The best way to blow up a triple-option offense is to make that team play catch-up.
Georgia Southern scored first Thursday, but that was pretty much the end of the Eagles’ night. Appalachian State built a 24-7 lead, forcing its Sun Belt rival to become a passing team. That became a non-starter as the Mountaineers rolled 31-13 at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Simms McElfresh, who played high school ball at Charlotte Christian, caught a pass in the flat on fourth-and-one to convert to a first down and extend the Mountaineers’ time-consuming drive midway through the fourth quarter. A minute later running back Marcus Cox scored on a six-yard run to make it 31-7.
That drive consumed over seven minutes, covering 65 yards on 13 plays, and made this a runaway.
The Mountaineers are 6-1 overall, 3-0 in the Sun Belt. Georgia Southern is 5-2 and 3-1.
Three who mattered
Taylor Lamb: Appalachian State’s sophomore quarterback is from Georgia and he made Georgia Southern’s secondary miserable much of this night with play-action passes.
Barrett Burns: The Mountaineers’ junior tight end had a career-long 33-yard reception for the touchdown that broke this game open (24-7 lead) midway through the third quarter.
Bentley Critcher: He had a career-best 60-yard punt that just missed going out of bounds before bouncing into the end zone for a touchback.
▪ Georgia Southern’s secondary played really soft coverage in the second quarter, which opened a lot of underneath routes for Appalachian State receivers.
▪ The weather in Boone in late October could have been rough. Instead it was picture-postcard nice: High around 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
▪ Appalachian State entered this game having given up the lowest percentage of red-zone scores (3-of-14) in the FBS division. But they gave up a touchdown in Georgia Southern’s first drive, struggling to contain that triple-option initially.
▪ This was the third time Appalachian State hosted a nationally televised night game. The Mountaineers won the previous two, over Richmond in 2007 and Wofford in 2008.
▪ Georgia Southern gained 86 yards -- all on the ground -- in its first drive, then totalled just 29 yards the rest of the first half.
▪ Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have quite a history. This was their 30th meeting. The Mountaineers had a 15-13-1 advantage in the series, and were 11-3-1 in Boone.
▪ By winning Thursday Appalachian State became bowl-eligible with six season victories for the first time in program history.
▪ There was a fire at a cafeteria just outside the stadium that drew a slew of emergency vehicles. According to a school spokesman, there were no injuries.
They said it
“It's awesome to be sitting here at six wins. First year and we're bowl-eligible. That's a milestone and we're there.” – Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield on qualifying for the post-season in first season allowed under FBS rules.
“We ran that play before but we didn’t send Barrett up-field. We thought, ‘Man, there's nobody out there!’” – Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb on tight end Barrett Burns going untouched for a third-quarter touchdown.
“That was a designed play. We knew it would work if they were playing man (coverage). It was actually pretty simple.” – Appalachian State wide receiver Simms McElfresh on a fourth-down conversion catch that extended what became a seven-minute touchdown drive.