Appalachian State looked like the best team in the Sun Belt Conference in Week 9. The Mountaineers poured on 34 straight points after falling behind 10-0 early to beat rival Georgia Southern on Thursday night. There’s no question App State and Troy are the two favorites to win the SBC title.
But the real question is what has happened to Georgia Southern? The Eagles offense looked lost and inept for most of the game, and there should be concerns about what kind of offense that head coach Tyson Summers wants to install.
Let’s start with App State and how it overcame a very brutal start. Quarterback Taylor Lamb was intercepted on the first drive of the game that led to a Georgia Southern field goal, and while the offense moved the ball into field goal range, a botched snap was scooped up by Eagle linebacker Ukeme Eligwe, who took it 90 yards for the touchdown, and GSU was off to a fast 10-0 lead.
App State steadied itself in the second half on a spectacular catch by receiver Sheadon Meadors, which set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Lamb to put the Mountaineers on the board.
Shaedon Meadors, you are ridiculous!
— App State Athletics (@appstatesports) October 28, 2016
After App State got a field goal late in the first half to tie the game at half, the Mountaineers took advantage of a couple of Southern turnovers to take back control of the game. After another field goal, an interception by A.J. Howard led to a 30-yard touchdown run by Lamb to make it 20-10.
Then a couple of long drives in the fourth quarter led to touchdowns, one from Marcus Cox from 12 yards out, and Jalin Moore added a 15-yard score to put the game out of reach.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Southern offense did absolutely nothing in the whole game. The Eagles could not get their vaunted rushing attack going; the passing game was completely dreadful. GSU punted the ball eight times in the game, and had only 94 yards passing, with quarterbacks Kevin Ellison and Seth Shuman combining to go 12-of-29 with three interceptions.
Last year, Georgia Southern had one of the best rushing games among the FBS teams. But on Thursday, the Eagles were held to only 65 yards on 26 attempts. The offense seemed confused on what kind of unit it wanted to be.
For App State, it was a thrill to see Cox back to his old self after missing the last four games due to an injured ankle. He did not miss a beat, rushing for 115 yards on 18 carries. His backup, sophomore Jalin Moore, also looked strong, rushing for 126 yards as well.
App State coach Scott Satterfield after the win pic.twitter.com/fKUL1xa7ws
— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) October 28, 2016
Also credit Meadors for making some impressive catches in the game, hauling in six passes for 126 yards.
For Cox to get it done passing and rushing shows how good this offense can be. His ability to make plays with his legs as well as his arm is what makes App State a dangerous team in the Sun Belt.
App State will have to go to Troy in a couple of weeks in a game that most likely will decide the Sun Belt title. First, though, the Mountaineers will have to avoid overlooking Texas State next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Georgia Southern will have to get its offense fixed rather quickly, or it will have another embarrassing performance at Ole Miss next week.