App State's Dominant Run Game, Defense overpowers Arkansas State
Chase Brice completed 15 of 26 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown, and an interception, running backs Nate Noel and Cam Peoples combined for 238 of 265 total rushing yards, and App State took down the Arkansas State Red Wolves 48-14 on Saturday. The Mountaineers win their third straight game improving to 7-2 on the season, 4-1 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Red Wolves drop to 1-8, 0-5 against Sun Belt Conference opponents.
Noel, the Sun Belt Conference's leading rusher, and Peoples both had one touchdown apiece to complement 122 and 116 rushing yards.
Thomas Hennigan led the way for App State in receiving yards with 69 off of four catches, one of them being one-handed, and a touchdown.
Malik Williams had five catches for 58 yards and also threw for a touchdown off of a trick play. Williams has completed five of 12 passes in his collegiate career, all five resulting in touchdowns.
The App State defense backed up last week's strong performance against ULM with another one against the Red Wolves, this time led by Steven Jones Jr. The senior cornerback had three interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns. Jones Jr now has five interceptions in the last four games, three of them resulting in touchdowns.
App State's defense also had 11 tackles for loss and four sacks, two of which came from junior linebacker Nick Hampton.
"Very proud of our football team," head coach Shawn Clark said after the game. "Our running backs hit the ball hard...our whole team executed on a high level (today)."
Thanks to Hennigan's touchdown catch, and Jones Jr's first pick-six, App State jumped out to a 14-0 start by the end of the first quarter. The beginning of the second quarter belonged to Arkansas State as they would score twice, tying the game 14-14 after taking advantage of Chase Brice's interception. Thanks to an 18-yard touchdown run from Nate Noel and a 33-yard field goal from Chandler Staton soon after, the Mountaineers would lead 24-14 at halftime.
From there, App State would dominate the second half, scoring 24 straight points and keep Arkansas State from reaching the end zone again.
The Red Wolves face off against the ULM Warhawks, while the Mountaineers return home to Boone on Saturday playing host the 5-4 South Alabama Jaguars. Kickoff for next Saturday's matchup, Heroes Day, starts at 2:30 pm streamed on ESPN+, wasuradio.com, and on the 90.5 WASU mobile app.