Mountaineers top Colonials 42-3 in homecoming rout


Aldo Sarabia

Redshirt Sophomore wide receiver Christian Wells stiff arms a Robert Morris defender to gain extra yards, Oct, 29, 2022. Wells has a total of seven catches and 88 yds in the 2022 season.

Dan Davidson, Sports Editor

App State routed FCS opponent Robert Morris 42-3 Saturday on homecoming weekend in Boone. 

“I’m pleased with our defense,” head coach Shawn Clark said. “We’re tackling better. We’re taking better angles.”

The Mountaineers got off to another slow start offensively, something Clark lamented after last week’s victory over Georgia State. On the first six possessions for the Black and Gold, Robert Morris forced four punts and one interception. 

“You cannot play sloppy football in these kind of games or this is the way it’s going to look,” Clark said. “In saying that, Robert Morris came out and played very well the first half.”

App State’s defense held the Colonials to 148 total yards, allowing just three points and seven first downs. Robert Morris only managed to cross the 50-yard line three times. 

“I thought our defense played very fast,” Clark said. “We tackled very well; pursued the football.”

After the Mountaineers opened the game with a quick three-and-out, the defense made an early statement with an interception on the Colonials’ second play. Junior defensive back Nick Ross snagged the third pick of his career, giving the offense the ball at the Robert Morris 32. 

Despite the positive field position, the Black and Gold punted after another three-and-out. 

On its third possession, App State managed to put the first points on the board with a three-play, 52-yard scoring drive. Redshirt senior quarterback Chase Brice found redshirt sophomore receiver Dashaun Davis streaking down the middle of the field into the end zone for the opening score. 

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Dalton Stroman catches a 19-yard dime from redshirt senior quarterback Chase Brice. Stroman made the touchdown with 13 seconds left on the clock in the second quarter, raising App State’s lead to 21-3, Oct. 29, 2022. (Aldo Sarabia)

Robert Morris answered early in the second quarter, piecing together a 14-play drive that resulted in a 42-yard field goal. The Colonials were held scoreless the remainder of the game. 

The Mountaineers scored touchdowns on five of their next six drives and forced punts on all seven of Robert Morris’ final drives. 

Redshirt senior receiver Tyler Page took a touch pass 12 yards into the end zone and redshirt freshman receiver Dalton Stroman rose above a defender for a 19-yard touchdown reception to close the first half. 

Redshirt junior tight end Miller Gibbs opened the scoring in the second half with a nine-yard touchdown reception, pushing the Black and Gold lead to 28-3. Two backup running backs closed the game for the Mountaineers, with sophomore Anderson Castle scoring from 17 yards out and freshman Kanye Roberts rushing in the second score of his career from one-yard out. 

Several less experienced Mountaineers saw action Saturday thanks to the large cushion built by the third quarter. Freshman quarterback Ryan Burger took over for Brice late in the third and led the Black and Gold the rest of the way. Burger completed four of six passes and showed off his running ability, picking up 23 yards on two carries. 

“We got a chance to play some young guys, and some of those young guys can help us out here in the next four weeks of the regular season,” Clark said.

Brice finished 17/23 passing for 185 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Page produced 31 yards and a touchdown on his game-high four receptions, while Davis caught three balls for 57 yards and one touchdown. 

Redshirt senior wide receiver Tyler Page celebrating with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kaedin Robinson. Page’s touchdown, at 4:51 in the second quarter, brought App State up to 14-3 against Robert Morris, Oct. 29, 2022. (Aldo Sarabia)

Sophomore running back Nate Noel led rushers with 88 yards on the ground in just five carries. Castle and Roberts saw a majority of the work in the backfield as Clark was able to rest his top three backs for most of the second half. Castle turned nine attempts into 67 yards and one touchdown, while Roberts took 11 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. 

“I thought Kanye played very well,” Clark said. “I thought Ryan Burger came in and moved the ball. You can see he’s a different player than Chase, he can really beat you with his feet when he has to.”

Defensively, sophomore outside linebacker Jalen McLeod finished with a team-high six tackles, adding one sack. Senior inside linebackers Logan Doublin and Tyler Bird each finished with five tackles. 

App State has a short week to prepare for conference foe Coastal Carolina Thursday night in Conway, South Carolina. The Mountaineers and Chanticleers kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. 

“Every team we play has a chance to win the conference championship,” Clark said. “They remember November. How we play in November is what this team is going to be remembered for.”