BOONE – Appalachian State scored 31 straight points to beat Georgia Southern on Thursday night, 31-13.
The Mountaineers continued its domination of rival Georgia Southern over recent years, having won nine of the last 13 games between the two programs.
GSU scored on its first drive of the game, a 12-yard touchdown run from Kevin Ellison with 11:11 left in the first quarter.
App answered back on its next drive, but had to settle for three points on a 44-yard field goal from Zach Matics with 8:35 left in the frame.
The Mountaineers took the lead on a five-play, 41-yard drive to open the second quarter. Marcus Cox found the end zone from 18 yards out to give App State a 10-7 lead.
With 3:48 left in the first half, Taylor Lamb fired his first of two touchdown passes, a nine-yard strike to Simms McElfresh.
Holding a 17-7 lead, a key defensive lapse by the Eagles led to a 33-yard TD pass from Lamb to Barrett Burns with four minutes left in the third quarter. The GSU defense sold out on the run fake, leaving the Mountaineer tight end wide open for the score that seemed to break the Eagles’ will.
App State added on another six-yard score from Cox on the ground before the eagles scored a garbage time touchdown on a 19-yard run from L.A. Ramsby with 3:31 left in the game.
The Mountaineers improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Sun Belt.
Georgia Southern dropped to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Sun Belt.
The untold story of the night was the terrific play of the Appalachian State defense. The Mountaineers held Georgia Southern to just 188 rushing yards. The Eagles led the nation in rushing yards per game with 369 entering Thursday night’s game.
“Can’t say enough about our defense. If you had to pick a team to play on a short week, five days preparation, it probably wouldn’t be Georgia Southern,” said App State head coach Scott Satterfield. “But our coaching staff did a phenomenal job getting our kids ready to play. It’s a hard task to stop those guys.”
GSU tailback Matt Breida was held to 78 yards on 14 carries.
“We ran into a really good team. App State played excellent and they did a very good job,” said Georgia Southern head coach Willie Fritz. “It was a frustrating night and they outplayed us so give a lot of credit to them.”
For App State, Cox tallied 90 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns. Lamb completed 14-of-20 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns. The Mountaineers had no turnovers.
Alex Gray and Mondo Williams each recorded second-half interceptions for the Mountaineer defense and Ronald Blair was the leading tackler with eight tackles and three tackles for loss.
The Mountaineers remain atop the Sun Belt standings, a spot where the team hopes to stay the rest of the season.
“Our whole goal is to win this conference and we’re 3-0, so there’s a lot more football to be played,” said Satterfield. “This was a nice win, but we have several more to play to get this conference.”
With this win, the Mountaineers are also bowl-eligible in the first year that they can accept an invitation to a bowl game.
“It’s awesome to be sitting here with six wins and to be bowl eligible,” Satterfield said. “It’s awesome to be at that milestone. That’s what everybody looks at, that six-win mark, and for it to be the first season we can go to a bowl and we’re there in seven games, that’s pretty sweet.”
Next up, the Mountaineers host Troy on Halloween.
*App State is now 12-3-1 all-time against Georgia Southern in Boone
*Appalachian has the longest active winning streak in Sun Belt Conference games (9)
*The Mountaineers have 74 wins in the last 88 home games.
*This was the 12th win in the last 13 games for the black and gold.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87