Appalachian State's Taylor Lamb

Appalachian State's Taylor Lamb (Appalachian State Athletics)

BOONE, N.C. – Halfway through the Gold Out, senior quarterback and former Calhoun High standout Taylor Lamb subbed out for good.

Lamb tied Appalachian State’s single-game record by throwing five touchdown passes in a 54-7 victory against Savannah State on Saturday. He played only two quarters of the 2017 home opener, completing 12 of his 15 passes for 327 yards as the Mountaineers (1-1) took a 45-0 lead into halftime of the gold-themed game in Kidd Brewer Stadium.

“I thought our guys came in and executed almost flawlessly in the first half,” App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. “It was almost a near-perfect first half for us really in all facets of the game. We’re really proud of that because Savannah State hadn’t played a game coming into the season, so you don’t ever really know what you’re going to see, but our guys adjusted really well.”

Lamb matched the five-TD total accomplished previously by four App State quarterbacks: DeAndre Presley in 2010, Armanti Edwards in 2008, Richie Williams in 2004 and Pat Murphy in 1967 and 1968.

In surpassing his previous single-game high of four touchdown passes, Lamb connected twice with tight end Collin Reed and once apiece with tight end Levi Duffield, receiver Zy Letman and receiver Jalen Virgil. Scoring receptions by Duffield (57 yards), Reed (68 yards) and Virgil (56 yards) eclipsed 50 yards.

“The game plan really came together with what we wanted to do,” Lamb said. “It was almost perfect in the first half on the offensive side of the ball. We had some missed keys here and there, but at halftime we pretty much knew some of us were done to get those young guys playing and get them some good game reps.”

Junior running back Jalin Moore opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run, part of a nine-carry appearance that ended with 57 rushing yards, and Michael Rubino’s 38-yard field goal came before App State’s sixth touchdown of the half against the FCS-level Tigers (0-1). Thanks to a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, senior Terrence Upshaw led the Mountaineers with 86 yards on 10 carries.

Lamb, who had his biggest passing yardage game since he threw for a career-high 397 yards against Liberty as a freshman, increased his career total to 68 touchdown passes. Heading into next weekend’s Sun Belt Conference opener at Texas State, he’s only six behind Edwards, the school record-holder with 74 touchdown throws from 2006-09.

“We wanted to push the ball down the field today,” Satterfield said. “It’s got to be a part of our offense to help open up the run game.”

Duffield’s 57-yard touchdown seven minutes into Saturday’s game was the longest catch by an App State tight end since Ben Jorden had a 58-yard reception against Presbyterian in 2008, but Reed topped both of those gains on his 68-yard touchdown with 12:30 left in the second quarter.

About nine minutes after Virgil caught a short pass, cut across the field and outran Savannah State’s defense to score his first career touchdown for the Mountaineers, Reed reached the end zone on a 16-yard reception that allowed him to finish with three catches for 106 yards.

App State’s big passing performance occurred a week after Lamb completed 18 of 27 passes for 128 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions against Georgia.

“We kind of practiced that during the week, just to work on it from last week and what we missed,” Lamb said. “I think on offense in the first half we corrected those mistakes we had last week. We were really in a rhythm there with the run and pass. It was a good feeling to get out there at home and get the win.”

App State’s 45-0 halftime lead matched the halftime score from a 66-0 victory against Campbell in the 2014 home opener. A safety enabled the Mountaineers to take a 47-0 advantage into the fourth quarter, and Savannah State ended the shutout bid when Stephen Dorsey scored on a 45-yard fumble return with 11:55 left.

App State limited Savannah State’s offense to six first downs and 114 total yards on 51 plays. Eric Boggs’ six tackles led a defense that recorded three sacks, including the first in the careers of sophomore Caleb Spurlin and true freshman Demetrius Taylor. Josh Houser and Cameron Pack combined on a sack late in the game.

“We came out last week with a great attitude and played hard, but we just came up short,” said App State senior linebacker Devan Stringer, who had four tackles. “We didn’t fit in the right places and didn’t adjust fast enough, but this week we were able to do that a lot faster. We played a lot better.”