BOONE — Arkansas State shredded the Mountaineers’ defense for 309 rushing yards and took sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 40-27 win on Thursday night.
The Red Wolves tallied 517 yards of total offense and scored 26 straight points that helped turn a four-point halftime deficit into a blowout win.
Arkansas State QB Fredi Knighten completed 14-of-25 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown and added 69 rushing yards.
Starting running back Michael Gordon gashed the black and gold for eight yards a carry, tallying 136 yards rushing on 17 carries with a touchdown.
“I felt like coming in we had a good game plan that we needed to execute in all three phases and needed to make plays to win,” said Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson. “I thought we played a really solid game and probably the most complete game.”
The Red Wolves out-gained App State, 477-226 in total yards in the final three quarters after the Mountaineers dominated early on, out-gaining Arkansas State, 239-40.
App State played well offensively but turnovers helped keep Arkansas State in the game early on with an interception and a fumble by quarterback Taylor Lamb.
Lamb passed for 321 yards and four touchdowns in the loss, but the team just couldn’t get anything going on the ground, rushing for just 108 yards on 30 carries. Marcus Cox had 74 of those yards.
“Give Arkansas State a lot of credit. The way they came out and played, especially the way they finished the second half,” said Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield. “We didn’t slow them down in the second half. Tip our hat off to them, with the way they played, and we have to regroup.”
Lamb completed passes to eight different receivers. Cox had six grabs for 52 yards. Malachi Jones finished with four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Shaedon Meadors caught three balls for 78 yards and Simms McElfresh had four grabs for 78 yards. Tight end Barrett Burns added a touchdown grab and sophomore wideout Dante Jones scored as well.
The Mountaineers (7-2, 4-1 SBC) will be on the road next week making the long trek to Idaho. Arkansas State (6-3, 5-0 SBC) will be at Louisiana-Monroe.
Coming off of this loss, Coach Satterfield fully expects his team to be ready to go for next week’s contest.
“It’s a fun team to be around. They compete every day in practice and come out and want it,” said Satterfield. “We’ve done a great job, we’ve been on a good run winning football games. But you can’t panic because you lost a football game. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87