By David Rogers. September 29, 2018. BOONE, NC — As league openers go, it doesn’t couldn’t get much better for Appalachian State than its 52-7 gridiron win over South Alabama at Kidd-Brewer Stadium on Saturday, in front of 25,000+ enthusiastic Mountaineer fans.
COVER IMAGE by Brad Batchelor for Blowing Rock News
With 517 yards of total offense, including 348 on the ground that included an electrifying 54-yard scramble to paydirt by sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas on the first offensive possession of the game, Appalachian State roared past the Jaguars with all cylinders firing.
In fourth quarter relief of Thomas, Derrick completed both passes attempted for 23 yards and a TD, which puts him at a perfect 10-for-10 on the season.
App State’s already led the FBS nation with four special teams TDs in just three games. On Saturday, they didn’t quite make the end zone, but had a stellar day nonetheless with a 52-yard punt return by Clifton Duck, a blocked field goal by Tae Hayes, and a third quarter interception by Hayes.
The Mountaineers scored early with Thomas 54-yard scamper around the left side, weaving his way into the open field, but South Alabama answered right back with an 8-play, 70-yard drive that took 2:45 off of the game clock. Highlighting the Jags’ drive was a 41-yard pass completion from senior quarterback Evan Orth to sophomore wide receiver Kawaan Baker and the way in which the USA offense moved the ball made many among the hopeful Mountaineers fans sit up and take notice, perhaps nervously.
Not to worry because that was the lone scoring event of the day for South Alabama. Helped in part by drive extending penalties on the part of the Jaguars, App State exploded for 35 more first-half points to take a 42-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
Junior linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither led all Mountaineer tacklers with a game-high eight tackles, two of them solo, as well as being credited for 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. Fellow junior linebacker Noel Cook added seven tackles (5 solo), one sack, and a tackle for loss.
South Alabama goes back on the road next weekend to Statesboro, GA to face Georgia Southern and the Eagles’ triple-option offensive attack. Appalachian State is off until Tuesday, October 9th when it takes on Arkansas State in Jonesboro, AR, with kickoff slated for 8:00 pm Eastern time.
Other Sun Belt Conference scores from the weekend:
- Alabama 56, Louisiana 14
- Georgia State 46, Louisiana-Monroe 14
- Troy 45, Coastal Carolina 21
- Georgia Southern 28, Arkansas State 21
SUN BELT EAST STANDINGS
- 2-0 Troy
- 1-0 Appalachian State
- 1-0 Georgia Southern
- 1-0 Georgia State
- 1-1 Coastal Carolina
SUN BELT WEST STANDINGS
- 1-1 South Alabama
- 0-1 Arkansas State
- 0-1 Louisiana
- 0-1 Texas State
- 0-2 Louisiana-Monroe