By David Rogers. December 2, 2017. BOONE, NC — When the highly touted Louisiana offense shocked the Mountaineers by going 75 yards in just three plays in the game’s opening possession, including a 47-yard scamper by junior quarterback Jordan Davis through a gaping hole on the right side, many in Kidd-Brewer figured that either App State was unprepared to play or had met their match. Those fears proved unfounded as the Mountaineers ended up cruising to a dominating, 63-14 win over the the Ragin’ Cajuns.
COVER IMAGE: Junior running back Jalin Moore (25) looks for space in the Louisiana defense, with an eye for the end zone. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
Appalachian State scored on eight straight possessions bridging the first through fourth quarters, including four consecutive touchdown passes from senior quarterback Taylor Lamb to true freshman wide receiver Thomas Hennigan of 9-, 33-, 12- and 42-yards.
Although the Mountaineers aerial performance (18-of-23 for 251 yards passing), 357 yards of the team’s 608 yards of total offense were on the ground. The three-headed rushing attack featured true freshman Daetrich Harrington (17 carries, 118 net yards, 1 TD), junior Jalin Moore (17 carries, 110 yards, 2 TDs), and Lamb (5 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD).
It was Senior Day at “The Rock” and certainly the seniors on the Mountaineer roster played key roles on this day. Lamb’s 242-yard passing day, including the four touchdowns, was augmented by fellow seniors like:
- wide receiver Ike Lewis (4 receptions for 62 yards and one rushing touchdown, 43 kickoff return yards)
- wide receiver T.J. Watkins (3 catches, 46 yards)
- linebacker Eric Boggs (9 tackles, one QB sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one pass interception with 21 return yards)
- wide receiver Dante Jones (2 receptions, 18 yards)
- outside linebacker Devan Stringer (4 tackles)
- outside linebacker Rashaad Townes (3 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble)
App State now awaits an invitation to a post-season bowl game, which should be announced tomorrow (Sunday, December 3). It is unlikely that it will be anything other than one of the Sun Belt Conference guaranteed berths: New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, LA), Dollar General Bowl (Mobile, AL), Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL), Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL) or the Arizona Bowl (Tucson, AZ). Although early conversations speculated that the Mountaineers would go to Orlando, more recent buzz suggests that Mobile is more likely. One informed source told Blowing Rock News two weeks ago that it would be highly unlikely for the team to return for a third year in a row to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery.
- With the victory, Appalachian State captured its second straight Sun Belt Conference championship. The Mountaineers matched their 7-1 league record from last season, when they shared the title with Arkansas State. Appalachian is 27-3 in the Sun Belt since losing its first two conference games in 2014.
- App State won on Senior Day at Kidd Brewer Stadium for the 20th straight year. After a 25-19 home loss to Liberty in the 1997 finale, App State won its last 16 Senior Day games as an FCS program, with six of them coming vs. Western Carolina. The Mountaineers have won FBS home finales against Idaho (2014), Louisiana (2015, 2017) and ULM (2016).
- App State’s 63 points set a program record for Sun Belt play (the previous high was 59 against ULM in 2015). It was App State’s highest-scoring game overall since a 70-24 home victory against Wofford in a nationally televised Halloween game in 2008.
- True freshman Thomas Hennigan‘s four touchdown receptions tied the school record shared by DaVon Fowlkes (2004 vs. Northwestern State) and Bob Agle (1968 vs. Wofford). Hennigan increased his season total to seven touchdown catches with his five-reception, 99-yard performance.
- With true freshman Daetrich Harrington rushing for a career-high 118 yards and junior Jalin Moore rushing for 110, App State had two 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time since the 2016 Camellia Bowl. Marcus Cox had 143 yards and Taylor Lamb had 126 in that 31-28 victory.
- Lamb added 87 rushing yards Saturday, giving App State three 80-yard rushers in the same game for the first time since the 2016 win at Georgia Southern — five games before the Camellia Bowl. The Mountaineers’ 80-yard rushers against Georgia Southern were Moore (126), Cox (115) and Lamb (94).
- App State has rushed for 933 yards and allowed 364 rushing yards in the last three games. With 357 rushing yards Saturday, the Mountaineers topped their previous season high of 350 against New Mexico State.
- Moore became the seventh App State player to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards.
Lamb, linebacker Eric Boggs and safety A.J. Howard all played in their 50th career games.
App State safety Desmond Franklin recovered a first-quarter fumble forced by Rashaad Townes, who moved into a tie for first place the Sun Belt with his fourth forced fumble of the season.
- With nine tackles, one sack and one interception, Boggs now has 342 career tackles, 12.0 sacks and eight interceptions. He entered Saturday as one of only two active FBS players with at least 330 tackles, 10 sacks and seven interceptions.
- Sophomore cornerback Clifton Duck recorded his fifth interception of the season, raising his two-year total to 10. Entering Saturday, only 21 active FBS players had at least 10 career interceptions, and 18 of those players are seniors.
- True freshman Tim Frizzell recorded his first career sack.