Charleston Southern surprises App State
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Charleston Southern went on a 16-play, 60-yard drive that ate up 8:50 of the fourth quarter clock. The drive ended when Bucs backup quarterback Daniel Croghan, throwing just his second pass of the game, found Kevin Glears in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
It was enough to give the Buccaneers a 27-24 victory over App State in front of 29,145 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Appalachian State (1-3) lost at home for the third straight time since dating back to the 2012 playoffs.
It's also the first time the Mountaineers have lost two straight home games in one season since 1996 when the fell to Furman and Marshall. Appalachian State also saw its 16-game winning streak against Big South Conference teams come to an end Saturday.
"It's obviously a disappointing loss for us," Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said. "Any time you lose a football game, it is disappointing for us. Losing is unacceptable for us. We've been dealt a lot of adversity this year, but I'm not going to sit here and give lots of excuses. Charleston Southern did an excellent job. They had an excellent game plan coming in with what they did."
Appalachian State's defense struggled with stopping the Bucs' running attack for most of the final three quarters Saturday. Charleston Southern (5-0) finished with 298 yards rushing and 428 yards overall. Charleston Southern fullback Christian Reyes led all runners with 167 yards on 34 carries and a touchdown. Starting quarterback Malcolm Dixon added 95 yards on 12 carries.
Charleston Southern also held the ball for 42:04 compared to 17:56 for App State.
"Honestly, I felt like we could really control the ball on offense and make a few adjustments on defense and really control the game," Charleston Southern coach Jamey Chadwell said. "I think the second half they only scored one touchdown and we had numerous chances. We thought that if we could protect the ball and play good defense that we could win this game in the fourth quarter."
Marcus Cox led the Mountaineers in rushing with 89 yards on 17 carries and touchdown runs of 14 yards in the first quarter and two yards in the second quarter.
Cox also scored on a 65-yard touchdown completion from Bryant in the third quarter, giving the freshman all three touchdowns for the Mountaineers.
"They controlled the clock," Satterfield said. "That's how they've been able to win football games. One thing they have been able to do is take care of the football and then getting turnovers."
Turning the ball over wasn't the problem for the Mountaineers. App State cornerback stopped a Bucs drive with an interception in the end zone in the third quarter, while App State did not turn the ball over at all.
But the Mountaineers' offense turned the ball over in a different way. Appalachian State, which found its running game against Elon the previous week, failed to convert two key fourth downs in the fourth quarter. The first one was at the Charleston Southern 40-yard line when Cox was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-two.
The second was on a fourth-and-one when Kameron Bryant's pass to Tony Washington was broken up Charleston Southern defensive back Elijah Lee.
"They just made a good play," Bryant said. "They played well the whole game. It was a good call and it was a good (throw). They just outplayed us on that play."
The App State defense struggled to slow down Reyes, who never had a gain longer than 17 yards, but was a constant problem for the Mountaineers. Charleston Southern converted 7-of-9 third downs in the first half and 10-of-18 in the game.
The Bucs also converted two fourth downs on their final scoring drive, including one at the 6-yard line. App State converted 3-of-8 third downs and none of their two fourth down chances.
"We couldn't stop the run," App State linebacker Adam Scott said. "We had some mental errors. It's nothing that we haven't seen in the past. It was just mental errors."