App State throttles ULM thanks to explosive first half
Chase Brice completed 20 of 30 passes for 256 yards and a career-high four touchdowns and App State took advantage of a dominant first half to beat the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 59-28 on Homecoming weekend. The Mountaineers improve their record to 6-2, 3-1 in Sun Belt Conference play while the Warhawks drop to 4-4, 2-3 against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Saturday's win also makes App State bowl eligible for the seventh straight season.
Brice, the graduate transfer quarterback from Duke, has thrown six touchdowns in two games, which improves his total to 14 on the season.
Nate Noel had another big day on the ground as the Sun Belt's leading rusher tallied 132 rushing yards off of 17 carries and a touchdown. Cam Peoples also had 17 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Peoples now has 12 rushing touchdowns on the year.
Corey Sutton led App State in receiving yards with 77 off of five catches and a touchdown while Malik Williams had three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Defensive end Caleb Spurlin, who had 1.5 sacks against Coastal Carolina, had two touchdown catches for the Mountaineers. Thomas Hennigan had four catches for 26 yards. Over the course of five seasons, "T-Henni" now has 212 career catches which breaks the all-time record set by Andrew Peacock, who had 208 receptions, from 2010-13.
Defensively, the Mountaineers were locked in forcing five turnovers from the ULM offense including three interceptions from T.D. Roof, Ryan Huff, and Steven Jones Jr, who returned his interception for a touchdown.
"It was a great team win," said head coach Shawn Clark during his post-game interview. "The key this week was to start fast."
Start fast they did.
After coming up empty on their opening drive, App State sprinted out to a 35-0 lead after scoring five straight touchdowns. By halftime, the Mountaineers led 49-7. ULM would outscore App State 21 points to 10 in the second half, but by then the damage had already been done.
"You wanna score in the first quarter," Brice said, emphasizing the importance of starting games well. "It seems like in the second half we've always picked it up, but in the first half we've come out flat...today we came out with a lot of juice and a lot of excitement."
App State will be on the road next weekend traveling to Centennial Bank Stadium to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves, who have lost seven straight after winning their season-opener against Central Arkansas. Kickoff for next Saturday's game starts at 2 pm on ESPN+.