EditorsNote: fixes record and standings in fourth graf
Appalachian State’s first visit to the Top 25 will be a short one.
The 25th-ranked Mountaineers were undone by a laundry list of mistakes and a handful of big plays from the Georgia Southern offense Thursday night in the Eagles’ 34-14 Sun Belt Conference win at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga.
Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1) had outscored its opponents 231-49 in a five-game winning streak after losing its season opener at Penn State in overtime, but it simply collapsed under the weight of its errors. The Mountaineers committed five turnovers, including four interceptions, and were flagged 11 times for 91 yards.
The Eagles (7-1, 4-0) played a clean game in tying Troy for first place in the Sun Belt East. They committed no turnovers and were penalized only twice for 11 yards.
After a scoreless first quarter, Georgia Southern grabbed a 7-0 lead just 23 seconds into the second period on its only pass completion, a 57-yard strike from Shai Werts to Darion Anderson.
The Mountaineers tied the game less than 2 1/2 minutes later with a 1-yard touchdown run by Marcus Williams, but Wesley Fields’ 10-yard scoring run one play after a fumble put the Eagles ahead for good. Tyler Bass’ 42-yard field goal with 4:45 left in the half made it 17-7 at intermission.
Werts upped the advantage to 24-7 when he took an option play 47 yards with 10:05 remaining in the third quarter. Bass added a 43-yard field goal with 1:34 on the clock to increase the lead to 20 points.
Fields tacked on the last touchdown for the Eagles with an 18-yard run with 3:28 remaining in the game.
Werts tallied a game-high 129 yards on 14 carries, and Fields finished with 98 on 18 attempts. Georgia Southern’s triple-option attack out of a pistol formation compiled 277 yards rushing, while its defense limited Appalachian State to 149 rushing yards and 288 total yards.
The Mountaineers lost starting quarterback Zac Thomas to an injury less than three minutes into the game. Backups Jacob Huesman and Peyton Derrick combined to hit just 11 of 26 passes for 140 yards.
—Field Level Media