App State pulls away from Wofford 33-21
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State not only took a page out of Wofford's playbook, but photocopied the entire game plan. The Mountaineers cranked out six scoring drives of at least 72 yards or longer in its 33-14 victory over the Terriers at Gibbs Stadium.
Appalachian State (3-8, 3-4) snapped a two game losing streak for the season and against Wofford (5-5, 4-3). The Mountaineers dominated the second half with a ball-control passing game mixed with a running game that produced three short Marcus Cox touchdowns.
"I told the guys at halftime that you have to make a decision here," Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said. "When you come out of here in the third quarter, you can go win this football game, or we can just go ride off into the sunset with two wins."
The Mountaineers chose option "A". A consistent offense mixed with a stingy defense, particularly in the second half, was how they did it.
None of Cox's touchdowns were over five yards, but the freshman finished with 119 yards rushing on 26 carries. It put Cox over the 1,000-yard barrier with 1,035 yards. He became the third freshman runner - Armanti Edwards and Chip Hooks were the others - to gain over 1,000 yards in a season.
Cox capped three scoring drives with touchdowns of one, two and three yards. His final touchdown, which went for two yards, capped an 85-yard, 15-play drive, that gave the Mountaineers a 33-14 lead with 5:43 left in the game. App State converted two fourth downs and a third down to keep the game-clinching drive alive.
The Mountaineers converted all three fourth-down attempts and 10-of-17 third downs in the game.
"Offensively, our guys decided to go out there and make those plays," Satterfield said. "We picked up three fourth downs today that they were huge that led to touchdowns."
App State quarterback Kameron Bryant took care of the passing part of the ball-control offense. Bryant completed 33-of-43 passes for 305 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. The Mountaineers rolled up 445 yards in total offense, picked up 26 first downs and held the ball for 37:00.
"It was a cumulation of what we've done all year," Bryant said. "We've been learning just how big a deal the third quarter is. We started off with a good first drive and then kind of settled down a little bit. Coach came into the locker room and said, 'Are you going to go out and win, or are you going to be happy with two wins this season?'"
Appalachian State's defense made sure Wofford's offense would stay in check by forcing three punts and a critical fumble by quarterback Evan Jacks on its first four second half possessions. Jacks was hit by Keenan Gilchrist while he was pitching the ball on an option play at the App State 17-yard line.
Linebacker Karl Anderson recovered the fumble. Three plays later, Cox bolted over the goal line from the 3-yard line for a touchdown and a 26-14 App State lead.
"They told me don't worry about anything else, just go to the quarterback," Gilchrist said. "As soon as I saw him, I went right to him."
Wofford was typical Wofford in a first half that had the Terriers gain 203 yards rushing and convert 9-of-10 third downs. Wofford averaged 6.2 yards per rush.
Wofford reeled off two long scoring drives, one that was capped by a Donovan Johnson 6-yard run, and the second that went 99 yards on 13 plays that was capped by a Johnny Martin 2-yard TD run. Johnson left the game with a high-ankle sprain and did not return.
Appalachian State was nearly equally effective passing the ball. Bryant drove the Mountaineers on their opening drive 75 yards on nine plays that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tony Washington.
App State added a 20-yard Drew Stewart field goal on a drive that went 72 yards before ending on the Terriers' 3-yard line.
"Offensively, we really only had three drives," Satterfield said. "The second one, we had a lot of penalties and that's what's been shooting us in the foot all season."
Andrew Peacock set the Appalachian State career record for receptions with 206. He set the new mark with a 7-yard catch midway through the third quarter.
Peacock's first catch in the first quarter put him over the 2,000 career yards barrier. He went into the game with 199 receptions for 1,999 yards.