By David Coulson
NORFOLK, VA. — If Saturday’s game between Appalachian State and Old Dominion was viewed as the measure of two new Football Bowl Subdivision programs, the Mountaineers’ 49-0 thumping of the host Monarchs showed ASU is light years ahead of its Conference USA opponent.
Coming off a 41-10 loss to Clemson two weeks ago, Appalachian rolled from the start on both sides of the ball, using its 28-0 second-quarter advantage to build its halftime lead to 35-0.
Behind the balance of quarterback Taylor Lamb’s 187 passing yards and a career-high four touchdown passes and running back Marcus Cox’s 23-carry, 107-yard rushing performance, the Mountaineers dominated ODU 501-175 in total offense and 24-8 in first downs on a day that was plagued by steady rain before 20,118 fans at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
Lamb was coming off the worst performance of his two years as a starter when he threw three second-period interceptions against Clemson and finished with just 95 yards of passing. But he was an efficient 11-of-15 against the Monarchs, with zero turnovers,
Cox stumbled early, with a fumble on App State’s first possession as Fellonte Misher stripped him of the ball after a five-yard gain and TJ Ricks recovered it for ODU at its own 12.
Cox made up for that miscue with a 24-yard scoring strike from Lamb to complete ASU’s 28-point, second-period outburst. He hit the century mark in rushing for the sixth straight game.
But outside of seven penalties for 68 yards, nearly everything turned out positive for the Mountaineers the rest of the way.
On defense, Appalachian (2-1) forced four turnovers and held ODU’s talented running back Ray Lawry to 22 yards on eight carries. Old Dominion (2-2) was limited to 42 yards rushing.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Shuler Bentley — the son of former Byrnes, S.C. High School and Presbyterian College coach Bobby Bentley — had a long day for the Monarchs, finishing 16-of-28 for 133 yards and two interceptions.
Linebacker Devan Stringer snatched a fumble by Bentley and raced 77 yards for a touchdown that made it 21-0.
The shutout was Appalachian’s second in three games this season. The Mountaineers opened the year with a 49-0 victory over Howard.
It was the eighth victory in nine games for the Mountaineers band the first road shutout since a 51-0 victory over The Citadel in 1999 and was the first time that the high-scoring ODU squad had been shutout. It also marked the most lopsided home defeat in Old Dominion history.
Appalachian controlled the clock with 303 yards on the ground. Jalin Moore complimented Cox with 75 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts, while Terrence Upshaw added 42 yards in his seven attempts and scored the first TD of the game from six yards out midway through the first period.
Lamb hit Bobo Beathard for a 53-yard touchdown aerial on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-0 and the rout was on.
Besides the TD tosses to Cox and Beathard, Lamb connected with Shaedon Meadors for a 41-yard score and hit tight end Hunter Nunn from one yard out midway through the third period to expand the lead to 42-0. It was Nunn’s first-career catch.
Moore’s 22-yard touchdown romp capped the scoring near the end of the third period.