Chattanooga outlasts Mountaineers 35-28
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
The Mocs didn't allow App State to find a way to crush their chances of winning Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Chattanooga put up an impressive defensive stand at the end of its 35-28 victory over the Mountaineers by scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter, and by keeping Appalachian State out of the end zone in a key possession late in the game.
Appalachian State (2-7, 2-4 SoCon) had its chances to beat Chattanooga (7-2, 5-2). The Mountaineers reached the red zone six times, but came away with four scores. Chattanooga also needed some trickery to either continue drives, or reach the end zone.
"Give credit to Chattanooga," App State coach Satterfield said. "Coach (Russ) Huesman and his staff have done a great job of building a program and their kids are starting to learn how to win close games. They're a blue-collar, hard-working type team."
The Mountaineers fell behind 28-21, but came back with an impressive drive set up by a 44-yard kickoff return by Bobo Beathard to the Mocs' 49-yard line.
The drive was capped five plays later by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Kameron Bryant to Tony Washington, who managed to get one foot down in the end zone after reaching high in the air to pull the pass down.
App State, now tied 28-28, forced a three-and-out on the Mocs, but got the ball back at its own 3-yard line following Chattanooga's punt.
Disaster struck six plays later when Bryant, throwing while he was being hit, tossed an interception that Chattanooga's Nakevion Leslie returned 28 yards for a touchdown with 2:52 left in the game.
App State still had time to get the ball in the end zone and send the game into overtime. Starting at their own 14-yard line, the Mountaineers marched to the Chattanooga 9-yard line until they faced a third-and-two.
But two Bryant passes fell incomplete, and Chattanooga ran out the clock after taking over on downs.
Satterfield said running the ball was discussed, but felt confident the Mountaineers could get the first down with the pass.
"In the second half, I thought they did a little better job of stopping and containing the run inside," Satterfield said. "They were loading the (line) backers in the box, so during the timeout we talked about possibly running the ball third down and two and possibly going for it on fourth down if we didn't get it. In their particular coverage, they were playing a man coverage, so we had a good man (coverage) beater on in and it was just a high throw."
App State faced a similar possession in the first half, but failed to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line when a Bryant pass fell incomplete.
Tack on a fake field goal that Huesman turned into a running touchdown from the App State 7-yard line in the first quarter, and the Mountaineers had plenty of adversity to deal with.
"There were several things when you look back at this game that were differences in the game," Satterfield said. "Obviously, the pick-six was huge. It was one of the differences in the football game. The fourth-and-two play we had in the first half and we didn't get any points hurt and then we were down there again fourth-and-two at the end of the game and we didn't get any points, obviously were two huge factors in the game."
The incomplete passes in the red zone will likely overshadow the 26 passes Bryant completed in 36 attempts and the 257 yards the redshirt sophomore threw for.
They will also likely overshadow the 158 yards and touchdown runs of 4, 1 and 1 yards on 29 carries that Marcus Cox gained. Cox had 102 yards and two touchdown runs in a first half that App State led 14-7 by halftime.
App State outgained Chattanooga 424-355, and converted 7-of-15 yards. But as it has with other opponents in other games during the season, the Mountaineers allowed Chattanooga to make big plays after seemingly holding the Mocs at bay.
Arguably, Chattanooga's biggest example of this was early in the fourth quarter when the Mocs faced a fourth-and-three from their own 33-yard line. Chattanooga punter Nick Pollard, who punts out of the running, rugby style caught a high snap at the start of the play.
Two App State defenders ran past Pollard thinking he was going to punt the ball anyway.
Pollard found an opening and ran 16 yards for a first down. App State was also called for a personal foul at the end of the play, which tacked on another 15 yards.
That gave the Mocs a first down at the App State 35.Two plays later, Mocs quarterback Jacob Huesman found Terrell Robinson for a 31-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Mocs a 21-21 tie with 12:49 left in the game.
App State went three-and-out on its next drive, and Chattanooga responded with a 29-yard Huesman pass to Xavier Borishade TD pass on the Mocs' next drive, which put them in front 28-21 with 9:04 left in the game.