Statesboro, GA – Georgia Southern loses a tough game against Appalachian State last Thursday, October 22nd. The Eagles drop to 3rd in the Sun Belt and the Mountaineers move to 1st place. Appalachian State’s defense was just too strong and ran all over the Eagles’ offense.
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BOONE, N.C. – Taylor Lamb completed 14-of-20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns to lead Appalachian State to a 31-13 Sun Belt Conference football victory over Georgia Southern Thursday night in Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The Mountaineers picked off two passes, recorded 10 tackles for loss and held the Eagles to 2-for-10 on third down through the first three and a half quarters. The Eagles came into the game leading the country in rushing with 399 yards a game, but the Appalachian State defense held Georgia Southern to 252 total yards, including 188 on the ground.
Matt Breida ran for 78 yards on 14 carries for Georgia Southern (5-2, 3-1), and L.A. Ramsby ran nine times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Ellison rushed for 46 yards and a highlight-reel touchdown and threw for 64 yards.
Marcus Cox ran for 90 yards and two scores and caught two passes for 36 yards for Appalachian State (6-1, 3-0). Sims McElfresh caught six balls for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia Southern saw its 11-game Sun Belt Conference win streak come to an end and suffered its first league loss since joining the conference last season. It was the Mountaineers’ eighth consecutive Sun Belt victory.
“They really did a good job up front, both on the offensive and defensive line,” said Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz. “They did a good job of playing on our side of the ball and were very well schooled in the option. When you play a quality opponent like them you have to play well.”
With Appalachian State leading 17-7 in the third quarter, Mando Williams picked off an Ellison pass and returned it 11 yards to the Mountaineer 48-yard line. Lamb fired a 33-yard touchdown pass to Barrett Burns three plays later, and App took control of the contest by extending the margin to 24-7 with four minutes left in the frame.
Alex Gray picked off a Favian Upshaw pass on the Eagles’ first possession of the fourth quarter, and the Mountaineers took 7:16 off the clock with a 13-play drive. Cox made the score 31-7 with a 6-yard touchdown run with 6:33 remaining.
“We didn’t change the line of scrimmage,” said Fritz. “On plays where it looked like we had them in the backfield, we missed a tackle or on the stretch play, they always found a way to fall forward so instead of 2nd-and-8 it was 2nd-and-4.”
Georgia Southern took the game’s opening kickoff and promptly went 86 yards in eight plays to open an early lead.
Ellison faked the pitch, went around the right side and leaped over Williams, somersaulting into the end zone for the 12-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 cushion 3:49 into the game. Breida had carries of 23 and 21 yards to key the drive.
It was all Appalachian State from there as the Mountaineers scored the next 31 points of the game. Zach Matics put Appalachian State on the scoreboard with a 44-yard field goal on the Mountaineers’ ensuing possession. Cox rattled off a 22-yard run to open the drive, and Lamb hit Ike Lewis with a 19-yard pass to move the ball into Georgia Southern territory.
The Mountaineers made use of a short field to take their first lead of the contest. A couple penalties, including a holding call on what would have been a 46-yard run by Upshaw, forced the Eagles to punt from their own 3-yard line. App gobbled up 41 yards in five plays, and Cox broke three tackles and went down the sideline for an 18-yard touchdown run to give the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead with 4:12 gone in the second quarter. Lamb threw to Bobo Beathard for a 16-yard pickup on 3rd-and-3 to key the drive.
After forcing Georgia Southern to go 3-and-out, Appalachian State went 76 yards in 10 plays, and Lamb hit Sims McElfresh with a 9-yard touchdown pass. Lamb connected with Cox out of the backfield on the wheel route for a 30-yard gain to key the drive, which ate up almost five minutes off the clock, and Appalachian State led 17-7 at halftime.
The Eagles return home to take on Texas State in a Sun Belt Conference contest Thursday, Nov. 29, in Paulson Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
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