With a 663-172 yardage advantage and a couple big plays in the second quarter, Appalachian State jumped out and never looked back in a 49-0 win over Howard in front of 24,314 fans at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.
The Mountaineers imposed their will on the ground, setting the tone early. A 14-play, 76-yard drive that took 5:47 was capped with the game's first touchdown, Taylor Lamb to Barrett Burns from five yards out, halfway through the first quarter.
Marcus Cox busted loose for a 68-yard touchdown early in the second, then Lamb found Shaedon Meadors from 50 yards out shortly after. A 17-yard option pitch to Simms McElfresh, ruled a pass, made it 28-0 at halftime
McElfresh added a 20-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter, then Jalin Moore found paydirt from seven yards out and then Ike Lewis hauled in the game's final score from JP Caruson from 37 yards out late in the third.
The Howard offense did string together two decent drives to start the game, ending with a punt and an incomplete pass on a 4th and 8 from the App 28. After giving up 68 yards on those two drives, the App defense dominated, only giving up 29 yards over the next seven drives.
The Bison's drive late in the third quarter/early in the fourth down 49-0 got into the red-zone, but the run on 4th and 1 was stuffed for a loss of three. Those two drives were the only times Howard got past midfield. The Bison went 1 for 13 on third down conversions and 1 of 3 on fourth down attempts while App went 7 of 13 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down with the one miss coming with 1:36 left in the game.
App also neutralized Howard in special teams returns. The two punts weren't returned and out of the eight kickoffs, six went for touchbacks and the other two went for a combined 26 yards.
Lamb finished 17 of 22 for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Cox was the leading rusher with 105 yards on 11 carries and a score. McElfresh brought in five catches for 68 yards and two scores.
EDIT: The McElfresh option pitch touchdown has been rightfully changed to a rushing touchdown in the game stats. Now McElfresh has four catches for 51 yards and one touchdown and Meadors leads the receivers with four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Overall App State flexed their FBS muscle without showing too much of their hand. The plays were familiar to both fans and foes, but the results couldn't be stopped.
The win is App State's seventh in the row and their third shutout in the last calendar year, the other two being Campbell on September 6th, 2014 and Georgia State on November 1st, 2014.
Next week App State (1-0) travels down to ACC favorite Clemson, who demolished Wofford 49-10 on Saturday. Howard (0-1) goes north to face another FBS foe in Boston College.