Georgia Southern struggled on offense and couldn’t take advantage of first-half scoring opportunities as a balanced Appalachian State team pulled away for its third straight win over the Eagles, 27-6 on Thursday night at Kidd-Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina.
The Mountaineers (6-4, 5-1 Sun Belt Conference) gashed the Eagles (0-9, 0-5) on the ground for 253 yards and effectively ran the play action as quarterback Taylor Lamb went 7 of 13 for 161 yards and two touchdowns, giving the former Calhoun standout a 3-1 career record against Georgia Southern.
With top running back Jalin Moore out with an injury, second-string running back Malik Williams ran 28 times for 130 yards, while Lamb scrambled five times for 62 yards, including a 44-yarder that set up a 53-yard field goal to give App State a 10-3 lead at halftime.
Georgia Southern dominated the first quarter in time of possession, keyed by a 14-play, 68-yard drive that ate 6:54 of clock. But the play could have ended in a touchdown as quarterback Shai Werts missed an open receiver in the end zone on a third-and-5 from the 12.
Werts struggled throughout the game and looked indecisive in both passing and running the option. He was 5 of 9 for 40 yards through the air and carried 17 times for just 34 yards, including three sacks.
The Mountaineers took the lead in the second quarter when Lamb ran a play action and threw to a wide-open Thomas Hennigan.
App State tried to convert a fourth-and-1 at its own 35-yard line with under three minutes before halftime, but the Eagles snuffed it out and forced the turnover on downs. The offense couldn’t capitalize on the golden opportunity and ran three plays to negative yardage, resulting in a punt.
The Mountaineers looked content to run out the clock before the GS defense left open the middle of the field for Lamb’s longest run of the day.
The Eagles were still in the game, and the GS defense looked to hold App State again by forcing a fourth down late in the third quarter, but the Mountaineers caught the Eagles napping with a fake punt that put them deep into Georgia Southern territory. Lamb connected with Ike Lewis in the end zone to make it 20-6.
App State outgained Georgia Southern 414-191.