Dominant Defensive Effort Leads App State to 35-9 Road Win (2018-10-10 08:54:59)

JONESBORO, Ark. — Playing a nationally televised game on a Tuesday night, Appalachian State picked an opportune time to produce a dominant defensive performance.

Tae HayesJosh Thomas and Austin Exford intercepted passes from Justice Hansen, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year, and the Mountaineers erased an early deficit by scoring 28 consecutive points in their 35-9 road victory against Arkansas State.
With ESPN2 televising the first meeting this year by two preseason division favorites, App State (4-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) won for the 14th time in its last 16 conference road games and improved to 40-10 in its last 50 games overall.
Led by first-year coordinator Bryan Brown, Appalachian's defense forced seven three-and-outs and allowed a total of nine points on the five Arkansas State drives that advanced to at least the Mountaineers' 35-yard line. Offensively, Darrynton Evans rushed for a career-high 115 yards with one touchdown in relief of Jalin Moore, who suffered an ankle injury on a 27-yard touchdown run in the first half, and quarterback Zac Thomas had a hand in three touchdowns while accounting for 220 yards of offense.

"We've got great respect for Arkansas State and what they've been able to do in this league over the last six or seven years, to be in contention for conference championships and go to bowl games every year," App State coach Scott Satterfield said. "To come on the road like this against a team that was picked to win their side, and really play pretty well, I thought our defense played outstanding tonight and kept them out of the end zone, which was huge. We talked about that the whole time, and we won the turnover margin, which was a critical thing as well. The offense sputtered a little bit tonight and you still put up some decent numbers. Overall, proud of the whole team the way they came out and fought."
The Mountaineers scored at least 30 points for the eighth straight game, the second-best total in the country, with help from touchdown grabs by Corey Sutton and Collin Reed. App State's defense limited the Red Wolves to 336 total yards, including 219 through the air, as Jordan Fehr also contributed a solo sack while tying Akeem Davis-Gaither with career highs of 14 tackles apiece. 

Arkansas State was held without a touchdown at home for the first time since 2007, and Appalachian limited an opponent to single-digit points for the fourth straight game. In the process, the Red Wolves were 1 of 12 on third down through the first three quarters and 3 of 17 for the game.

"We've got some of the best DBs in the country, I feel like," senior defensive tackle MyQuon Stout said. "Us helping them out, getting pressure on the quarterback, making him get rid of it fast, not really being able to read it sometimes, that helped us a lot."

Arkansas State (3-3, 0-2) opened the scoring with a pair of field goals in the first 18 minutes. Right after Evans burst through a hole on a 39-yard gain to the Red Wolves' 27 with App State trailing 6-0 early in the second quarter, Moore scored on a run up the middle.
Showing the heart and strength that helped make him a two-year captain for the Mountaineers, Moore pulled a defender the final 10 yards before suffering an ankle injury as he was brought down near the end zone, and the senior left the field on a cart.
The touchdown on his last touch Tuesday gave him 3,570 career rushing yards (sixth in school history) and 33 career rushing TDs (seventh in school history). The career rushing total ranks second among active FBS players, behind just the 4,609 yards from Washington's Myles Gaskin.

Moore offered words of encouragement to teammates who gathered around him in the end zone, and the Mountaineers put forth an inspired effort the rest of the way.

"We lost one of our better players right before the half, and that hurts, but it's the next-man-up mentality," Satterfield said. "The next guy, go play, and we're obviously praying for Jalin. This is a family, and we play for each other."

