CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Country music star and App State alum Luke Combs will perform Saturday at The Rock, with fans filling Kidd Brewer Stadium for his highly anticipated concert.  

Consider his song-leading cameo in a triumphant App State locker room at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday night a memorable warmup.
 
"I'm pretty parched right now," App State head coach Shawn Clark said to open his postgame press conference. "Had a chance to sing with Luke Combs in the locker room, so I enjoyed that."
 
Playing at the home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers, the Mountaineers had mayo-covered mojo on their side as they went on a roll to claim a big lead and post a 33-19 victory against East Carolina of the American Athletic Conference. A crowd of 36,752 was on hand as App State built a 33-9 lead in the Duke's Mayo Classic.
 
Chase Brice was nearly flawless through three quarters, throwing for 259 yards with touchdowns to Thomas Hennigan (114 receiving yards) and Corey Sutton, who each increased their career totals to 18 TD catches apiece. A new-look offensive line paved the way for two App State backs to surpass 100 rushing yards, as Nate Noel had 126 on 15 carries and Camerun Peoples scored twice on a 14-carry, 100-yard night.
 
Defensively, Ryan Huff came up with a key interception and the Mountaineers recorded four sacks, including 1.5 from Brendan HarringtonNick Hampton and Tim Frizzell had back-to-back sacks leading up to Huff's pick, Tommy Dawkins Jr. teamed with Harrington on one sack and D'Marco Jackson was App State's leading tackler with eight stops.
 
"I'm very proud of our team tonight," Clark said. "We had a goal of being 1-0, and we've had a lot of things going on throughout the year, and we made our mind up early that we were going to go out early and play the App State brand of football and not let anybody dictate to us how we're going to run our offense, defense or special teams. We played complementary football."

App State (1-0) took the lead for good, moving ahead 7-6, as Brice connected on a deep throw to Hennigan for a 34-yard touchdown with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter. In the final minute of the period, the Mountaineers extended their lead thanks to a 21-yard touchdown run from Peoples, and Chandler Staton added a pair of field goals (21 yards, 43 yards) in the second quarter to produce a 20-6 halftime lead.
 
The end of the half wasn't without drama, though, as back-to-back sacks from Hampton and Frizzell forced a Hail Mary attempt. With three App State receivers back deep, Hennigan tipped the ball up in the middle of a crowd that had gathered near the goalline. Huff wrapped two hands around the ball before there was a pileup, and the officials ruled the play a touchdown after an ECU receiver emerged with the ball, but a review overturned the on-field call and awarded Huff with an interception.
 
ECU opened the third quarter with a 38-yard field goal, but App State responded immediately, starting with Brice's 68-yard completion to Hennigan on first down. On the next snap, Brice threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Sutton, who missed all of last season while rehabbing a 2019 injury. He scored for the first time since Nov. 23, 2019.

App State had an opportunity to stretch the lead to an even bigger margin, as Anderson Castle recovered a fumbled kickoff following big hits from Logan Doublin and Tyler Bird. The Mountaineers' only turnover of the night spoiled that opportunity, and ECU managed to add a field goal and a touchdown in the closing minutes.

It's unclear if the attendance figure for Combs' concert will exceed the crowd size from Thursday night, but the energy in Bank of America Stadium was a welcomed change after App State had less than 2,200 fans for every home game in 2020.

"It was just awesome," Jackson said. "You know how it was in the COVID year, not having any fans in the stands, so you were just taking it all in, realizing, 'Wow, we've got a lot of people behind us this year.' I know they were there last year, but just seeing the support back in the stands, it was a different type of energy. We were just soaking it all in and taking it all in. It was just a memory I'll cherish for the rest of my life."

 

Team Statistics

Team Statistics
Game Stats ECU APP
Total Yards 396 485
Pass Yards 300 259
Rushing Yards 96 226
Penalty Yards 7-90 7-65
1st Downs 20 25
3rd Downs 5-16 4-11
4th Downs 2-3 0-0
TOP 27:57 32:03
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
ECU
09:26 - ECU - Mitchell, Ktn 63 yd pass from Ahlers, Holton (Daffer, Owen kick failed) 5 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:02
6 0
APP
06:24 - APP - Thomas Hennigan 34 yd pass from Chase Brice (Chandler Staton kick) 7 plays, 66 yards, TOP 2:56
6 7
APP
00:50 - APP - Camerun Peoples 21 yd run (Chandler Staton kick), 9 plays, 78 yards, TOP 4:27
6 14
2ND QUARTER
APP
09:13 - APP - Chandler Staton 21 yd field goal 11 plays, 80 yards, TOP 4:11
6 17
APP
02:29 - APP - Chandler Staton 43 yd field goal 11 plays, 51 yards, TOP 5:06
6 20
3RD QUARTER
ECU
08:53 - ECU - Daffer, Owen 38 yd field goal 10 plays, 66 yards, TOP 4:03
9 20
APP
08:19 - APP - Corey Sutton 18 yd pass from Chase Brice (Chandler Staton kick) 2 plays, 86 yards, TOP 0:26
9 27
4TH QUARTER
APP
12:19 - APP - Camerun Peoples 12 yd run (Clayton Howell rush failed), 3 plays, 60 yards, TOP 1:37
9 33
ECU
06:25 - ECU - Daffer, Owen 39 yd field goal 11 plays, 59 yards, TOP 4:50
12 33
ECU
02:10 - ECU - Jones, Ryan 38 yd pass from Ahlers, Holton (Daffer, Owen kick) 6 plays, 76 yards, TOP 1:54