Dollar General Bowl: App State (9-4, 7-1 Sun Belt) vs. Toledo 11-3, 7-1 MAC)
December 23, 2017
7 p.m. ET
Final score: App State 34 Toledo 0
After 49 straight games as App State’s starting quarterback, senior Taylor Lamb did not have to fill the stat sheet up en route to the Mountaineers dominating performance. Lamb did his job as QB, controlling the Mountaineers’ offense and throwing for 131-yards on 8/16 passing and was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Lamb did not complete his first pass until the second quarter, but rushed eight times for 45-yards and surpassed 2,000 rushing yards in his career. Lamb had some key plays with long 26 and 29-yard passes to senior Ike Lewis and freshman Thomas Hennigan. While he did not need to have a stellar game, Lamb finished his career as a three-time bowl champion and two-time conference champion, putting his name in the App State record books.
Running Backs: A+
App State has seen injuries pile up all season for junior starting running back Jalin Moore, but when it counted most, Moore delivered, rushing for 125-yards and three touchdowns to be named the Dollar General Bowl Most Valuable Player. Backing up Moore, freshman Daetrich Harrington had a strong showing with 72-yards on nine carries, and Marcus Williams had 68-yards to total 327 App State rushing yards. There was not much more the running game could have done to help the Mountaineers.
Wide Receivers: B+
Just like Lamb, the wide receivers were not needed as much in this game, but made the big plays that counted. Senior Ike Lewis hauled in a 26-yard reception to finish with 67 receiving yards, and freshman Thomas Hennigan had a key 29-yard reception late in the game to help the Mountaineers move down the field in their dominate victory. In total, the receivers finished with 131 total yards on eight receptions.
Tight Ends: C
Offensively, the tight ends were non-existent on the stat sheet. Sophomore Collin Reed was the only tight end to pick up a reception with a 7-yard pass. Senior Levi Duffield had a drop late in the third quarter, but with App’s offense focused on the running game and wide receivers, the tight ends were left to be used primarily as blockers throughout the blowout.
Defensive Line: A+
It was arguably the best showing all season for the Mountaineers’ defensive line. Averaging 509-yards of offense per game this season, the Toledo offense looked completely lost thanks to a stellar game by the D-line that applied pressure the whole game. Senior defensive end Caleb Fuller had a career day with three tackles for loss, one and a half sacks and four total tackles. Junior nose tackle Myquon Stout had three tackles and freshman Markell Clark had .5 tackles for loss. Junior defensive end Okon Godwin had also had a strong showing filling in once again for senior Tee Sims who was announced for the season earlier in the season. Godwin filled the stat sheet up with a tackle, sack, and tackle for loss and a QB hurry.
Tasked with defending one of the nations best quarterbacks in Toledo’s Logan Woodside, the App State linebackers also had their best game of the season. Junior linebacker Anthony Flory led the team with eight total tackles, four of which were solo, and had a key interception in the first quarter that led to the Mountaineers getting on the scoreboard first. Flory also chipped in a quarterback hurry. Senior linebacker Eric Boggs added five total tackles, .5 a sack and tackle for loss. Senior Devan Stringer also contributed a sack. The Mountaineers held the Rockets’ two-headed running back duo to only 55 rushing yards, and Woodside to -31.
The App State secondary contributed to holding Toledo to a season low 146 yards of offense and handed the Rockets their first shutout since 2009. Sophomore Clifton Duck picked off Logan Woodside in the fourth quarter to put the game away, and junior Tae Hayes led the secondary with five tackles. Sophomore Desmond Franklin had an interception along with four tackles, and senior A.J. Howard had a tackle for loss.
Offensive Line: A+
ESPN announced on air that they believed the offensive line was the most valuable group for the Mountaineers. They allowed no sacks and did not allow the Rockets to bring much pressure throughout the game at all. It was a strong way to end a memorable career for offensive lineman Colby Gossett and Beau Nunn.
Special Teams: A-
Redshirt freshman defensive back Kaiden Smith was the named the Special Teams Player of the Game due to a forced fumble early in the first half that proved to be costly. Freshman kicker Chandler Staton hit a 29-yard and 23-yard field goal in the second quarter before missing a 25-yarder, which was the first missed kick for him this season.
Player of the Game: Jalin Moore
Moore scored three touchdowns for the first time in his career and surpassed 1,000 rushing yards on the season, which was very injury-riddled for him. Moore followed former running back Marcus Cox’s MVP title in the 2015 Camellia Bowl and 2016 Camellia MVP Taylor Lamb with an MVP of his own, and now has the off-season to get back to 100 percent.
Overall team Grade: A+
Three straight bowl game victories for the Mountaineers in only three years of eligibility. Toledo won the Mid-American Conference and was favored by seven points to win the Dollar General Bowl. The Mountaineers shut a team out for the first time in Dollar General Bowl history and finished off another historic season for the Mountaineers.
Story By: Jason Huber
Photos By: Lindsay Vaughn