BOONE — Coastal Carolina went into Kidd Brewer Stadium Sept. 28 with the eighth overall defense in total yards.
Through four games, the Chanticleers were allowing an average of 254.3 yards of total offense. Appalachian State made sure that that number will go up.
The Mountaineers reached that number by halftime, and beat Coastal Carolina 56-37 in the opening Sun Belt Conference game for both teams. Appalachian State (4-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) has scored a minimum of 34 points in each of its four games this season, and held a 35-21 lead on Coastal Carolina by halftime.
The Mountaineers’ offense didn’t miss a beat despite a lightning delay that lasted two hours and two minutes. The delay started with 1:39 left in the first quarter with Appalachian State leading 14-7.
“We made adjustments, but we were only 11 minutes into the game,” App State coach Eli Drinkwitz said about what the Mountaineers did during the delay. “We couldn’t make too many adjustments because we knew they have plenty of stuff in their package. We made some adjustments and then we sat around and listened to some rap music and hung out.”
Coastal Carolina (3-2, 0-1), which had the ball with a first down on its own 30-yard line, got a 19-yard run from running back C.J. Marable and then a 43-yard touchdown run from Marable to tie the game 14-14.
But App State struck back with a 13-play, 63-yard drive capped by a 1-yard by Darrynton Evans. Coastal Carolina countered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by a Isaiah Likely touchdown reception from Coastal quarterback Fred Payton.
Once again, App State responded, this time with a Marcus Williams 1-yard run that ended a four-play, 77-yard drive. Coastal Carolina was called for a hands-to-the-face penalty on the play, giving the Mountaineers a chance to kickoff at the 50-yard line.
Chandler Staton’s pooch kick was fumbled, but recovered by the Chanticleers at their 3-yard line. The Chants were forced to punt and Thomas Hennigan returned the ball to the Coastal 29-yard line.
Three plays later, Thomas found Corey Sutton for a 14-yard touchdown pass that gave the Mountaineers a 35-21 lead with 45 seconds left in the first half and extended into halftime.
App State added to its lead with a 22-yard Daetrich Harrington touchdown lead, giving App State a 42-21 advantage that was never in serious jeopardy.
“We took control of the game right at the end of the second half when we had those 14 points right there and then score on the first drive after halftime,” Drinkwitz said. “That put us up by 21 points.”
By the time halftime started, App State had rolled up 314 total yards. When the Mountaineers were finished, they ranked up 430 total yards.
App State got the knockout punch from its defense. Cornerback Shaun Jolly picked off a Payton pass and returned it 24 yards for touchdown and a 49-30 lead.
“He’s got a knack for finding the football,” Drinkwitz said. “They had run that same concept earlier and (cornerbacks) coach Charlie Harbison made an adjustment with him. He stayed deep and (Payton) threw the ball right to him. That really shut the game down, so that was a big time interception.”
Appalachian State won’t play again until Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Louisiana and return home Oct. 19 against Louisiana-Monroe.