By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer
BOONE, N.C. (AP) — Zac Thomas threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score and No. 24 Appalachian State beat Louisiana-Monroe 52-7 on Saturday for the Mountaineers’ first victory as a Top 25 team.
Darrynton Evans added 177 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns to help Appalachian State extend the nation’s third-longest winning streak to 12 games. Only Clemson (22) and Ohio State (13) have longer active streaks.
The defense limited Louisiana-Monroe’s Caleb Evans to 75 yards passing and had two interceptions.
Appalachian State (6-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) entered the game as one of 12 unbeaten FBS teams in the country, and rattled off 31 straight points in the first half after spotting the Warhawks a 7-0 lead. The win helped avenge a 52-45 loss to Louisiana-Monroe in 2017.
This is Appalachian State’s second stint in the Top 25 in two years. A year ago, they broke into the Top 25, but it only lasted five days before a 34-14 loss at Georgia Southern.
But the Mountaineers left no doubt about this one.
Evans got the Mountaineers going on a rain-soaked afternoon by breaking through big hole at the line of scrimmage and racing 59 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 7. Thomas connected on a 6-yard TD pass to Thomas Hennigan in the back of the end zone and scored on a sneak following a Josh Thomas’ fumble recovery to make it 21-7 late in the first quarter.
Thomas did it all for the Mountaineers.
On one late first half possession he eluded two defenders and zig-zagged his way up the field for a 32-yard gain, juking defenders along the way. Then he found Collin Reed in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on a perfectly executed play-action fake.
Josh Johnson ran for 77 yards for Louisiana-Monroe (3-4, 2-1).
The Mountaineers came in as the highest-ranked Sun Belt Conference team in history and did nothing to hurt their ranking, beating a ULM team that was the only other unbeaten team in conference play.
Louisiana-Monroe: The Warhawks took Florida State to overtime earlier this year, but struggled to get anything going on offense after marching 82 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. Following that drive, they had just 89 yards and no points for the remainder of the first half.
Appalachian State: The Mountaineers offensive prowess has never been in doubt, but now the defense is looking strong, too. This marks the second straight week they’ve held an opponent to seven points. Last week they beat Louisiana-Lafayette 17-7, holding the Ragin Cajuns to 34 points below their season average.
Louisiana-Monroe hosts Arkansas State on Nov. 2.
Appalachian State travels to face South Alabama on Saturday.