SPARTANBURG, S.C. ?€“ No. 16 Appalachian State University rolled up 566 yards of total offense and scored 28 unanswered second-half points en route to a 49-17 shellacking of Wofford on Saturday at sunny Gibbs Stadium. With the victory, Appalachian (5-2, 3-1 SoCon) maintained at least a share of first place in the Southern Conference standings.
In a battle between two of the four teams tied atop the SoCon coming into play on Saturday, Appalachian nearly doubled Wofford's offensive output of 286 yards. ASU averaged 7.5 yards per play, compared to just 4.2 yards per snap for Wofford (4-2, 2-2 SoCon).
Walter Payton Award candidate Richie Williams led the Apps' offensive outburst with another spectacular day, completing 19-of-26 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown and running eight times for 73 yards and another score. Williams' 322 yards of total offense marked the 11th time in his illustrious career that he has topped 300 total yards and gave him 7,702 yards of total offense for his career, just one yard shy of second place on the SoCon's all-time total offense list.
In approximately eight-career quarters against the Terriers, Williams has completed 65-of-87 passes (74.7 percent) for 901 yards and six touchdowns.
Williams' top target on the afternoon was senior wide receiver Jermane Little, who caught six passes for 125 yards, just one yard short of the career high he set at Wofford as a freshman in 2001.
With the contest tied at 7-7 late in the first quarter, Williams connected with Little for a 62-yard catch-and-run over the middle of the field, which set up Kevin Richardson's second two-yard touchdown run of the afternoon and gave ASU the lead for good less than two minutes into the second period at 14-7.
Appalachian's offense really started clicking on its final offensive series of the first half, as it marched 42 yards in five plays and took a 14-point lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Williams to tight end Daniel Bettis. The Apps were given the short field to work with when defensive end Jason Hunter sacked Wofford quarterback Josh Collier for a 13-yard loss on fourth-and-three from the ASU 45.
After Wofford kicked a field goal to make it 21-10 at the half, Appalachian turned the contest into a rout by scoring touchdowns on each of its first four possessions of the second half.
Williams opened the onslaught by taking it in from 11 yards out to give the Mountaineers a 28-10 lead just over five minutes into the third quarter. Little followed with a 10-yard touchdown run with 3:48 to go in the period to stretch the advantage to 35-10.
After many starters, including Williams and Little, were removed from the game early in the final period, backup quarterback Trey Elder found Bettis for a nine-yard touchdown connection that extended the Appalachian lead to 42-10. Elder, a native of nearby Duncan, S.C., turned his homecoming into his first-ever two-touchdown day when he hit a wide-open William Mayfield for a one-yard touchdown that closed out the Mountaineer scoring with 5:49 to go in the game. In all, Elder completed four of his five passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
The Terriers added a 57-yard touchdown scamper by Collier with 3:06 to play to account for the final margin.
Making their first-career starts, linebackers Cam Speer and Pierre Banks led the Mountaineers' stellar defensive effort with 12 and 11 tackles, respectively. The duo filled in for regular starters Zodd Kelly and Brad West, who saw limited playing time due to minor injuries.
Hunter added a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 17 yards in losses and also forced a fumble, while safety Corey Lynch made seven tackles, including one for loss.
Appalachian faces its fourth-straight battle for SoCon supremacy next Saturday when it hosts Chattanooga (5-2, 2-1 SoCon) on homecoming in Boone. Kickoff between the Apps and Mocs, who are tied for first place in the conference standings pending Chattanooga's contest with Western Carolina on Saturday evening, is slated for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised live regionally on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).