JONESBORO, Ark. –A sleight of hand, followed by take out, timely strikeouts and defensive touchdowns, propelled the Appalachian State Mountaineers to another Sun Belt Conference road victory on Saturday, November 6.
The Mountaineers remained atop the Sun Belt Eastern Division thanks to a 48-14 victory at Arkansas State on Saturday. App State (7-2, 4-1) broke away from a 14-14 tie scoring the last 34 points.
Enforcement corner Steven Jones Jr. tied a school record intercepting three passes and scoring on two interception returns, his touchdowns covering 47 and 34 yards. Nick Hampton represented two of App State’s four sacks, D’Marco Jackson and Tyler Bird contributing each.
Kicked off by receiver Malik Williams ‘touchdown pass to Thomas Hennigan, the Mountaineers’ offense recorded 461 total yards of attack. Nate Noel (122 yards on the ground in 22 attempts) and Camerun Peoples (116 yards in 14 attempts) each scored once on the ground. Chandler Staton went 2 for 2 on field goals, setting an academic record reaching his 16th straight field goal.
App State opened the scoring when Williams, a former high school quarterback, produced the fifth touchdown pass of his career with a 34-yard throw to a wide open Hennigan, who increased his career tally to 19 points from reception.
Less than a minute later, Jones Jr. picked up a faulty pass and returned it for 47 yards for a touchdown – her second straight game with a six-pick touchdown.
Arkansas State (1-8, 0-5) responded with back-to-back touchdowns to tie the game, capitalizing on turnover and a defensive back that slid across the grass in the end zone, but App State has quickly regained control.
Noel’s 18-yard touchdown run capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive that covered just over three minutes, and a three-and-out defensive save set up a drive that took most of what was left in the first half. Staton’s 33-yard field goal with three seconds left before the break increased the margin to 24-14.
A Hampton sack early in the third quarter helped force a punt before another App State touchdown, with a 19-yard run for Arkansas State 10 before Brice’s 10-yard pass to the tight end Miller Gibbs.
Hampton and Bird produced back-to-back sacks to quickly end the next streak, and Peoples scored 27 yards on a third and 12.
A short field goal from Staton and another defensive touchdown from Jones capped the score.
The Mountaineers are now planning a home game with South Alabama on Saturday, November 13.