Game Day Grades: App State vs East Tennessee State


Lynette Files

Junior wide receiver Jalen Virgil scores the first rushing touchdown of his career in the fourth quarter of App State’s 42-7 win over ETSU on Saturday.

Dan Davidson, Former Sports Editor

App State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) vs. ETSU (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)

August 31, 2019

3:30 p.m. ET

Final Score: App State 42  ETSU 7


Quarterbacks: A

Zac Thomas began his junior campaign with a 16-24 passing day for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas’ long on the day was a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Thomas Hennigan late in the third quarter. Thomas also ran for 32 yards and a touchdown. Fellow junior quarterback Jacob Huesman checked in for Thomas during the fourth quarter, and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass on his single attempt. 

Running Backs: A-

Junior Darrynton Evans led the deep group of running backs as he rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Sophomore Daetrich Harrington rushed for 48 yards on six carries, and junior Marcus Williams Jr. added 41 yards on his seven carries. Camerun Peoples, a redshirt freshman out of Lineville, Alabama, left the game injured after a 17-yard carry just 3:11 into the second half. An update on his status should be issued on Sept. 2. 

Wide Receivers: B+

Seven different players had receptions for the Mountaineers in the game. Junior Thomas Hennigan pulled in a career-high seven catches for 79 yards and one touchdown. Receivers Christian Wells and Malik Williams each caught a touchdown as well. Aside from Hennigan, the other 10 receptions for the game were spread among six other receivers, each with one or two receptions. The receiving corps certainly held their own while star junior Corey Sutton sat out for the season opener. 

Tight Ends: B

Sophomore tight end Henry Pearson was the only tight end with any receptions on the day, bringing in two catches for 12 yards. The tight ends were primarily used as blockers, and aided the offensive line in allowing zero sacks on the game. 

Offensive Line: A+

The offensive line played a terrific game, not allowing ETSU any sacks for the entire game. The great work by the offensive line is a large reason why Thomas had a terrific day passing, as he was only hurried twice for the whole game. 

Defensive Line: A

The defensive line played nearly as well as the coaching staff could have asked for. They put constant pressure the quarterback of ETSU, and came away with two sacks. Junior Tommy Dawkins recorded the lone solo sack on the day. 

Linebackers: A+

The linebacking corps had an outstanding showing, with Akeem Davis-Gaither, Noel Cook and Jordan Fehr putting up five or more tackles each. Davis-Gaither had a team-high seven total tackles, including one tackle for loss. Sophomore inside linebacker Trey Cobb also added three total tackles with one tackle for loss. 

Secondary: A-

App State’s secondary had a good performance against ETSU, despite coming away with no interceptions. East Tennessee State didn’t give the “Legion of Boom” many opportunities at picking them off, mainly sticking to shorter pass and run plays. Safeties Desmond Franklin and Josh Thomas combined for 12 total tackles, and sophomore cornerback Shaun Jolly recorded six tackles. 

Special Teams: A

While the special teams didn’t have any major plays, all members were solid. No kickoff or punt returns for touchdowns were allowed, or really any major returns. Malik Williams had the long punt return for the Mountaineers on the day with a 33-yard return late in the game. Junior punter Xavier Subotsch only had to punt three times, with an average of 44.3 yards per punt. Junior kicker Chandler Staton connected on each of his six extra-point attempts.

Player of the Game: Thomas Hennigan

Thomas Hennigan had a career-high in receptions against the Buccaneers, hauling in seven balls for 79 yards and one touchdown. Last year, Hennigan totaled the second-most receiving yards on the team with 327, but was overshadowed by star receiver Corey Sutton who more than doubled that number. The absence of Sutton on Saturday led Hennigan to be the top target for Zac Thomas, and catch five more balls than any other receiver. 

Overall Team Grade: B+

App State played very well, particularly in the second half. However, a slow start in the first half and overall sloppiness at times result in an overall B+. App State has a much higher ceiling than how they played on Saturday, but showed the potential to be a great team after a 42-7 victory in the season opener. 


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