By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State beat Arkansas State in all facets of the game Thursday night at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, enroute to a 45-17 Sun Belt Conference rout. Approximately 2,100 attended the game, but perhaps millions watched on the ESPN National Broadcast.
The Mountaineers move to 3-1 over-all on the season and 1-0 in the conference. They had a 26-day layoff due to a team outbreak of COVID-19, but it wasn’t a problem for them against the Red Wolves (3-3; 1-2).
Appalachian State’s offense exploded for 521 total yards. And the Mountaineers’ defense produced a solid effort, consistently creating pressure by their pass rushers. The Mountaineers defense had six sacks, two from senior Demetrius Taylor, and got two interceptions from junior inside linebacker DeMarco Jackson.
Quarterback Zac Thomas tied a career high with four touchdown passes for the Mountaineers. His teammate, Christian Wells, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, scored two touchdowns.
“Our players embody what a Mountaineer is, and they showed resilience tonight (against Arkansas State),” Appalachian State head coach Shawn Clark said. “I can’t stress how proud I am of our players, our coaches and our program.”
Appalachian State scored on its first three possessions. The first came on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Wells. The next was a 55-yard touchdown by running back Daetrich Harrington, his seventh this season. And the third came when Thomas found tight end Mike Evans for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Harrington finished with 137 yards on 18 carries to led Appalachian State’s running game to a total of 305 yards on 44 attempts–a sterling 6.9 yards per run.
The Mountaineers committed two turnovers on consecutive possessions that could’ve let Arkansas State back into contention. But Appalachian State held the Red Wolves scoreless after each and scored 10 more points of its before halftime for a 31-7 cushion.
The Red Wolves had a first-and-goal at the Mountaineers’ 1-yard line. But a negative run, a stop from Appalachian State linebacker Tim Frizzell on a quarterback run and an incomplete pass preceded a missed 24-yard field goal.
The Mountaineers stopped Arkansas State’s on downs on its next possession, which preceded their next touchdown-a 16-yard touchdown catch by Malik Williams from Thomas.
Williams made six catches for 78 yards.
Arkansas State got a third quarter score off a 48-yard run from Lincoln Pare to drop the Mountaineers’ lead to two touchdowns and as many extra points (31-17). But then on a third-and-long, Thomas darted down the middle of the field, then along his team’s sideline and dove across the pylon to finish off a 60-yard touchdown.
Chandler Station nailed six extra points and a 39-yard field goal for the Mountaineers.
Appalachian State is next scheduled to play at Sun Belt rival Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).