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Appalachian State, Wofford Advance in FCS Playoffs
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 11/25/2007
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Armanti Edwards scored a touchdown with 1:10 left to lift the Mountaineers to a 28-27 win over James Madison
Courtesy: Southern Conference
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FCS First Round Playoff Recaps

November 24, 2007

 

WOFFORD 23, MONTANA 22

HEAR THE CALLS:

Dane Romero TD Run in 2nd Quarter (10-3 Wofford)

Josh Collier Pass complete to Andy Strickland (12:50 drive)

Josh Collier Touchdown pass to Andy Strickland (17-16 Wofford)

Michael Hobbs Six-Yard Touchdown Run (23-22 Wofford)

Montana's Mar Mariani 11 yard Reception to set up field goal, late 4th quarter

Montana's Dan Carpenter Missed field goal as time expires

 

MISSOULA, MONTANA Wofford College traveled west and came back home with a 23-22 win over previously undefeated Montana. Wofford will host a quarterfinal game next Saturday at Gibbs Stadium.

 

Wofford is now 9-3 on the season, while the Big Sky Conference Champion Grizzlies end the season at 11-1. Wofford was led by Kevious Johnson with 145 yards rushing on 20 carries. Dane Romero, Andy Strickland and Michael Hobbs had touchdowns, while Patrick Mugan had a field goal. Montana was led by Lex Hilliard with 123 yards on 29 carries.

 

“I am proud of our players, proud of the staff and we hung together,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “The caliber of players and coaches here is something that we really admire. They are fundamentally sound and have no weakness. It was an awesome crowd that was tough and classy. We knew that to win, we were going to need to do it together. The kids kept playing and executing and the perimeter blocking was exceptional. The offense played well, and the defense came up big with limiting them to field goals.”

 

Montana won the opening coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. On the first play from scrimmage for the Terriers, Kevious Johnson fumbled which was recovered by the Grizzlies. The Wofford defense started strong and forced a three-and-out by the Montana offense. On the next drive by the Terriers, the offense gained one first down before Josh Collier was intercepted by Reggie Bradshaw.

 

The Terriers defense continued to stop the Grizzlies, as Jared McCollough came up with a sack and Montana was forced to punt again. The Terriers offense settled down and drove 80 yards in 16 plays and scored on a 31-yard field goal by Patrick Mugan. Wofford took a 3-0 lead with 1:27 left in the first quarter.

 

Early in the second quarter, the Grizzlies were able to tie the game with a 37-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter at 14:45. Back on offense, Wofford was able to put together a nine play drive that was capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Dane Romero at 10:07.

 

The Grizzlies scored on their next drive when Dan Carpenter made a 25-yard field goal at 5:51 in the second quarter. Wofford was forced three-and-out on their next possession and punted. Following the punt, Montana scored on a nine yard pass from Cole Bergquist to Dan Beaudin with 24 seconds left in the half for a 13-10 lead.

 

Montana had the ball to start the second half. After gaining one first down, the Wofford defense held and on a fake punt prevented the first down. Following a first down gained by Josh Collier, the Terriers turned the ball over for the third time in the game when Collier was intercepted by Quinton Jackson.

 

After the turnover, the Terrier defense once again stepped up to the challenge and after a sack by Seth Goldwire forced a three-and-out. Wofford was able to gain three first downs, but were stopped on a fourth-and-six, turning the ball over on downs.

 

The Grizzlies drove to the Terriers one-yard line, but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter for a 16-10 lead at 12:59 in the fourth quarter. After the score, Wofford was able to complete the first pass of the day, a 34-yard completion to Andy Strickland at 12:43 in the fourth quarter. The drive continued with a fourth-and-five from the six yard line when Josh Collier found Andy Strickland in the left corner of the endzone for the touchdown. The Terriers took a 17-16 lead with 7:47 left in the game.

 

The lead was short-lived as Lex Hilliard scored from one-yard out with six minutes to go in the game. The two-point conversion attempt was incomplete, giving Montana a 22-17 lead. Wofford responded with a six yard touchdown run up the middle by Michael Hobbs with only 32 seconds left in the game. The two-point attempt was ruled incomplete, giving the Terriers a 23-22 lead. The Grizzlies still had time, moving the ball to the 30-yard line with four seconds left. The 47-yard attempt by Dan Carpenter was wide left as time expired, giving Wofford the win.

 

The Terriers advance in the FCS Playoffs and will be at home next weekend against the winner of the Richmond and Eastern Kentucky. More information on the game will be released on Sunday.

