I don’t think he missed this year. He’s perfect under 40 (yards) and I’m really proud of him for that. I was proud of Michael to come back and make that kick.”
It was the second straight year App State won the Camellia Bowl with a game-winning field goal. Zach Matics drilled a 23-yard field goal as time expired for a 31-29 win over Ohio University in last year’s game.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle said the game came down to App State making the plays and his team did not.
“They made the plays they needed to make when it mattered,” Candle said. “They drove down and made a field goal. We drove down and didn’t make a field goal.”
The three Camellia Bowl games have been decided by 10 total points. Bowling Green defeated South Alabama 33-28 in the inaugural game in 2014.
Following Rubino’s go-ahead field goal, Toledo’s Corey Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 31 yards to give the Rockets great field positon at their own 43-yard line. Three straight runs by Kareem Hunt moved the Rockets to the App State 16-yard line before the ASU defense made three straight plays.
Facing fourth and two, Toledo took a delay of game penalty and sent Vest out for the potential tying field goal.
“It’s not his fault,” Candle said. “We put ourselves in that position and he’s been great for us all year. I’m sure he’s pretty upset, but he’ll come back stronger for us next year.”