BOONE, N.C. — Ryan Huff's tackle for a 5-yard loss forced another punting situation in the second quarter, but a roughing penalty officially stopped a three-and-out streak from App State's defense.

No worries. The Mountaineers limited South Alabama to 4 yards on its next three plays, with Akeem Davis-Gaither's pressure causing a third-down incompletion, and the Jaguars' punter quickly returned to the field.

App State put on a defensive clinic Saturday, holding South Alabama to 139 yards in a 30-3 road victory. The second-lowest yardage total against the Mountaineers in a Sun Belt game contributed to 10 three-and-outs forced by their defense, but even that high number is a bit misleading considering the sequence with the special teams infraction essentially involved consecutive three-and-outs within one drive.

Ten times in the first 11 chances and 12 times overall App State needed three plays or less to force a punting situation or turnover once South Alabama's offense took the field. In the entire game, South Alabama had three possessions in which it picked up a first down before giving up the ball: its last series of the first half, a late-third quarter drive that ended with Demetrius Taylor's blocked field goal and a fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a field goal.

"We were just flying to the ball and getting hats to the ball," said Taylor, who also broke up one pass and had one of his three tackles account for a 4-yard loss. "They had a running back who's a hard runner, so just getting to the ball and bringing him down, it was killing momentum because their plays were made to work."

Aside from a 30-yard gain in the third quarter, South Alabama's five other completed passes netted a total of 22 yards, with a long completion of 7. Standout receiver Kawaan Baker managed one catch for 6 yards.

On the ground, App State didn't allow a rush of more than 14 yards to Tra Minter or any other member of the Jaguars' offense.

"They just kept going out there and stuffing them and did a nice job," App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz said.

The Mountaineers continued a strong defensive push under coordinator Ted Roof, as they've outscored their opponents 99-17 in the last three Sun Belt games: a 17-7 win at Louisiana, a 52-7 win against ULM and the 30-3 victory in Mobile. That's the lowest point total allowed over three straight conference games for App State since 1998.

For perspective, in the last three wins, App State has allowed:

— 123, 111 and 87 rushing yards
— 131, 102 and 52 passing yards
— 254, 213 and 139 total yards
— 4 of 13, 2 of 13 and 1 of 15 conversion rates on third down

After the first drive of the ULM game to the end of the South Alabama game, App State needed three plays or less to force a punting situation or turnover once the opposing offense took the field in 22 of 28 cases.

"At the beginning of the year, we were inconsistent, and we've getting back to the App State defensive way, coming together, playing as one, buying in to the process of playing fast, playing physical and playing hard and doing your job," senior linebacker Jordan Fehr said. "I love going out there and flying around with the boys. We just have to continue to get better each and every week."

The next test arrives Thursday with a Halloween night home game against Georgia Southern and its option-based offense.