Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb spread the wealth. His defense showed more signs of its stingy streak.
Appalachian State receivers Jaylan Barbour, Jaquil Capel and Mock Adams scored their first career touchdowns in the first half Saturday as the Mountaineers, who made a stand to avoid giving up a rare touchdown on the game-opening drive, rolled to a 35-10 home victory against Texas State.
Appalachian (7-2, 5-0) won easily against the last-place Bobcats (2-6, 0-4) with a trip to Troy for a first-place showdown against the Trojans (7-1, 4-0) and their league-best passing attack next on the Sun Belt Conference schedule.
“It’s definitely something we’re looking forward to,” senior linebacker John Law said. “We like a challenge, and we understand it’s going to be a challenge.”
Lamb finished with four touchdown passes for the Mountaineers, who also benefited from 130 rushing yards by Jalin Moore and 118 by Marcus Cox in the team’s second consecutive game with two 100-yard backs. Only a short field created by a blocked punt prevented App State from keeping another offense out of the end zone.
The Mountaineers' defense allowed one touchdown in its first four league games, and that score occurred against reserves with four seconds left in a 37-19 victory over Idaho, but Texas State used an up-tempo, quick-release passing offense to march from its 20-yard line to the Appalachian State 7 in the first six minutes.
The Mountaineers held the Bobcats to a 25-yard field goal and led 28-3 at halftime thanks to the first three of Lamb's four touchdown throws in only 19 pass attempts. Texas State recovered a blocked punt at the Appalachian State 3 early in the third quarter, setting up a tough-luck touchdown run against a defense that allowed five first downs on the opening series and one over the next eight possessions.
The Bobcats threatened to reach the end zone again on the first play of the fourth quarter, but a fourth-down pass from the 4 fell incomplete.
“Our defense has done a great job of not giving up the big plays, they’re running to the football and they’re tackling well,” App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. “There were some physical hits out there by our defense, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do. When you do that, you’re going to have a good defense.”
Linebacker Eric Boggs recorded the 16th interception of the season for the Mountaineers, who were tied for the national lead entering Saturday, and Kennan Gilchrist posted two of their four sacks of senior quarterback Tyler Jones.
Jones’ passing accounted for 183 of the 197 yards gained by Texas State, which has a first-year head coach in Appalachian alum Everett Withers.
Moore has rushed for at least 100 yards in all six of his starts this season, and Cox put the Mountaineers ahead for good with a 37-yard touchdown run that helped him move within 191 yards of tying Kevin Richardson for the school’s career rushing record.
Lamb had three second-quarter touchdown passes before hitting tight end Barrett Burns for a third-quarter score that enabled the junior quarterback to tie Richie Williams for second place in school history with 59 career TD throws, 15 fewer than Armanti Edwards’ total.
Lamb connected with Barbour on an 8-yard strike early in the second quarter, and Capel used the ball to touch the pylon on a 31-yard touchdown reception four minutes later. Lamb's sixth completion of the game turned into his third touchdown when Adams scored on a 6-yard grab with 1:45 remaining before halftime.
Standout receiver Shaedon Meadors managed only one catch for 21 yards after gaining at least 100 yards in each of the previous three games, but eight players contributed to Lamb’s 12 completions for 120 yards.
“We’ve got depth out wide,” Lamb said. “We’ve got guys that can go. It’s just a testament of where we can hit you and when we can hit you.”