Redbirds though they had chance at block
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
It’s one of the most unlikely ways to lose a football game. Yet Appalachian State lost 38-37 in overtime to Illinois State because of a blocked extra point.
The two teams were tied 31-31 after regulation. Illinois State went first and scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matt Brown to James O’Shaughnessy. Appalachian State answered with a 4-yard Jamal Jackson pass to Andrew Peacock.
But when Sam Martin tried to kick the extra point, Illinois State’s Shelby Harris pushed his way through the middle of the Appalachian State line and blocked the kick.
Martin was unsure of what happened in front of him since he was focused on kicking the ball.
“It’s hard to say until I can watch it on film,” Martin said. “I thought I hit it well. After that, I have no idea.”
Harris said fellow defensive lineman, Colton Underwood, helped him get the extra push to get to the kick. Underwood, who has 9.5 sacks this season, is a Buck Buchanan Award candidate.
“We felt we had opportunities to block it all game,” Harris said. “We were just falling all over ourselves. Me and Colton had a real good push and I just came off of him and made a play.”
“I thought it was a good play on everybody’s part,” Harris added.
Illinois State coach Brock Spack had another reason for the block.
“He has really long arms,” Spack said of Harris.
“The pressure came between the center and the right guard,” Moore said.
Both said the snap and the hold were fine. Spack felt the snap was fine and the kick wasn’t necessarily low.
“I don’t think there were any operation issues,” Spack said. “I thought the snap was good and the hold was good. I think there was a lot of penetration.”
Spack said the Redbirds have been close to blocking some kicks during the season. He felt the possibility was there Saturday, especially if they could get a good push up the middle.
Illinois State blocked four kicks this season. Dontae McCoy blocked three kicks, while Underwood blocked another.
Martin had one punt blocked by The Citadel, but none of the ASU kickers had any field goals or extra points blocked until Saturday.
“We’ve come close a couple of times the last couple of weeks,” Spack said. “We were able to get one. Shelby’s blocked a few kicks in his career because the length of his arms and because he’s a really good athlete. That was where we put the emphasis on this block. We felt we were close a couple of times. We just got a little more penetration, just one more step.”