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Backup Joey Aguilar throws 4 TD passes, App State pulls away from Gardner-Webb 45-24

BOONE, N.C. (AP) — Joey Aguilar came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and Appalachian State pulled away from Gardner-Webb for a 45-24 season-opening win on Saturday.

Aguilar, a California junior college transfer, threw a 32-yard touchdown to Kaedin Robinson on his first pass, which put the Mountaineers up 14-10 late in the first half. His second touchdown was a 26-yard connection with Dashaun Davis for a 21-17 lead.

Jayden Brown’s third touchdown, a 41-yard pass from Matthew Caldwell, put Gardner-Webb on top 24-21 but after Aguilar connected with Dalton Stroman for 43 yards and a 28-24 lead, the defense took over.

From there the Bulldogs had a three-and-out and three-straight turnovers. Those turned into a 43-yard field goal, a 7-yard touchdown rushing for Nate Noel and Aguilar's 7-yard pass to Christian Horn.

Aguilar finished 11 of 13 for 174 yards in what appeared to be a planned relief appearance. Starter Ryan Burger, a redshirt freshman, was 7 of 11 for 70 yards, with his first collegiate touchdown, a 12-yard pass to Eli Wilson, opened the scoring. Noel had 24 carries for 117 yards.

Brown also had rushing touchdowns of 8 and 16 yards for the Bulldogs.

Appalachian State plays at No. 21 North Carolina next Saturday.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll