App State defense keeps Mountaineers close
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State's offense stumbled often in the Mountaineers' 24-21 loss to North Carolina A&T at Kidd Brewer Stadium Saturday.
The same can't be said about the defense.
Appalachian State's defense gave up just 10 points during the loss. None of them came easily. North Carolina A&T scored on a 2-yard Desmond Lawrence touchdown run, which capped a 47-yard, eight-play drive that ended the first quarter.
The Aggies added a 27-yard field goal from Cody Jones, which capped a 10-play, 47-yard drive. The kick, which put the Aggies in front 24-6, was scored with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter.
It was the only time North Carolina A&T scored in the second half. The Aggies scored seven points via a 91-yard kickoff return by Tony McRae in the first quarter and seven more off a D'Vonte Graham 57-yard interception return just before halftime.
"They played an outstanding football game," Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said of his defense. "They kept us in the game, no doubt about it."
Appalachian State held North Carolina A&T to 244 yards in total offense. Aggies quarterback Kashaun Quick, subbing for the suspended starter Lewis Kindle, completed 12-of-21 passes for 100 yards. His longest completion was 19 yards to Desmond Lawrence, and he was sacked twice.
The Aggies' running game was limited to 144 yards on 44 carries. Dominque Drake led the team in rushing with 84 yards on 25 carries. Overall, the Aggies averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
Linebacker John Law finished with 14 tackles and fellow linebacker Karl Anderson added 11.
It was a big difference from the previous week when Montana rolled up 497 yards in total offense in a 30-6 pasting of the Mountaineers.
"I thought we played pretty well on defense," Anderson said. "We held them to only 12 first downs and 100 yards passing and 144 yards rushing on 44 attempts, so defensively I don't think you can play much better."
Appalachian State's defense played a key role in the Mountaineers' comeback attempt. The Mountaineers failed to convert a fourth down at their own 14-yard line with 3:01 left in the game, but Aggies running back Dominque Drake was stopped on a fourth-and-5 for a 3-yard loss.
App State's offense regrouped and scored on a Marcus Cox 9-yard touchdown reception from Kameron Bryant to pull to 24-21.
Still, Anderson felt the defense could have gotten off the field quicker in some drives, which would have give the App State offense the ball back sooner.
"There were some opportunities we had on third down, particularly third-and-long that we gave up," Anderson said. "They led to a touchdown in the first half and then that field goal late, which ultimately was the difference in the game."