Marcus Cox rushed for three first-half touchdowns and finished with 133 yards on 18 carries as Appalachian State cruised to a 31-7 victory in its home opener against Old Dominion on Saturday.
The Mountaineers, wearing white uniforms and white helmets for a "Whiteout" game that drew 23,374 fans, moved forward from an overtime loss at Tennessee and started fast a week before welcoming Miami to Kidd Brewer Stadium for their highly-anticipated meeting with the Hurricanes.
Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb completed 14 of 21 passes for 181 yards, going 7 for 7 during a 123-yard first quarter that helped the Mountaineers (1-1) establish a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Jaquil Capel completed the game with six catches for 82 yards, and tight end Barrett Burns had three receptions for 66 yards.
Appalachian State led 24-7 at halftime, and the score remained the same until backup quarterback J.P. Caruso reached the end zone on a 1-yard run with 57 seconds left.
Never miss a local story.
Lamb's game-opening, 40-yard pass to Capel started a seven-play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Cox, who capped the Mountaineers' second series with a 2-yard touchdown run. That play immediately followed a 30-yard completion to Burns.
Appalachian State’s third drive, which closed with a 20-yard field goal from redshirt freshman Michael Rubino, started in ODU territory after defensive lineman Okon Godwin batted down a fourth-and-2 pass from the Monarchs' 44-yard line. The Mountaineers passed on a chance to take a 20-0 lead with a 26-yard field-goal try, and an unsuccessful fake on a fourth-and-5 run by holder Bentlee Critcher was followed by a 92-yard touchdown drive by Old Dominion (1-1).
Ray Lawry's 27-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter cut into Appalachian State's lead, and Lamb tossed an interception on the next drive, but the Mountaineers extended their lead thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run by Cox with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining in the half.
Cox jumped left to sidestep a diving tackle attempt from linebacker T.J. Ricks, bounced right while absorbing a hard hit from linebacker Anthony Wilson at the 7 and maintained his footing to post a three-touchdown game for the sixth time in his career. A senior, Cox last had three touchdowns against Georgia State during his sophomore season.
Cox suffered a minor leg injury while being tackled from behind after he caught a screen pass late in the first half, but he returned for the Mountaineers' second series of the third quarter and rushed for 25 yards on four second-half carries.
Jalin Moore posted 13 rushes for 42 yards.
NOTES: Senior free safety Alex Gray missed the game with an injury, and redshirt freshman Desmond Franklin started in his place. Josh Thomas, a sophomore, also played meaningful snaps at that spot. ... Starting cornerback Clifton Duck, a freshman from Butler High, made his first career interception when he picked off a pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-9 play from the Appalachian 15. ... Wide receiver Zy Letman, who redshirted last season after transferring from Georgia Military College, made his first catch for the Mountaineers. ... Freshman Darrynton Evans, now the third-string running back, recorded his first career carry in the fourth quarter. He had eight rushes for 16 yards.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to http://www.journalnow.com/sports/asu/