BOONE, N.C. -- Thomas Hennigan caught a 51-yard touchdown pass, Daetrich Harrington added two fourth-quarter scoring runs and Appalachian State beat Charlotte 35-20 in both teams' season opener on a rainy Saturday.
The teams exchanged big plays in the final two minutes of the third quarter. Hennigan scored down the right side after a defender slipped on the wet field. Aaron McAllister returned the ensuing kickoff a school-record 97 yards, breaking a tackle on the left sideline to get Charlotte within a point, 21-20.
Harrington went up the middle for a 4-yard score to extend the Mountaineers' lead to 28-20 early in the fourth quarter. After a Charlotte fumble recovery, the Mountaineers held the 49ers to no yards at the Appalachian State 20 and Harrington added a 15-yard score with 1:15 remaining.
Herrington had 120 yards receiving. Marcus Williams Jr. ran for 117 yards and a score and Camerun Peoples added 102 yards and another touchdown. The Mountaineers rushed for 308 yards. Zac Thomas aded 204 yards passing with a TD and an interception.
Tyler Murray forced a fumble, recovered another and made an interception for the 49ers.
Appalachian State has won four straight Sun Belt Conference titles and finished 19th in last season's Associated Press Top 25 poll after a 13-1 season.
Due to state COVID-19 restrictions, the school allowed only 50 fans to attend the game, all parents of Mountaineers seniors, and tailgating was not permitted.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
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