Saturday, September 2, 2023

App State Pulls Away From Gardner Webb To Take 45-24 Victory


The Appalachian State Mountaineers faced off against the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs in both teams’ season opener at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina. Although it was a one-score game for most of the afternoon, App State pulled away in the fourth quarter and came out victorious with a final score of 45-24.

Backup quarterback Joey Aguilar, a California junior college transfer, came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and lead Appalachian State to victory. Aguilar threw a 32-yard touchdown to Kaedin Robinson on his first pass, which put the Mountaineers up 14-10 late in the first half. His second touchdown was a 26-yard connection with Dashaun Davis for a 21-17 lead.

Jayden Brown’s third touchdown, a 41-yard pass from Matthew Caldwell, put Gardner-Webb on top 24-21 but after Aguilar connected with Dalton Stroman for 43 yards and a 28-24 lead, the defense took over. From there the Bulldogs had a three-and-out and three-straight turnovers. Those turned into a 43-yard field goal, a 7-yard touchdown rushing for Nate Noel, and Aguilar’s 7-yard pass to Christian Horn.

Aguilar finished the game with an impressive stat line of 11 of 13 for 174 yards in what appeared to be a planned relief appearance. Starter Ryan Burger, a redshirt freshman, was 7 of 11 for 70 yards, with his first collegiate touchdown, a 12-yard pass to Eli Wilson, opened the scoring. Noel had 24 carries for 117 yards.

On the other side of the ball, Gardner-Webb’s Jayden Brown had rushing touchdowns of 8 and 16 yards for the Bulldogs.

Both teams are on the road facing in-state rivals next week with Gardner-Webb playing at Elon while App State travels to Chapel Hill to take on UNC.