Linebacker makes no excuses for Saturday
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Appalachian State Brandon McGowan wasn't making any excuses following the Mountaineers' 27-10 loss to Furman Saturday.
The Appalachian State linebacker knows that the Mountaineers' offense committed five turnovers in the loss. He knows that one of those turnovers was a 98-yard interception return that went for a touchdown after the Mountaineers had reached the Furman 1-yard line.
He also knows that Furman scored 24 of its 27 points off App State turnovers. One field goal, Ray Early's 50-yard effort on the Paladins' first drive, was the exception.
Just don't offer him any sympathy for being on a defense that faced an Furman offense that did not have to drive more than 50 yards more than once all afternoon for a score.
He's no having it.
“We want to be the ones that put that burden on our shoulders,” McGowan said. “We want to be the ones in that position to make those big plays and we have to make them.”
McGowan, who finished the game with nine tackles including 1.5 of them for a loss, had an opportunity to make one of those plays in the first quarter when he dropped a Reese Hannon pass. It turned out that the drop did not cost the Mountaineers since Early missed a 46-yard field goal two plays later.
But it's the type of play that Appalachian State did not make Saturday. Furman lost one fumble, but Hannon was not intercepted.
“It's rough,” McGowan said. “We have to get rid of the mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. We need to capitalize on defense more often. I had a dropped interception that could have been a little bit of a momentum change.”
Furman led 13-3 at halftime, but the Paladins scored two key touchdowns in the third quarter to bury the Mountaineers 27-3. Ernie Cain capped Furman's longest drive, 56 yards in seven plays, with a 1-yard run.
Hannon found Ryan Culbreth for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play following an Appalachian State fumble. Appalachian State scored on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Kameron Bryant to Simms McElfresh, but it was way too late for the Mountaineers to rebuond.
Appalachian State's defense started five freshmen against the Paladins Saturday. Another three freshmen are on the team's two-deep chart.
That does not include the five sophomores, two of them who are starters, who are on the depth chart. McGowan blamed mental mistakes for the Paladins' touchdowns.
“It was mental mistakes,” he said. “Somebody didn't have the right coverage and let his man go by him.”