Blake Grupe's third field goal of the first half, a 33-yarder, gave Arkansas State a 9-7 lead that lasted less than two minutes.
Jalen Virgil's 41-yard reception set up Thomas' 25-yard touchdown pass to Sutton with 2:57 left in the second quarter, and Hayes intercepted a Hansen pass on the third play of the next series. Hayes' 19-yard return to the Arkansas State 3 led to Evans' 1-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
Josh Thomas intercepted a deep pass in the closing seconds of the first half, and Evans' 57-yard run to the Arkansas State 24 created another scoring opportunity in the third quarter. Thomas tossed a Tebow-like jump pass to Reed, a tight end, for a 3-yard touchdown that helped increase the Mountaineers' lead to 28-9.
Appalachian's third interception of Hansen occurred right after Exford and Steven Jones swallowed up an Arkansas State punt returner for a 5-yard loss. Exford then picked off a pass tipped by teammate Davis-Gaither for his first career interception, allowing the Mountaineers to record more interceptions off Hansen than he had totaled in the Red Wolves' first five games combined.

"I thought we did a great job tonight mixing up coverages," Satterfield said. "In order to get sacks, you have to cover the guy so he has to hold the football. The D-line was relentless tonight and really continued to put pressure on. When you do that, sometimes you throw into some coverages, so we were able to get some picks tonight. I thought we did outstanding tonight on third-down defense."
Zac Thomas capped the scoring with a 62-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, giving him 76 rushing yards in addition to his 144 through the air. 

When it was over, one-by-one, App State players, coaches and staff members went out of their way to check on Moore and show their support.

"It just hurts because he's a big-time leader," Satterfield said. "He'll continue to lead for our team no matter what his situation is."

"The team stepped up big," said Stout, another two-year captain. "That's somebody that everybody looks up to. It's 'Boobie,' and we all look up to him. Him telling us to just keep fighting gave another inspiration to the team. At the end of the day, we always play for the other 10 (on the field), but that was game right there, that was for him."
App State is off this Saturday before returning to action Oct. 20 with a Family Weekend home game against Louisiana.


App State has given up single-digit points in four straight games for the first time since 1998. That year, the Mountaineers had four in a row with, in order, a 31-6 win against Wofford, a 28-7 win against Chattanooga, a 51-0 win against VMI and a 19-0 win against Eastern Kentucky.
App State is 14-2 in its last 16 conference road games and 29-3 in its last 32 conference games.
At 40-10 in its last 50 games, App State joins Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin as the only programs with at least 40 wins in their last 50 games.
A 38-9 loss at Auburn in 2013 was the last time Arkansas State was held without a touchdown, and the last time that happened in a home game was a 27-0 loss to Troy in 2007.
The Mountaineers have forced three-and-outs on 32 of their 69 defensive possessions this year. They rank No. 2 nationally in both three-and-outs per game (6.4) and percentage of drives with a three-and-out (46.4).
With three interceptions, App State has 63 since the start of the 2015 season, putting the Mountaineers in third place behind San Diego State (68) and Alabama (65).
Akeem Davis-Gaither and Jordan Fehr both set career highs with 14 tackles, as Davis-Gaither beat his previous high of 10 from last season against ULM and Fehr topped his previous high of nine from this year's opener at Penn State.
Senior safety Austin Exford came up with his first career interception during the second half.
Austin Exford also excelled on special teams, making stops for a 5-yard loss on a punt return, no gain on a punt return and a kickoff return to the Arkansas State 16.
Redshirt freshman Clayton Howell had a career-long punt of 62 yards to flip the field, as he kicked out of his own end zone on a fourth-down snap from the App State 9 and had his punt downed at the Arkansas State 29.
App State scored at least 30 points for the eighth straight game. The only FBS team with a longer streak is UCF at 18.
Darrynton Evans rushed for a career-high 115 yards, beating his previous high of 61 yards. App State already has had 100-yard rushing games from Evans, Jalin Moore and D'Andre Hicks this season.
With Zac Thomas scoring on a 62-yard keeper, App State has had a rushing touchdown of at least 50 yards in three straight games. Thomas had a 54-yard touchdown run against South Alabama, and there were touchdown runs of 73 yards by D'Andre Hicks and 81 yards by Jalin Moore against Gardner-Webb.
True freshman tight end Henry Pearson made his first career start as part of a set with two tight ends, and he had a first-half catch for 17 yards.



