- Josh Scott
Dominant 3rd Quarter lifts App State over Troy, Sun Belt East Division clinched
Chase Brice threw for 212 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions off of 17 completions, Nate Noel had 102 rushing yards and Appalachian State throttled the Troy Trojans 45-7 on Saturday. The Mountaineers improve their overall record to 9-2, 5-1 against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Troy falls to 5-6, 3-4 in Sun Belt Conference play. By winning their fifth straight game App State officially stakes their claim of the Sun Belt Conference East Division, which guarantees they will play in this year's Sun Belt Championship game on December 4th.
"Very proud of our program...to get a big win and seal the East (Division)," head coach Shawn Clark in his post-game interview. "We broke the will of the opposing team."
With 102 rushing yards on the afternoon, Nate Noel has accumulated over 1,000 total rushing yards on the year. Cam Peoples had 10 carries for 40 yards and Daetrich Harrington scored his first touchdown of the season. Noel makes it 10 straight seasons where an App State running back has accounted for 1,000 yards or more.
Thomas Hennigan led App State with 85 receiving yards off of seven catches and a touchdown and Corey Sutton had 4 catches for 76 yards and a score. Sutton now has seven touchdowns on the season which leads the team.
On defense, linebacker T.D. Roof had four tackles, one sack, and App State's only interception of the game. Many believe the Indiana transfer's second-quarter sack helped give App State a much-needed momentum boost at the end of the first half; a rough first half.
After Chandler Staton made a 24-yard field goal to put the Mountaineers out front 3-0, Troy marched down the field four plays later and quickly took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. App State's next three drives would result in no points after Chandler Staton missed a 30-yard field goal and Chase Brice threw two interceptions. After a 21-yard touchdown catch from Corey Sutton at the end of the second quarter, the black and gold went into halftime with a 10-7 lead.
The second half would see a completely different App State team take the field.
The Mountaineers opened the third quarter with a six-play, 64-yard drive ending with Thomas Hennigan finding the end zone, extending their lead 17-7. One play after the T.D. Roof interception, Chase Brice would find tight end Eli Wilson for another touchdown. In three plays, the black and gold would score twice.
App State would score 42 unanswered points, 35 in the second half on five straight offensive drives, after trailing Troy 7-3. Saturday's game is also the third straight where the Mountaineers have held the opposing team scoreless in the second half.
Troy faces off against Georgia State while App State returns to Boone to take on their in-conference archrival, Georgia Southern, next Saturday. Kickoff for Saturday's season-ending matchup at Kidd Brewer Stadium, which is also Senior Day, starts at 2:30 pm. The event will be streamed on ESPN+ as well as on 90.5 WASU FM, wasuradio.com, and on the 90.5 WASU mobile app.