Mountaineers secure first shutout since 2017 in rout of The Citadel

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Evan Bates

The Citadel Bulldogs face off against the Mountaineers, Oct. 1, 2022.

Ethan Smith, Reporter

Coming off a heartbreaking home loss against James Madison, App State football welcomed The Citadel to Boone for family weekend with a shutout 49-0.

“We needed it as a program, it was four tough weeks, four emotional weeks and our program and players needed that,” head coach Shawn Clark said.

Junior running back Camerun Peoples runs down the field to the end zone. Peoples ended with 102 yards in just four rushing attempts and one touchdown. (Haley Smart)

The Mountaineers came out firing on the opening possession. A couple of run plays set up a play-action pass from redshirt senior quarterback Chase Brice to sophomore wide receiver Dashaun Davis 44 yards for a touchdown. The Black and Gold went six plays and 74 yards to take the early lead. 

The Black and Gold defense dominated the first half, not allowing a Bulldogs first down until the 7:25 mark in the second quarter. They gave up only 96 yards of offense and recovered a fumble. The Bulldogs were shutout and could not consistently get anything going, with their largest play coming right before halftime.

“Very pleased with how we came out and executed in all three phases,” Clark said.

App State rolled to a 35-0 lead at halftime. The Mountaineers scored on five of their first six drives of the game, including a 73-yard touchdown run from redshirt junior running back Camerun Peoples. Brice threw for 185 yards, three touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Christian Horn caught two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. As a team, the Black and Gold rushed for 174 yards with Peoples accounting for 102 rushing yards. 

App State students cheer on the Mountaineers despite the rainy weather against The Citadel Oct. 1, 2022. (Haley Smart)

In the opening drive of the second half, the Bulldogs began marching down the field. They found themselves at the eight-yard line when quarterback Peyton Derrick dropped back to pass, and the ball was intercepted by senior defensive back Dexter Lawson Jr. On App State’s next possession, Brice found Horn for a one-play 80-yard touchdown to go up 42-0.

“I caught it and shout out to Dashaun Davis for giving me that block, and I took it 80 yards,” Horn said.

With the game out of reach, the Mountaineers gave some of the younger players a chance at game action. Redshirt junior quarterback Brady McBride, who transferred from Texas State this spring, took his first snaps as a member of the team. McBride completed two passes for 33 yards. 

“I’m glad to see some of those young guys get quality reps, and that will pay dividends for us in the future,” Clark said.

With the Mountaineers entering the red zone, redshirt freshman wide receiver Michael Hetzel made a diving one handed catch to set up a four-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Kanye Roberts. It marked Roberts first career score. 

“Kanye’s one of those guys you see it early, the nation slept on him. He was the number one leading rusher coming out of high school,” Peoples said.

App State shutout the Bulldogs 49-0, marking the first shutout since 2017 when the Black and Gold defeated Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl. Brice finished with 265 yards and five total touchdowns. Peoples rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown with Horn adding 132 receiving yards and two touchdowns. 

Tight end Eli Wilson steps into the end zone early in the second quarter, bringing the score to 21-0 Oct. 1, 2022. (Evan Bates)

The Mountaineers outgained The Citadel by 322 total yards. App State moves to 3-2 on the season.

“Anytime you get a shutout in college football, that’s huge,” Clark said.

Sophomore running back Nate Noel did not take the field for the Mountaineers for a fourth straight game. He was initially held out in week two due to an injury.

App State travels to San Marcos, Texas for a matchup with Texas State Oct. 8. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

“That’s gonna be a very challenging team for us. They have a lot of transfers, I think they have about 40 or 50 transfers on the team, so big challenge for us getting ready for conference play,” Clark said.