Trey Mitchell throws first collegiate touchdown pass in loss
BOONE, N.C. (Aug. 31, 2019) – The ETSU Bucs took the field for the first time in the 2019 season, making the trek to Boone, N.C. for the first time since 2003. Despite the final score of 42-7 in favor of the Mountaineers, the Bucs came out swinging, holding Appalachian State to just 14 first-half points.
ETSU tallied 292 yards of total offense, including 161 yards in the air. However, the numbers and the size of the Mountaineers proved too much for the Bucs in the season opener as Appalachian State collected 444 yards of total offense and 277 on the ground.
The Mountaineers struck first in the fourth possession of the game following a 1-yard touchdown run from Zac Thomas. Appalachian State doubled its lead to 14-0 following a momentum-changing penalty on third down from the ETSU defense.
Appalachian State punched in a third unanswered scoring drive to open the second half with a 13-yard sprint from Darrynton Evans to push the Mountaineers ahead 21-0.
The Bucs strung together the longest touchdown drive of the game from either side on their next possession, completing a 12-play, 86-yard drive that lasted 6:56. The drive was sparked by the connection between quarterback Trey Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.) and wide receiver Braxton Richburg (Hoschton, Ga.) as Mitchell found Richburg three times for 47 yards. Mitchell capped off the drive with his first collegiate touchdown pass, finding Nate Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the back of the endzone for a five-yard touchdown reception, his second of his career.
The Mountaineers pulled away on the next drive, stretching the lead back to 21 before the conclusion of the third quarter. Appalachian State solidified the rekindled rivalry after registering two more touchdowns in the final quarter to put a final stamp on the 42-7 Mountaineer victory.
ETSU falls to 0-1 to open the season, snapping a three-game winning streak in season openers since the return of the program in 2015. ETSU is now 1-4 in the first road game of the season since bringing football back to Johnson City, Tenn.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Appalachian State 7, ETSU 0: After holding the Mountaineers to a three-and-out in their first possession, the Bucs yielded a one-yard touchdown run by Zac Thomas to cap off a 13-play, 84-yard drive for the first score of the season.
- Appalachian State 14, ETSU 0: The Mountaineers doubled their lead to 14 following a six-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Malik Williams. The touchdown pass came immediately following a tough defensive pass interference call on third down against the ETSU secondary.
- Appalachian State 21, ETSU 0: Appalachian State took the first drive of the second half 75 yards for their third unanswered touchdown, a 13-yard run from Evans.
- Appalachian State 21, ETSU 7: The Bucs responded with the longest drive of the game for either side, a 12-play, 86-yard drive that lasted 6:56. On the drive, Mitchell completed all seven of his passes for 71 yards, including a 5-yard connection to Adkins for the first ETSU touchdown of the new season.
- Appalachian State 28, ETSU 7: Appalachian State responded on its next drive of the game as Thomas found Hennigan in the back of the endzone for a 31-yard touchdown strike to put the Mountaineers back up by 21.
- Appalachian State 35, ETSU 7: The home squad punched in a fifth touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter as Jalen Virgil rushed for a 15-yard score, capping a 10-play, 67-yard drive.
- Appalachian State 42, ETSU 7: The final scoring drive of the game came from the Mountaineers, a four-play, 40-yard drive that was solidified by a Jacob Huesman 17-yard touchdown completion to Christian Wells.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The Bucs held Appalachian State to just 14 first-half points in Saturday’s contest. The Mountaineers were held to 14 points or less in the first half just four times in 2018.
- For the second consecutive game, the Bucs’ defense forced a three-and-out on the opponent’s first drive of the game. This is also the third consecutive game without yielding a first down on the opening drive for the opponent as ETSU registered a turnover in Samford’s first drive just three plays in on Nov. 17.
- The Bucs rushed for 131 yards, led by Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Ga.) with 68 yards on the ground. Holmes finished with 148 all-purpose yards, tallying 80 yards on kickoff returns for ETSU. This is the fifth consecutive game that the Bucs have eclipsed the century mark in rushing.
- ETSU saw three different quarterbacks in the game with Chance Thrasher (Suwanee, Ga.) starting under center for the Blue & Gold. However, it was Mitchell that shined, finishing 12-of-19 for 117 yards and one touchdown. Cameron Lewis (McDonough, Ga.) also got in on the action, finishing 1-for-2 for 15 yards while also rushing for 30 yards.
- Richburg led the wide outs with 77 yards receiving on four catches, just nine yards shy of tying his career high. Adkins pulled down the team’s lone touchdown, finishing the game with three catches for 21 yards, including a highlight-reel grab while slipping on the turf.
- Numerous players made their ETSU debuts, including Mississippi State transfer Jamal Couch (Phenix City, Ala.), finishing with one catch for 11 yards that set up the ETSU touchdown.
- The ETSU offensive line yielded just two sacks on the game, limiting the ability for the Mountaineers to get to the quarterback.
- The defense was led by Artevius Smith (Birmingham, Ala.) with a career-high 11 tackles, including nine solo.
- Colton Lakes (Loveland, Ohio) tallied four tackles in the game, recording a career-best two tackles for loss.
- The Buccaneer defense got their hands on three passes, while also registering two quarterback hurries.
- ETSU’s new freshman punter Garrett Taylor (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) got to showcase his skills, booting the ball six times for 263 total yards, averaging 43.8 yards per punt. Taylor’s first collegiate punt pinned Appalachian State deep inside their own five yard line.
- Landon Kunak (Spartanburg, S.C.) was able to kick the ball off twice in the Saturday showdown, booming both attempts into the back of the endzone for touchbacks.
- ETSU won the time of possession, holding the ball for 33:38, while Appalachian State maintained possession for just 26:22.
- The Bucs finished the game 6-of-15 on third down, while posting a 1-for-2 mark in fourth-down conversions.
- ETSU put the ball on the ground three times, successfully jumping on two of the three fumbles. The last time that the Bucs fumbled three times was the 2018 season opener at home against Mars Hill on Sept. 1.
NEXT GAME UP
ETSU will return to Johnson City for a three-game home stand, beginning with the home opener against Shorter on Saturday, Sept. 7 at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium. Kickoff for the Bucs’ home opener is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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