By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State offense exploded by scoring the last 42 points versus homestanding Troy University and the Mountaineers defense held the Trojans scoreless the last 51-plus minutes of the game enroute to a 45-7 Sun Belt Conference romp Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama.
18,523 fans attended the game.
With the victory, the Mountaineers clinched the Sun Belt East Division title outright and a spot in the December 4 league championship game at West Division champion Louisiana-Lafayette.
Appalachian State (9-2 over-all, 6-1 conference) proved to have far too much offense for Troy’s defense, while the Trojans offense was in no way a competitive match for Appalachian State’s defense in this game. The Mountaineers defense held Troy to a measly19 total yards and just one first down over the final 51:35 of the game.
Troy (5-6 over-all, 3-4 conference) took an early 7-3 lead, but the Mountaineers got their offense rolling late in the first half and scored on six straight possessions. Appalachian State finished with 445 yards of total offense compared to only 142 for the Trojans. Appalachian State out rushed the Trojans 233 yards to only 33 and also outgained the Trojans 212 to 109 through the air.
Troy gained 63-yards on six plays after the opening kickoff. The drive opened with an 11-yard completion from quarterback Gunnar Watson to Demontrez Brown. Then, the Trojans were aided by a defensive holding and offsides penalties by Appalachian State to get the ball at the Mountaineers 47-yard line. However, the drive stopped when Kimani Vidal was stripped of the ball at the Appalachian State 12-yard line. Inside linebacker Trey Cobb recovered the ball for the Mountaineers.
Appalachian State then ripped off a 12-play, 81-yard drive that ended in a 24-yard field goal by Chandler Staton for the game’s first points and a 3-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first quarter.
After a fair catch on the kick, the Trojans began their ensuing drive on their own 25-yard line. Watson completed a 26-yard pass to Tez Johnson across the middle, then connected with Johnson on a 10-yard pass to the left sideline to move the ball to the Appalachian State 39-yard line. Two plays later, Watson threw a pass to Deshon Stoudemire in the middle of the field, who then raced into the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. Brooks Buce kicked the extra point with 6:15 remaining in the first period to give the Trojans a 7-3 lead.
Appalachian State failed to score on its next pair of possessions. Staton missed a 33-yard field goal wide right – his first missed field goal of the season. The Mountaineers next drive stalled when Kyle Nixon intercepted a Chase Brice pass at the Troy 39-yard line.
Troy’s next four possessions in the first half ended on three-and-outs.
Appalachian then scored touchdowns and extra points on six consecutive possessions.
Following a Troy punt, the Mountaineers began their last possession of the first half with 1:21 left and the ball on their own 39-yard line. Exactly a minute later, Brice tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Corey Sutton. Staton made the extra point kick to give the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead.
Kyle Coale returned the opening kick 39 yards to precede a six-play, 64-yard drive, climaxed with a 6-yard scoring pass from Brice to wide receiver Thomas Hennigan. Staton added the point-after for a 17-7 lead. After the ensuing kickoff, Inside linebacker T.D. Roof intercepted a pass from Watson at the Troy 20-yard line and returned it 10 yards. Brice then threw a 10-yard scoring pass to tight end Eli Wilson. Staton made the PAT to give the Mountaineers a 24-7 lead with 12:00 remaining in the third quarter.
Appalachian State got touchdown runs by three different running back to end the game.
After Troy turned the ball over on downs at its own 45-yard line, Appalachian State scored another touchdown in eight plays on a 5-yard run from Nate Noel. Staton made the extra point kick to put the Mountaineers up 31-7.
Daetrich Harrington then scored on a 2-yard touchdown run just 47 seconds into the final period. Staton’s PAT gave the Mountaineers a commanding 38-7 cushion.
The Mountaineers final touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Jahmir Smith to cap an 11-play, 32-yard drive with 5:06 remaining. Staton’s last successful extra point kick made the tally, 45-7.
Complete game statistics can be accessed by logging onto: https://appstatesports.com/documents/2021/11/20/APP11.PDF
The Mountaineers host long-time Southern Conference and Sun Belt rival Georgia Southern Staurday, November 27 in their regular season finale at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.
Dominant Defensive Effort Helps App State Clinch Sun Belt East Title
From App State Sports
At risk of facing a halftime deficit, App State used a pile-driving sack from T.D. Roof to trigger a title-clinching blitz.
The Mountaineers secured a Sun Belt East Division title and spot in the Dec. 4 championship game at West Division champ Louisiana thanks to a 45-7 victory at Troy on Saturday.
App State fans can purchase Sun Belt championship game tickets by visiting appstatesports.com/SBC21. They will need to register for an account and purchase tickets in the O section of Cajun Field.
App State (9-2, 6-1) trailed 7-3 late in the first half when Troy had possession in its own territory with an opportunity to run out the remainder of the period. Roof’s sack started a string of events that produced 21 points in a rapid-fire span of 3 minutes and 21 seconds, allowing the Mountaineers to head into the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead.
After the Trojans (5-6, 3-4) took the lead on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 6:15 left in the first quarter, they managed one first down and 19 total yards over the final 51 minutes as App State turned a small deficit into a 38-point lead. It scored 42 unanswered points over the final 30:21, finished with more than 43 minutes of possession time and didn’t allow a sack against a defense that entered the weekend with 36 in its first 10 games.
In addition to his sack, Roof had a key interception and two tackles for loss as the Mountaineers limited Troy to 142 total yards. All three of Chase Brice’s touchdown passes occurred in that 21-point surge, with his 21-yard connection to Corey Sutton giving App State the lead for good with 21 seconds remaining before halftime.
Touchdown passes to Thomas Hennigan and Eli Wilson just 14 seconds apart, sandwiched around Roof’s interception deep in Troy territory, pushed App State’s lead to 24-7 with 12 minutes left in the third quarter.
Nate Noel, Daetrich Harrington and Jahmir Smith added touchdown runs over the final 21 minutes.
Noel’s 102 yards pushed him over 1,000 yards for the season, giving App State a 1,000-yard back for the 10th straight year. Entering this season, the second-longest streak among current FBS programs was three apiece from Buffalo and Minnesota.
After missing the second half of last season with a knee injury, Harrington scored his first App State touchdown in 13 months, and Smith reached the end zone for the first time as a Mountaineer.
App State’s only first-quarter points came on a field goal from Chandler Staton, who improved to 16-for-16 on the season and ran his streak of consecutive makes to a school-record 18 with that kick. The streak later came to an end, but the Mountaineers turned red-zone chances and fourth-down calls into six touchdowns.