App State rallies to knock off Warhawks

Nick Joyner

App State (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) came out of Saturday’s battle with ULM (3-6, 2-3 Sun Belt) victorious, closing strong to win 31-29 after being down 20-7 early in the second quarter.

Sophomore kicker Bentlee Critcher cashed in on a 39-yard field goal from the left hash with just 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for the Mountaineers. App State drove 53 yards in 1:13, aided by two key defensive penalties by ULM, to set up Critcher for the kick.

“I knew when they drove down the field and scored, I was going to get a shot at winning the game,” Critcher said. “I tried to get all of the thoughts out of my head and Coach Woody just came up to me and told me to stay strong-minded.”

With the win, App State has now won 21 of its last 22 November home games.

Defensively, the Mountaineers notched a season-high six sacks, constantly causing havoc in the Warhawks backfield. With consistent success from the offense in recent weeks, the App State defense has responded with a few impressive performances of their own.

After giving up just 14 points on the road at Troy and holding Georgia State scoreless, the defense came up big yet again Saturday in the second half. The Warhawks offense was held to just nine second half points, which allowed the offense and special teams to seal the win.

“I thought our kids really fought hard during the second quarter,” head coach Scott Satterfield said. “The second half was just a back-and-forth battle. We needed to win a game like this. We have been here before with Liberty and Southern Mississippi and we couldn’t finish those games.”

The win extends the App State winning streak to three, with consecutive wins over conference foes Troy, Georgia State and now ULM.

“Their receivers came up big and their quarterback came up big,” ULM head coach Todd Berry said. “I think their offensive line came up big. Generally, we get some sacks and we didn’t get that today. We never broke their protection.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Lamb and sophomore running back Marcus Cox fueled the Mountaineer attack, a trend that has persisted during the team’s winning streak. Lamb threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, while Cox added 94 rushing yards and a score of his own.

“They have a very good defense and they take pride in stopping the run so going out there, we knew we were going to have to run the ball if we wanted to win,” Cox said. “If we have a good game on the ground we believe we can compete with anybody.”

The Mountaineers next travel to Arkansas State for a road duel set to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Story: Nick Joyner, Senior Sports Reporter