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Thomas throws for 4 TDs as App State romps; E. Carolina scores 45 points in first half

Associated Press

BOONE — Zac Thomas passed for 279 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown passes as Appalachian State defeated Troy 47-10 on Saturday, rebounding from a loss at No. 16 Coastal Carolina.

The Mountaineers (7-2, 5-1) have not lost back-to-back games since 2017. The win keeps Appalachian State in second place behind unbeaten Coastal Carolina, which clinched the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division on Saturday.

App State’s Camerun Peoples broke loose for a 63-yard TD run less than three minutes into the game and the Mountaineers added two more scores 49 seconds apart to take a 21-0 lead after a quarter.

Thomas fired a 15-yard scoring pass to Malik Williams, and Steven Jones picked off a Gunnar Watson pass on the next play from scrimmage, returning it 34 yards for a pick-six. Thomas was 22-for-29 passing and threw four touchdowns for the fourth time, Peoples gained 95 yards on 10 carries and Williams had seven receptions for a career-high 113 yards. Thomas is 30-5 as a starter, second among active quarterbacks in the FBS. Watson passed for 125 yards with a TD and a pick, and the Trojans (4-5, 2-3) were outgained 554 yards to 231.

ECU 52, SMU 38

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Holton Ahlers threw for four first-half touchdowns and East Carolina held off SMU’s second-half rally for a 52-38 victory on Saturday.

ECU (3-6, 3-5 American) scored a touchdown on its first six possessions of the game, and closed the half with a short field goal for a 45-7 lead.

Ahlers was 11-of-17 passing for 158 yards in the first half. WR Tyler Snead also had a passing touchdown on a reverse and Keaton Mitchell rushed for 57 yards and a score.

SMU (7-3, 4-3) battled back in the second half with four touchdowns. Shane Buechele scored on a QB sneak and later connected with Ulysses Bentley IV as the Mustangs scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter.

But Darius Pinnix Jr. sealed it by capping a five-play, 75-yard drive with a short TD run for a 52-24 lead early in the fourth.

Ahlers finished with 298 yards passing, while Buechele was 35 of 50 for 314 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

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