Mountaineers pile on Jaguars, 52-7

Mountaineers pile on Jaguars, 52-7
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Zac Thomas (12) sprints down the sideline for Appalachian’s first score. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

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.

Mountaineer faithful, out in force. Photographic image by Brad Batchelor for Blowing Rock News

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.

ASU FANtastic! Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

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.

Thomas Hennigan (5) tiptoes down the sideline for a big gain. Photographic image by Brad Batchelor for Blowing Rock News

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


  • 2-0 Troy
  • 1-0 Appalachian State
  • 1-0 Georgia Southern
  • 1-0 Georgia State
  • 1-1 Coastal Carolina


  • 1-1 South Alabama
  • 0-1 Arkansas State
  • 0-1 Louisiana
  • 0-1 Texas State
  • 0-2 Louisiana-Monroe

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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