By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State made big plays on both offense and defense that resulted in a huge half-time lead and set the tone for a 59-28 homecoming rout of Sun Belt Conference foe Louisiana-Monroe Saturday before 29,321 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone.
Quarterback Chase Brice threw four touchdown passes and Appalachian State’s defense forced five turnovers–four in the first half.
Brice completed 20-of-30 passes for 256 yards, all in the first half, as Appalachian State (6-2 over-all; 3-1 Sun Belt) soared to a 49-7 halftime cushion. Brice threw a pair of touchdown passes to Caleb Spurlin and one each to Corey Sutton and Malik Williams.
A 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by Steven Jones Jr. as the half ended, followed by Chandler Staton’s successful extra point finished that scoring run by the Mountaineers.
Appalachian State got first-half interceptions by Ryan Huff and Trey Cobb, who also made a fourth-down stop to create a turnover on downs and recovered an early fumble that was forced by fellow defender T.D. Roof.
Cobb finished with 12 tackles against the Warhawks (4-4 over-all, 2-3-Sun Belt. Roof made a career-high nine stops.
With this sixth victory, the Mountaineers are eligible to play in a bowl game. But they also remain in control of their destiny in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division as they hope to return to the league’s championship game in what would be a rematch against the West Division’s Louisiana-Lafayette, who beat Appalachian State 41-14 earlier this season.
Since making the jump to the Major College’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, Sun Belt East Division leader Appalachian State is now a perfect 7-for-7 in becoming bowl eligible.
After their first drive ended on a fourth-down stop in Louisiana-Monroe territory, the Mountaineers scored touchdowns on their next five possessions–two or which were set up by turnovers– to take a 34-0 lead midway through the second period.
Appalachian State’s defense forced two fumbles and intercepted three passes, while its offense totaled 521 yards.
Nate Noel had 132 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Mountaineers. Camerun Peoples added 82 yards rushing and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Thomas Hennigan made four catches to increase his career total to 212 catches. That surpasses Andrew Peacock for the most in Appalachian State history.
Staton kicked a 31-yard field goal for the Mountaineers to up his total to 56 career field goals. He is now the career leader for Made Field Goals in Mountaineer annals. He passed Bjorn Nittmo for the distinction.
Jiya Wright threw for 158 yards with a touchdown pass, while also suffering two interceptions for the War Hawks. He added 109 yards rushing on 20 carries, including an 18-yard touchdown run.
Appalachian State next plays at Arkansas State on Saturday, November6 in another Sun Belt Conference tilt.
First-Place Mountaineers Overpower ULM
From App Sports News
Homecoming Saturday in the High Country had no shortage of highlight-reel plays and record-setting moments.
App State forced four turnovers and scored seven touchdowns in a dominant first half, setting the stage for a 59-28 victory against Sun Belt foe ULM in front of 29,321 fans on a rainy afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Since making the jump to the FBS level, first-place App State (6-2, 3-1) is now 7-for-7 in becoming bowl eligible.
A 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by Steven Jones Jr. as the half ended allowed the Mountaineers to take a 49-7 lead into the locker room. They also benefited from first-half interceptions by Ryan Huff and Trey Cobb, who also made a fourth-down stop to create a turnover on downs and recovered an early fumble forced by TD Roof.
Cobb recorded 12 tackles against the Warhawks (4-4, 2-3), and Roof made a career-high nine stops, including 1.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
Chase Brice went 20 of 30 for 256 yards overall and threw four touchdown passes in the first half alone, including two to starting defensive end/part-time H-back Caleb Spurlin, and Camerun Peoples increased his season total to 12 rushing touchdowns with two more in an 82-yard outing. Corey Sutton and Malik Williams also had touchdown catches, and Nate Noel added 132 yards with one touchdown on the ground as the Mountaineers finished with 521 yards of total offense.
Two notable career milestones were achieved, as Thomas Hennigan became App State’s career receptions leader (breaking a first-place tie with Andrew Peacock while increasing his total to 212 catches) and Chandler Staton became App State’s career leader in made field goals (hitting his 56th to break a first-place tie with Bjorn Nittmo).
App State completed the first two quarters with a 364-88 advantage in total yards, with 196 through the air from Brice and 166 on the ground divided up among Peoples and Noel.
The Mountaineers opened the scoring with a 2-yard run by Peoples midway through the first quarter, and Roof’s fumble-forcing strip on the next play from scrimmage led to Cobb’s recovery at the ULM 28. Five plays later, Brice hit Williams with a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Cobb’s interception to end the next series preceded a 45-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Brice’s first of two 1-yard TD passes to Spurlin.
ULM’s next series also ended at the hands of Cobb, who stopped scrambling quarterback Chandler Rogers 1 yard short of the sticks on a fourth-and-4 keeper. The Mountaineers marched 73 yards on 10 plays, turning a fourth-and-4 scenario into a 26-yard touchdown run by Peoples.
Spurlin scored again three minutes later, and App State held a 35-7 lead before posting two touchdowns in the final 39 seconds of the half. Sutton moved into a tie for fourth place in school history by securing his 22nd career touchdown catch for the Mountaineers, and the second play of ULM’s half-ending drive resulted in the second pick-six touchdown of Jones’ career.
Staton kicked his record-breaking field goal, a 31-yarder, in the third quarter before Noel capped App State’s scoring with consecutive fourth-quarter runs of 17, 26 and 7 yards.