He isn’t the featured runner in the offense but Scott Satterfield, who once was a pretty good Appalachian State running quarterback himself, figured the third annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl might be decided by Taylor Lamb’s feet.
“We thought coming into the game that we would have the opportunity to run the quarterback,” Satterfield said. “In that (Mid-American Conference) league, there are not many offenses that run the quarterback, which we do. And Taylor is a very, very effective runner in our run game. But I didn’t know he would have this much success.”
Lamb registered only the second 100-yard game of his career, gaining 126 yards on nine carries in a 31-28 win over Toledo at Cramton Bowl on Saturday night.
The junior from Calhoun, Ga., made Satterfield proud with his gritty runs that answered the challenge virtually every time the Mountaineers faced a third-and-long situation.
His first run was blown up by the Toledo defense and went for no gain, but it was the only time the Rockets contained him. His next run was a three-yard scramble on a third-and-three play. Midway through the second quarter, he kept on the zone-read option and went 28 yards to set up a Marcus Cox scoring run two plays later.
On the next Appalachian State scoring drive, he was there again, running 28 yards at right end, then running untouched at left end for the final 13 yards and a 21-14 lead. His next keep covered 31 yards but ended with a fake field goal and no points.
He had one more keeper that came up just short of a first down, but the 10-yard run helped Michael Rubino’s 39-yard field goal more manageable.
“He’s one tough cookie,” Satterfield said. “He got hit hard tonight several times. I loved when he broke off that big run and he jumped right up and got our crowd going. That kind of stuff gets your team going. I’m going to tell you what: You don’t see our quarterbacks – in the history of our school – slide. We don’t slide. But that’s the toughness we have. Our kids feed off that. That’s what leaders do. That’s why he’s a winner.”
When Lamb was asked about the play, he had a simple answer.
“I don’t like sliding,” Lamb said. “You can get more yards when you’re going forward. Sliding is kind of going backwards.”
He wasn’t going backwards on Saturday. He won the Bart Starr MVP Award, even after heralded tailback Marcus Cox broke off a late run to finish with a game-high 143 yards. Up until that point, Lamb was the leading rusher but he didn’t second-guess his decision to hand the ball off to Cox.
“I just wanted yards, offensive yards, I wanted first downs,” Lamb said. “It’s easy to hand it off to Marcus Cox and Jalin Moore. That makes my job easy.”
On Saturday, it was Lamb who turned in the biggest performance, accounting for 245 total yards after passing for 119 yards.
“I feel like every game, Taylor can have games like that,” Cox said. “Teams key on me and Jalin so when they stop us they forget about Taylor. And as you can see tonight, Taylor can make plays with his legs.”