  

APPALACHIAN 28, JAMES MADISON 27

HEAR THE CALLS:

Pierre Banks forced fumble, Jacque Roman 77 yard return in 2nd quarter

JMU Scores on Fake Field Goal in the 3rd Quarter (20-19 JMU)

ASU Defense Stops JMU on a 4th and 2 in the 4th Quarter

ASU's Armanti Edwards rushing touchdown in 4th quarter (28-27 ASU)

ASU's Gary Tharrington forced fumble, recovered by Pierre Banks with 22 second left in 4th quarter

BOONE, N.C. -Armanti Edwards (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood) scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:10 remaining and Gary Tharrington (Spring Hope, N.C./Southern Nash) forced a fumble at the ASU nine yard line with just 22 seconds left to play to give fifth-ranked Appalachian State University a heart-stopping 28-27 win over No. 12 James Madison in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Division I Football Championship on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

 

With its ninth-straight postseason victory, Appalachian (10-2) advances to next Saturday's national quarterfinals where it will face the winner of Saturday evening's first-round matchup between second-seeded McNeese State and Eastern Washington. Should McNeese win, it will host ASU in Lake Charles, La. Should EWU upset MSU, Appalachian will host next week's second-round matchup at The Rock.

 

The Mountaineers used big plays throughout the game to overcome disadvantages in nearly every statistical category, most notably time of possession, where James Madison (8-4) held a whopping 40:27-19:33 edge. JMU also boasted huge advantages in total plays (84-57), first downs (25-15), rushing yardage (312-204) and total yardage (436-330).

 

Despite the overwhelming numbers in the Dukes' favor, it was the Apps that turned in the game-changing plays throughout to escape with the thrilling victory.

 

The first came in the second quarter, with JMU already in possession of a 7-0 lead and inside the ASU 25 thanks to a 17-play, 68-yard that took 9:04 off the clock. On third-and-six from the 23 yard line, Appalachian linebacker Pierre Banks (Durham, N.C./Southern Durham) forced a fumble that was scooped up by fellow 'backer Jacque Roman (Kingland, Ga./Camden County),

who returned 77 yard to the ASU two yard line. Three plays later, Edwards ran it in from four yards out to knot the game at 7-7.

 

The Dukes scored on the ensuing possession to regain a 14-7 lead, but the Mountaineers exploded for three-straight touchdowns, the first of which was set up by defensive end Tony Robertson's (Laurinburg, N.C./Scotland County) first-career interception on a pass deflected by cornerback Justin Woazeah (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds). However, the Apps failed to convert on two of the three PATs (one that was blocked and one that was attempted from 35 yards out due to an ASU personal foul call) and held just a five-point halftime advantage at 19-14.

 

James Madison seemingly took control of the game after the break, as it put together scoring drives of 11 and 16 plays and grabbed a 27-19 lead on Jamal Sullivan's two-yard touchdown dive midway through the fourth quarter.

 

Things got even bleaker for the Mountaineers on the first play of the next drive when Walter Payton Award candidate Kevin Richardson (Elizabethtown, N.C./East Bladen) went down with an ankle injury. However, the Apps managed to move the ball 52 yards in nine plays before settling for a 44-yard Julian Rauch (Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook) field goal that cut the deficit to five with 4:51 to go in the ballgame.

 

With Appalachian needing its most critical stop of the season, James Madison picked up nine yards on the first two plays of its ensuing possession. However, Buck Buchanan Award candidate Corey Lynch stopped Sullivan for no gain on third down and on fourth-and-one, defensive tackle Anthony Williams (Concord, N.C./Northwest Cabarrus) stood up JMU quarterback Rodney Landers to give ASU possession on the James Madison 32 yard line with 2:35 left to play.

 

Needing a touchdown, Edwards and Co. faced fourth-and-three from the JMU 25 with less than two minutes remaining. The sophomore signal-caller delivered perhaps the biggest play of his young career, a 20-yard completion to Richardson's backup, Devon Moore (Mebane, N.C./Cedar Ridge), who made a diving catch that gave the Apps first-and-goal from the five yard line. On the next play, Edwards capped the Mountaineer comeback with his third touchdown run of the afternoon. The two-point-conversion attempt failed, leaving the Mountaineers with a tenuous 28- 27 lead with 1:10 remaining on the clock.

 

In the back-and-forth affair, the Dukes took advantage of their final opportunity by driving 62 yards in just four plays into seemingly chip-shot field-goal range at the ASU nine yard line. With one timeout remaining, JMU sent Sullivan off tackle to apparently try to move the ball into better position for place-kicker Dave Stannard. However, Tharrington broke through the line and swiped at Sullivan, knocking him over and the ball to the turf. A scrum ensued, culminating with Banks emerging with the ball, setting off a wild celebration on the Appalachian sideline and in the loud, raucous crowd of 14,040 at The Rock. Edwards ended the saga by taking a knee on the final play.

 

In all, Edwards accounted for 258 (132 rushing and 126 passing) of Appalachian's 330 yards of offense and three of their four touchdowns.

 

Defensively, Roman led four Mountaineers in double-figures with a career-high 19 tackles to go along with the 77-yard fumble return. The 19 stops are tied for the second-most in ASU postseason history, behind only Sam Smalls' 21 in a first-round loss to Maine in 2002.

 

Landers paced the Dukes with 253 yards of offense (129 rushing, 124 passing).

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