BOONE — Homecoming Saturday in the High Country had no shortage of highlight-reel plays and record-setting moments.
App State forced four turnovers and scored seven touchdowns in a dominant first half, setting the stage for a 59-28 victory against Sun Belt foe ULM in front of 29,321 fans on a rainy afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Since making the jump to the FBS level, first-place App State (6-2, 3-1) is now 7-for-7 in becoming bowl eligible.
A 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by Steven Jones Jr. as the half ended allowed the Mountaineers to take a 49-7 lead into the locker room.
They also benefited from first-half interceptions by Ryan Huff and Trey Cobb, who also made a fourth-down stop to create a turnover on downs and recovered an early fumble forced by T.D. Roof.
Cobb recorded 12 tackles against the Warhawks (4-4, 2-3), and Roof made a career-high nine stops, including 1.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
Chase Brice went 20-of-30 for 256 yards overall and threw four touchdown passes in the first half alone, including two to starting defensive end/part-time H-back Caleb Spurlin, and Camerun Peoples increased his season total to 12 rushing touchdowns with two more in an 82-yard outing.
Corey Sutton and Malik Williams also had touchdown catches, and Nate Noel added 132 yards with one touchdown on the ground as the Mountaineers finished with 521 yards of total offense.
Two notable career milestones were achieved, as Thomas Hennigan became App State’s career receptions leader (breaking a first-place tie with Andrew Peacock while increasing his total to 212 catches) and Chandler Staton became App State’s career leader in made field goals (hitting his 56th to break a first-place tie with Bjorn Nittmo).
App State completed the first two quarters with a 364-88 advantage in total yards, with 196 through the air from Brice and 166 on the ground divided up among Peoples and Noel.
The Mountaineers opened the scoring with a 2-yard run by Peoples midway through the first quarter, and Roof’s fumble-forcing strip on the next play from scrimmage led to Cobb’s recovery at the ULM 28.
Five plays later, Brice hit Williams with a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Cobb’s interception to end the next series preceded a 45-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Brice’s first of two 1-yard TD passes to Spurlin.
ULM’s next series also ended at the hands of Cobb, who stopped scrambling quarterback Chandler Rogers 1 yard short of the sticks on a fourth-and-4 keeper. The Mountaineers marched 73 yards on 10 plays, turning a fourth-and-4 scenario into a 26-yard touchdown run by Peoples.
Spurlin scored again three minutes later, and App State held a 35-7 lead before posting two touchdowns in the final 39 seconds of the half. Sutton moved into a tie for fourth place in school history by securing his 22nd career touchdown catch for the Mountaineers, and the second play of ULM’s half-ending drive resulted in the second pick-six touchdown of Jones’ career.
Staton kicked his record-breaking field goal, a 31-yarder, in the third quarter before Noel capped App State’s scoring with consecutive fourth-quarter runs of 17, 26 and 7 yards.