Zac Thomas threw four touchdown passes, three to fellow junior Corey Sutton, and No. 25 Appalachian State scored 49 consecutive points en route to a 56-27 rout of Sun Belt Conference rival Georgia State on Saturday night in Atlanta.
The victory allowed the Mountaineers (9-1, 5-1) to maintain a one-game East Division lead ahead of Georgia Southern, a 51-29 winner against University of Louisiana Monroe earlier Saturday.
Thomas completed 19 of 31 attempts for 256 yards with one interception in little more than three quarters before sitting. Thomas ran for one score and also threw a TD pass to Darrynton Evans, who added a 29-yard rushing TD run midway in the third quarter that made the score 42-21 and virtually put away the game.
Sutton caught eight passes for 173 yards, and teammate Shaun Jolly had two interceptions, including one returned 30 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Georgia State (6-4, 3-3) dropped its second straight game and fell two games behind Appalachian State in the East Division.
Panthers senior Dan Ellington, playing with a torn ACL suffered last week against Louisiana-Monroe, was 12 of 27 for 88 yards, one TD and two INTs in three quarters. True freshman Cornelious Brown IV (3 of 5, 50 yards) played the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers scored the final 28 points of the first half to go ahead 35-21.
Appalachian State took a 28-21 lead 2:18 before halftime when Jolly produced his pick-six.
Little more than a minute later, Jolly made his second interception to set up Thomas' 1-yard TD pass to Evans. That gave the Mountaineers a 35-21 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the first half.
Thomas ran 3 yards for a touchdown on fourth-and-1 to tie the score 21-21 with 6:20 to go in the first half.
Appalachian State pulled within 21-14 on Sutton's second scoring reception, a 20-yard play with nine seconds left in the first quarter.
Chris Bacon's 34-yard pick-six gave the Panthers a 21-7 lead with 1:38 to go in the first quarter. The play occurred 43 seconds after Destin Coates put Georgia State ahead 14-7 with a 67-yard TD run up the middle.
Thomas found Sutton in the end zone for a 12-yard scoring pass at 5:13 of the first quarter to tie the score 7-7. The eight-play, 89-yard drive answered the Panthers' scoring drive.
Georgia State opened the scoring when Ellington's swing pass to Devin Gentry became a 4-yard TD with 8:20 to go in the first quarter. It ended a nine-play, 84-yard drive.
--Field Level Media