Appalachian State got on the board with the opening drive, going 80 yards in seven plays and just over two minutes. The Mountaineers' quarterback Armanti Edwards connected with tight end Nic Cardwell from 13 yards out for a 7-0 lead early in the contest.
ASU moved it again on their next possession, taking the ball down to Coastal's 16 before the defense held. Kicker Julian Rauch hit from 33 yards out and the Mounties had a 10-0 lead with 7:26 remaining in the first quarter. They followed it up with another score less than three minutes with a short-field drive, going 43 yards in three plays, as Edwards hit Dominique Wilson with a 29-yard touchdown and the PAT made it 17-0 Appalachian.
Coastal had several drives enter ASU territory in the half, but the hosts continued to light up the scoreboard. Running back Kevin Richardson scampered in from six yards out to make it 24-0 with 12:24 to go in the second. The Mountaineers then got the ball on their own 34 with just over a minute remaining in the half and made it count, going 66 yards in five plays and 41 seconds, capped off with Edwards' third touchdown pass of the game, this time to T.J. Courman from 36 yards for a 31-0 halftime margin.
CCU got the ball to start the second half and made it count for its first score of the game. Running back Aundres Perkins dashed for 53 yards on the first play from scrimmage to get the Chanticleers in business at the ASU 29. After converting a fourth down earlier in the drive, quarterback Tyler Thigpen capped off the eight-play, 82-yard scoring drive with a one-yard sneak to cut the lead to 31-7 with 11:50 remaining in the third quarter.
After a failed App State field goal, Coastal moved it again and got on the scoreboard with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Thigpen to Jerome Simpson. The catch capped off a seven-play, 77-yard drive over 2:19 and was Simpson's eighth consecutive game with a touchdown catch.
After a questionable call on the ensuing kickoff that kept the ball with ASU, the home squad responded with 70-yard drive of its own. Edwards scampered in from 15 yards out and increased the Mountaineer advantage to 38-13 late in the third quarter.
The Chants did not go away easily, putting together an 11-play, 80-yard drive over the next 3:49. Thigpen threaded the needle and hit receiver Perry Parks for a nine-yard touchdown, with Josh Hoke's point after making it 38-20 with 12:28 remaining.
ASU added a late score on another Edwards rushing touchdown, this time from one yard, and the Mountaineers led 45-28 with just 1:12 remaining in the contest. Coastal never quit, driving 71 yards in five plays, with Thigpen hooking up with Simpson one last time for a 36-yard touchdown, with the two-point conversion making the final 45-28 margin. The 28 points were the most scored by an ASU opponent this season.
Thigpen was 24-for-41 for a school record 351 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception. Thigpen did become the first quarterback in Big South history to surpass the 3,000 passing yard mark for a single season, finishing with 3,296. He also moved in to second on the Big South's career total offense list, ending with 3,952 yards. Simpson also became the first Coastal receiver and third in league history to total 1,000 receiving yards in a season, ending with 1,077. His touchdown catches raised his total to 16 on the season, a new Big South record and he is now second all-time in Big South receiving yards with 2,023, just the second player to eclipse the 2,000-yard total in his career.
HEAD COACH DAVID BENNETT
We couldn't be more proud of our senior and our football program. We fought back from 31-0 down to come back and make this a game. We knew coming in that, if we gave them the ball, it would be the nail in the coffin. We couldn't get anything started offensively and couldn't stop them defensively. But I am proud of the way we came back - they persevered and never game. Appalachian State deserves to be No. 1 in the nation.