                           1  2  3 4 T
Appalachian State 0 21 7 7 35
Arkansas State 3 6 0 0 9

1st 09:39 ASU - Grupe, Blake 31 yd field goal, 11-54 3:47 0 - 3
2nd 12:54 ASU - Grupe, Blake 47 yd field goal, 10-45 3:59 0 - 6
11:13 APP - Moore, Jalin 27 yd run (Staton, C. kick), 4-75 1:41 7 - 6
04:37 ASU - Grupe, Blake 33 yd field goal, 5-48 2:20 7 - 9
02:57 APP - Sutton, Corey 25 yd pass from Thomas, Zac (Staton, C. kick), 4-74 1:34 14 - 9
00:45 APP - Evans, D. 1 yd run (Staton, C. kick), 3-3 1:11 21 - 9
3rd 02:52 APP - Reed, Collin 3 yd pass from Thomas, Zac (Staton, C. kick), 5-86 2:43 28 - 9
4th 06:09 APP - Thomas, Zac 62 yd run (Staton, C. kick), 3-65 1:30 35 - 9

Team Statistics:

                                APP A-STATE
Fumbles: Number-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties: Number-Yards 4-50 7-65
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 3-25-0 0-0-0
Possession Time 28:32 31:28
Third-Down Conversions 6 of 16 3 of 17
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 1 1 of 3
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-3 2-2
T o u c h d o w n s 2-3 0-2
Field goals 0-3 2-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards 1-9 1-4
PAT Kicks 5-5 0-0
Field Goals 0-1 3-3
Points off turnovers 7 0

Individual Statistics:

Appalachian State
Rushing No. Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg
Evans, D. 16 121 6 115 1 57 7.2
Thomas, Zac 6 80 4 76 1 62 12.7
Moore, Jalin 7 36 4 32 1 27 4.6
Williams, Marc. 8 18 0 18 0 5 2.2
Virgil, Jalen 1 5 0 5 0 5 5.0
Totals 38 260 14 246 3 62 6.5

Arkansas State
Rushing No. Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg
Murray, Marcel 11 38 1 37 0 10 3.4
Hansen, Justice 12 40 10 30 0 16 2.5
Roberts, Alex 4 21 0 21 0 10 5.2
Wand, Warren 7 20 0 20 0 6 2.9
Weh-Weh, Armond 3 9 0 9 0 4 3.0
Totals 37 128 11 117 0 16 3.2

Appalachian State
Passing C-A-I Yds TD Long Sack
Thomas, Zac 12-27-0 144 2 41 1
Totals 12-27-0 144 2 41 1

Arkansas State
Passing C-A-I Yds TD Long Sack
Hansen, Justice 25-40-3 209 0 24 1
Bonner, Logan 2-5-0 10 0 9 0
Totals 27-45-3 219 0 24 1

Appalachian State
Receiving No. Yards TD Long
Virgil, Jalen 2 47 0 41
Williams, Malik 2 19 0 11
Reed, Collin 2 15 1 12
Sutton, Corey 1 25 1 25
Pearson, Henry 1 17 0 17
Heath, D. 1 9 0 9
Hennigan, T. 1 7 0 7
Moore, Jalin 1 4 0 4
Evans, D. 1 1 0 1
Totals 12 144 2 41

Arkansas State
Receiving No. Yards TD Long
Merritt, Kirk 9 73 0 15
McInnis, Justin 7 55 0 24
Tyler, Reed 3 29 0 18
Bayless, Omar 2 30 0 20
Murray, Marcel 2 1 0 1
Adams Jr., Jona 1 13 0 13
Isaac, Javonis 1 9 0 9
Bowling, Brando 1 6 0 6
Wand, Warren 1 3 0 3
Totals 27 219 0 24