MONROE, La. — Appalachian State suffered its first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season, falling 52-45 at ULM on Saturday.
Former Calhoun High standout Taylor Lamb’s third touchdown pass to receiver Ike Lewis, a 20-yard connection with 53 seconds left in regulation, set up Chandler Staton’s extra point that tied the game. The Warhawks answered by scoring with 23 seconds left on Caleb Evans’ 50-yard touchdown pass to R.J. Turner.
A flag was thrown because Turner went out of bounds before coming back in and catching the ball, but officials waved off the penalty by ruling that Turner was forced out of bounds. The Mountaineers (5-4, 4-1) reached the ULM 39-yard line in the closing seconds, and a final pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
After missing last weekend’s game with an injury, under-the-weather junior Jalin Moore rushed for 114 yards with two touchdowns and scored his first career receiving touchdown on a 75-yard reception. Lamb completed 20 of 29 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns, and Lewis’ three touchdown receptions were part of a seven-catch, 87-yard performance.
With 82 career touchdown passes, Lamb broke the previous Sun Belt record of 81 held by ULM’s Kolton Browning (2010-13) and Troy’s Corey Robinson (2010-13). Adding in his 21 career rushing touchdowns, Lamb joined Armanti Edwards as the only App State players with a hand in at least 100 touchdowns.
The Mountaineers overcame a 21-3 deficit and led two times, including 38-35 on Moore’s 5-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, but the Warhawks (4-6, 4-3) broke a 38-all tie on Derrick Gore’s 1-yard touchdown run with 3:17 remaining. A 49-yard kick return by Lewis and fourth-down conversion by Moore helped set up the tying touchdown.
With Staton supplying a 35-yard field goal, App State trailed by 18 points before Lamb threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Lewis with 10:22 left in the second quarter. Another Lamb-to-Lewis connection, this one covering 31 yards, cut into ULM’s lead with 4:57 remaining before halftime.
The Warhawks moved ahead 28-17 with 1:29 left in the first half on a 7-yard touchdown run by Evans, who accounted for five total TDs and used 356 passing yards to post 403 yards of total offense. Lamb threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Moore on the first play of the next series, as he caught a swing pass to the right and sprinted free thanks to downfield blocks from receiver Thomas Hennigan and right tackle Beau Nunn, who was 17 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Desmond Franklin’s goal-line interception, which followed a quarterback hurry from Anthony Flory, prevented the Warhawks from adding to a 28-24 lead right before halftime.
Third-quarter TD runs by Moore gave App State 31-28 and 38-35 leads, and a 44-yard field goal from ULM kicker Craig Ford tied the score with 11:49 left before the Warhawks broke the tie on the short TD run by Gore, who had 103 rushing yards.
Akeem Davis-Gaither led App State with a career-high 10 tackles, and Franklin had nine. Defensive end Tee Sims recorded a sack to increase his season total to 8.5.
The Mountaineers return to action Thursday night with a home game against Georgia Southern.