BOONE Looking like the formidable team of old, for Saturday at least, Appalachian State rolled to a victory.
The Mountaineers snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided the unwanted distinction of losing for what could have been a program-record fifth straight time at home, in a 38-14 victory against Georgia Southern.
“I thought our kids just had a little something about them this week,” said first-year coach Scott Satterfield, whose team is 2-6 overall and 2-3 against Southern Conference opponents. “We talked about how today was the day, where everything was going to come together.”
After scoring just 10 points in each of their previous two games, the Mountaineers scored on six straight possessions against the Eagles (4-3, 2-3), who were ranked No. 24 in the Football Championship Subdivision poll.
The Mountaineers totaled 515 yards and had zero turnovers. Sophomore Kam Bryant completed 27 of 33 passes for a career-best 381 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Marcus Cox rushed for 104 yards. Senior receivers Andrew Peacock and Tony Washington each had more than 125 yards receiving.
“We knew coming into this game we’d have some one-on-one matchups out on the perimeter and we challenged our receivers this week to go out and make plays,” Satterfield said. “And Kam had to have a great day. We knew that.
“In order for us to score points this week the quarterback position had to have a great day.”
Appalachian’s defense did its part, slowing an Eagles’ triple-option attack that entered with league-best averages of 40.2 points and 492 yards a game. The Eagles totaled 363 yards.
Georgia Southern led 7-0 and was driving toward expanding the lead in the first quarter when it lost Jerrick McKinnon, the leading rusher in the SoCon, to an ankle injury. The Mountaineers then stopped the drive, getting a key third-down quarterback sack by Deuce Robinson.
“That was huge,” said Robinson, who had nine tackles. “It gave us a chance to get the offense back on the field, and it gave our defense some energy.”
The Mountaineers began to roll from there, scoring on their final three series of the first half.
They got a series of long-gaining pass plays in the process – a 24-yard strike from Bryant to Peacock, a 40-yard pass to Washington, a 30-yard gainer to Simms McElfresh and a 20-yarder to Malachi Jones. Bryant provided key third-down runs for first downs.
“Our guys came out and made plays,” Satterfield said. “The one thing we’ve lacked offensively was the big plays. We made those. We were clicking today.”
The momentum kept surging in Appalachian’s direction in the second half. The Eagles fumbled away the ball on their opening series of the half, and the Mountaineers marched 36 yards to go up 24-7 on a 12-yard run by Cox.
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