For the first time in coach Scott Satterfield’s tenure at Appalachian State, the Mountaineers are 1-0, and in the process, looked like the same team that ran through the second half of its schedule last season.
After finding its footing late in the first quarter, Appalachian State dominatedHoward 49-0 in the season opener at Kidd Brewer Stadium, pushing the Mountaineers winning streak to seven games over two seasons – the fifth-longest in the nation.
It was the first time the Mountaineers had started with a home game since 2001, going 3-10 over that span. Over the past two seasons, the Mountaineers were 2-6 in games played in August and September.
Getting a good start was a priority for the Mountaineers, who are seeking a bowl berth for the first time in program history.
Marcus Cox lit the fire with an electrifying 68-yard touchdown run that was the start of a deluge of quick strikes the Bison didn’t recover from.
He was efficient in limited duty, going over 100 rushing yards for the fourth straight game, finishing with 105 yards on 11 carries.
It was Cox’s 15th career 100-yard rushing game, moving him into fifth all-time at the school. Early in the first quarter, he passed Devon Moore for seventh all-time on the career rushing list.
It was a sharp contrast to Appalachian State’s methodical first drive – which included two fourth-down conversions – when Appalachian used 14 plays to go 76 yards over 5 minutes, 47 seconds.
Cox’s run gave life to the offense, with Taylor Lamb hitting Shaedon Meadors for a 50-yard touchdown pass, then finding Simms McElfresh for a 17-yard score with 5:10 to go in the second quarter.
The two drives went 85 and 79 yards respectively, with both lasting less than two minutes. In all, the Mountaineers had five scoring drives of more than 70 yards.
While a 28-0 halftime margin isn’t necessarily out of reach, it felt like the Bison had little chance after the Appalachian State defense locked in, allowing 7 yards over Howard’s final five drives of the half.
On their first two drives, the Bison gained 68 yards with 28 yards coming on a Kalen Johnson screen pass to Aquanius Freeman.
The Mountaineers didn’t let up in the third quarter, with Lamb and McElfresh hooking up for a 20-yard touchdown pass that ended the first-team offense’s day.
Lamb, last year’s Sun Belt freshman of the year, completed 17 of 22 passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns.
McElfresh exited with five catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and Meadors had four catches for 64 yards.
Appalachian State redshirt freshman J.P. Caruso made his debut at quarterback, completing his first pass for 19 yards to Ricky Fergerson.
Caruso directed two scoring drives – a 7-yard touchdown run by Jalin Moore and a 37-yard pass to Ike Lewis – as the Mountaineers’ backups got a solid quarter-and-a-half of work.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of The News & Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to http://www.journalnow.com/sports/asu/