The right Price
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State found that out in its 28-25 victory over Samford at Seibert Stadium. Quarterback Jamal Jackson drove the Mountaineers 80 yards in seven plays for the game-winning touchdown, a 22-yard touchdown pass to freshman Sean Price, who just stayed inbounds as he caught the pass in the end zone with 22.5 seconds left in the game.
“We ran four (vertical routes),” Price said. “How things seemed to pan out, I was open. Jamal put the ball on me and I was able to make the catch. I had never been in that situation, but it was a great situation and I enjoyed it.”
It was an unlikely finish to a game that seemed lost. The Mountaineers, trailing 25-21, chose to go for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal after driving to the Samford 15-yard line with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Appalachian State (5-2, 3-1 SoCon) got the ball back after holding Samford (5-2, 3-2) to no gain on a third-and-one with less than two minutes left. Samford chose to punt the ball to the Mountaineers, who took over at the 20-yard line after the punt went into the end zone.
Jackson took it from there. He found Price for a 20-yard gain on a second-and-10, and then found Andrew Peacock for a 32-yard gain that gave the Mountaineers a first down at the Bulldogs’ 25-yard line.
All of those plays were made with Appalachian State being out of timeouts.
“We knew we had our backs against the wall, but we practice these situations all the time so that we know how to execute when the time comes,” Jackson said. “Our wide receivers and linemen stepped up on that drive and I was able to make a couple of plays with my feet to keep the drive going and throw the ball away when there was nothing there.”
Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said playing a difficult nonconference schedule, and playing in tough games in the past, prepared the Mountaineers for their win Saturday.
“We’ve been in situations like this,” Moore said. “We’ve been in tough ballgames. We’ve not had an easy schedule at all. It helps prepare us for this.”
Samford made one final try to get into field goal position, but ASU linebacker Brandon Grier scooped up a fumbled lateral and returned it to the Samford 3-yard line as time expired.
Samford got a touchdown from Fabian Truss, which was enough to push Samford past Appalachian State 25-21.
The Mountaineers made a final push at the Samford goal line with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter after moving the ball to the Bulldogs’ 15-yard line, but Jackson was flushed out of the pocket trying to pass and his attempt fell incomplete.
Samford could not to run out the clock and punted, setting up ASU’s drive.
Jackson did the rest.
Samford looked ready to upset the Mountaineers, who they’ve never beaten since joining the Southern Conference in 2008. The Bulldogs trailed 21-10 when it scored a touchdown, and then picked up a two-point conversion to trail 21-18. Truss’ touchdown, and the Bulldogs’ ensuing extra point, made the Mountaineers need a touchdown to retake the lead.
“Both these teams, Samford and us. They fought back to get that lead,” Moore said. “(Samford coach) Pat (Sullivan) has to be equally as proud for what they did at that point. For us to fight back and do what we did and win it — that’s not slam at them. I think they played hard and I think they played hard. We came up with some plays in that last drive.”
After a rough first quarter, it’s surprising that the Mountaineers would be able to do anything against the Bulldogs’ defense. Appalachian State’s offense got off to a slow start after opening the game with two three-and-outs, while Samford got a field goal on its first possession. The Mountaineers’ defense gave the team a jolt when Joel Ross returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown.
It was Ross’ first college interception.
The Mountaineers fell behind 10-7 after Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin found Tony Filpot for a 1-yard touchdown pass. Appalachian State struck back on its next possession with an 85-yard drive capped by a Rod Chisholm run.
That put the Mountaineers in front 14-10. Appalachian State made it 21-10 when Steven Miller caught a Jamal Jackson pass and raced 46 yards for a touchdown.
The score came on the heels of a Samford penalty that gave the Mountaineers a first down after they were facing a third-and-two.
Appalachian State dodged some trouble early in the first quarter when Riley Hawkins, who leads the Southern Conference in punt returns, brought a Sam Martin punt back 83 yards for a touchdown.
The return was called back because of a block in the back penalty. A personal foul penalty was also called when Martin was double-teamed blocked trying to get to Hawkins.
Appalachian State 28, Samford 25
Appalachian State 7 14 0 7 — 28
Samford 10 0 0 15 — 25
SAM—Yaw FG 25
ASU— Ross 17 interception return (Stewart kick)
SAM—Philpot 1 pass from Summerlin (Yaw kick)
ASU—Chisholm 20 run (Stewart kick)
ASU—Miller 48 pass from Jackson (Stewart kick)
SAM—Pole 18 run Cephus pass from Summerlin)
SAM—Truss 1 run (Yaw kick)
ASU—Price 22 pass from Jackson (Stewart kick)
First downs 21 15
By rushing 8 4
By passing 11 8
By penalty 2 3
Rushes-yards 31-125 38-82
Avg. rush 4.0 2.2
Yards gained 157 140
Yards lost 32 58
Passing yards 288 270
Passes 22-39-1 18-30-1
Avg. att. 7.4 9.0
Avg. comp 13.1 15.0
Sacks by-yards 6-55 4-27
Total plays-yards 70-413 68-352
Punts-avg. 7-48.9 9-46.7
Net avg. 44.0 38.4
Inside 20 2 3
Touchbacks 1 1
Fair catch 2 2
Penalties-yards 9-79 7-69
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Third-down conv. 2-14 4-16
Fourth-down conv. 1-4 1-1
Time of poss. 28:28 31:32
Appalachian State individuals:
Rushing: Miller 17-88, Chisholm 4-26, Jackson 9-28, Washington 1-5.
Passing: Jackson 22-39-1 288.
Receiving: Peacock 7-60, Miller 6-98, Price 5-90, Washington 2-21, Jones 2-19.
Rushing: Truss 18-46, Sutton 1-26, Gates 6-23, Pope 2-23, Robinson 1-4, Neill 1-2, Summerlin 9-(-42).
Passing: Summerlin 18-30-1 270.
Receiving: Truss 8-113, Philpot 3-67, Pole 3-33, Sinclair 1-25, Robinson 1-16, Gates 1-12, Jordan 1-4.