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Appalachian State Blows Out Georgia State, 56-27

By Tim Gardner

No. 24 Appalachian State exploded past Georgia State 56-27 in a Sun Belt Conference game in Atlanta Saturday night in the first visit by a nationally-ranked opponent to the Panthers’ home field.

The Mountaineers went on a 49-0 scoring run (seven consecutive touchdowns and extra points) to make the game a rout. The stretch finally was ended by a late Panthers touchdown after both teams had put in their reserve players.

During that torrid scoring run, the Mountaineers defense forced seven three-and-outs in nine possessions, and one of the other two possessions ended with defensive back Shaun Jolly’s second interception.

Appalachian State’s victory over Coach Shawn Elliott — a former Mountaineers player and assistant — was the third in his three-year tenure as the Panthers head coach as the Mountaineers moved to 9-1 over-all, 5-1 in the conference.

Georgia State (6-4-over-all, 3-3-conference) can no longer win the league’s East Division, leaving Georgia Southern (6-4, 4-2) as the only team within one game of Appalachian State with two conference regular season games left to play.

Quarterback Zac Thomas completed 19-of-31 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another touchdown, receiver Corey Sutton caught three of those scoring passes and finished with a career-high 173 yards on eight catches and running back Darrynton Evans ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to lead Appalachian State.

Evans also surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in the game. The Mountaineers have had a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last eight seasons, the second-longest streak in major college football.

Georgia State made the game’s first score when quarterback Dan Ellington tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Devin Gentry.

The Mountaineers answered with a 12-yard scoring reception by Sutton.

But Georgia State would score the next two touchdowns, first with a 67-yard touchdown run by running back Destin Coates and then a 34-yard pick-six off by safety Chris Bacon to take a 21-7 lead.

Sutton hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut into Georgia State’s lead (21-14).

The Mountaineers then scored three touchdowns in the final 6:20 of the first half to take a 35-21 cushion. Thomas ran in a 3-yard touchdown, Jolly intercepted a pass for a 30-yard pick-six and Evans caught a 1-yard scoring pass just 22 seconds before intermission.

Kicker Chandler Staton was 8-for-8 on extra points for Appalachian State.

Over the final three quarters, the Mountaineers limited Georgia State to just 33 rushing yards on 18 attempts and 140 total yards.

Inside linebacker Jordan Fehr led the Mountaineers in tackles with 10 (6 solos; 4 assists). Two were for lost yardage.

Coates led the Panthers with 97 rushing yards on seven attempts and a touchdown, while Tra Barnett rushed 17 times for 90 yards.

Appalachian State hosts Texas State in Kidd Brewer Stadium for its Senior/Heroes Day next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Complete statistics from the Appalachian State-Georgia State game are available on this link: