By David Rogers. October 27, 2016. STATESBORO, GA — After struggling on offense and giving up big plays after turnovers, Appalachian State leveraged the stingiest of defenses while uncorking one of the Mountaineers’ most explosive offensive performances of the season Thursday night to defeat longtime rival Georgia Southern, 34-10, in front of 23,474 mostly Eagle fans at Allen E. Paulson Stadium.
COVER IMAGE: Marcus Cox was back on the field and finding holes to attack on the line of scrimmage.
App State spotted the Eagles 10 points on big plays and turnovers to start the game, then struggled back to tie the game at 10-10 by halftime.
The Mountaineers evidently used their halftime period to good effect, coming out of the locker room to break things open on offense while continuing to give up virtually nothing on the defensive side of the ball.
Although held to only 68 yards rushing and a paltry 63 yard passing in the first half, App State’s offense found its form after intermission, finishing the game with a trio of athletes knocking on the door or rushing for more than 100 yards each, and Taylor Lamb hurling the ball for 199 yards on 16-of-27 passing even if the aerial performance was marred by two interceptions.
On the ground, sophomore Jalin Moore packed the pigskin for 126 net yards rushing and one TD, while senior RB Marcus Cox carried 18 times for 115 net yards (1 TD) and QB Taylor Lamb almost hit the century mark with 94 yards rushing on 10 carries, including 2 TDs.
Junior wide receiver once again proved Lamb’s favorite target, hauling in 6 passes for 126 yards.
Defensively, true freshman Clifton Duck picked off yet another INT and is currently tied atop the leaderboard for interceptions this season, leading a defensive unit that has vaulted to the top of the leaderboard for interceptions by a team this season in the Football Bowl Subdivision. In addition, Duck is just one INT shy of former Mountaineer defensive back Corey Lynch for most interceptions by an App State freshman.
Appalachian’s defense kept the Mountaineers in the game while the offense found its footing, limiting Georgia Southern to just 65 net yards rushing for the entire game — most of them late in the game, during mop-up time.
The Eagles’ two-headed quarterback tandem of senior Kevin Ellison (3-of-6 for 21 yards and 1 interception) and freshman Shuman (9-of-23 for 73 yards and 2 INTs) were kept well grounded and again most of their gains were in the last few minutes of the game against App State’s mostly non-starters.
Appalachian State now has 10 days off before facing Texas State on November 5th in Boone (3:30 pm), then travelling to Alabama for a Nov. 12th showdown against fellow Sun Belt leader Troy University. The Mountaineers are now undefeated in Sun Belt play (4-0), while 6-2 overall, with their only losses coming to Power 5 adversaries Tennessee and Miami.
Georgia Southern (4-4 overall and 3-2 in Sun Belt play), have a non-conference encounter at Ole Miss on Nov. 5th, then return to Statesboro for a matchup with Louisiana Lafayette.