#14 Appalachian State 31, #1 Georgia Southern 28
STATESBORO, Ga. - For the second-straight year, Appalachian State University knocked off top-ranked Georgia Southern, downing the Eagles, 31-28, on Saturday afternoon at jam-packed Paulson Stadium.
While Appalachian State's offense and some timely Georgia Southern miscues kept the Mountaineers in the game for much of the afternoon, it was the performance of the Appalachian defense that proved to be the difference down the stretch.
Appalachian, which trailed 14-3 after one quarter and 28-24 going into the fourth, took a 31-28 lead on Tony Washington's acrobatic 23-yard touchdown catch with 11:25 to go in the ballgame.
From there, the story was the Mountaineer defense. After not forcing Georgia Southern's first punt of the ballgame until just 11 seconds remained in the third quarter, Appalachian turned in three-straight three-and-outs down the stretch.
However, the Mountaineers punted back to GSU with 7:46 to go and the Eagles began to methodically move down the field against the Mountaineers' fatigued defense, which was on the field for 38:32 on the afternoon. Georgia Southern converted a pair of third downs on the drive and moved all the way to the Appalachian 37, where it faced fourth down.
Under heavy pressure from Appalachian defensive end and Georgia native Ronald Blair, GSU quarterback Jerick McKinnon heaved up a desperation pass on fourth-and-16 that was intercepted by Mountaineer safety Troy Sanders with 53 seconds left to seal the Mountaineers' sixth victory in its last eight games against Georgia Southern, including three of the last four played at Paulson Stadium.
Although the game will likely be remembered for the heart-stopping finish, the story of the afternoon was Appalachian's offense, particularly the play of junior quarterback Jamal Jackson and freshman wide receiver Sean Price.
Jackson, who sustained a knee injury in the first quarter of last Saturday's win at Western Carolina, threw for a career-high 383 yards and three touchdowns.
Once again, Jackson's favorite target was Price, who set an Appalachian State freshman record with 231 yards on seven receptions. His dazzling 56-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown was one of the biggest plays of Appalachian's 21-point second quarter while his 67-yard gain on third-and-29 from inside the Mountaineer one yard line in the third quarter flipped field position and set up the Apps' late defensive surge and, ultimately, Washington's go-ahead touchdown early in the final period.
Sanders had 10 tackles, including two for loss, to go along with the game-clinching interception to lead Appalachian defensively. Filling in for regular starter Brandon Grier for the second-straight week, linebacker Karl Anderson also recorded 10 stops, as did fellow linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough.
The Citadel 38, Elon 24
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Elon's second-half rally came up just short as the Phoenix found itself on the wrong side of a 38-24 decision at The Citadel in Southern Conference football action from Johnson Hagood Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The maroon and gold, which trailed 31-6 at one point, closed to within a touchdown at 31-24 with 8:49 left in the game. Elon (3-6, 1-5 SoCon) got the ball at the Bulldog 46 with 12:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Thomas Wilson completed all six of his passes on the drive, including a six-yard touchdown strike to Tracey Coppedge to trim it to just one score.
The Bulldogs (5-4, 4-3), which had been stuffed for much of the second half, answered with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate 6:20 off the clock. It ended with Darien Robinson going in from three yards out to seal the win for The Citadel who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Phoenix.
Wilson completed a career-high 37 passes and threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Mellette caught nine passes for 102 yards, but failed to find the end zone for just the second time this season.
The Citadel got the ball to start the game and went 75 yards on just four plays to claim a 7-0 lead when Ben Dupree took it 55 yards for a touchdown.
Elon answered with an eight-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard field goal by Adam Shreiner. The Phoenix had moved into the Bulldogs' red zone when Wilson connected with Rasaun Rorie on a 38-yard pass. It was the longest reception of Rorie's career.
After both teams exchanged punts, The Citadel extended its edge to 14-3 on a one-yard plunge by Aaron Miller with 3:35 left in the first quarter. The lead reached 17-3 with 11:05 left in the second quarter when Thomas Warren's 47-yard field goal slammed off the left upright and managed to bounce over the crossbar.
The Phoenix forced a Bulldog turnover and turned it into three points with 6:25 left in the first half as Shriener hit a 42-yard field goal.
As the first-half clock ticked to 0:00, The Citadel's Miller eluded the rush of Elon's Blake Thompson and hurled a Hail Mary that was grabbed by Matt Thompson at the two. Thompson then leaped another Phoenix defender to complete the 51-yard touchdown play that gave the Bulldogs a 24-6 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs kept up the ground attack to start the second half. Three plays after Robinson broke a 60-yard run, Miller took it in for his second rushing TD of the day as Elon's deficit stretched to 31-6.
The Phoenix took advantage of another Bulldog fumble, this one recovered by Michael Pearson at the Citadel's 31, and turned it in to eight points. The maroon and gold got six when Wilson drilled a pass to Kierre Brown from 20 yards out and then added the two-point conversion with a pass to #Jeremy Peterson#. The score made it a 31-14 game with 6:37 to play in the third.
After forcing a Bulldog punt, Elon took possession at its own 39 after a penalty on the punt. Wilson went deep to Mellette for a 36-yard gain to start the drive before moving to the 16-yard line. Shreiner came on and kicked his third field goal of the game to pull Elon within two scores at 31-17 with 2:32 left on the third-quarter clock.
Samford 24, #7 Wofford 17 (2OT)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin hit Kelsey Pope for a 12-yard touchdown in double overtime, and Alvin Hines II recovered a Wofford fumble on the Terriers ensuing possession to give the Bulldog football team a thrilling 24-17 victory over sixth-ranked Wofford Saturday afternoon at Seibert Stadium.
The win is Samford's first win over a top-10 ranked team since 1994 when the Bulldogs took down sixth-ranked UCF, 36-35. The win also guarantees Samford of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1998 and 1999.
Wofford took a 17-9 lead with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter on Eric Breitenstein's two-yard run. Samford then started its final drive of the fourth quarter with 1:45 to go at its own 28-yard line. The Bulldogs marched 72 yards in 10 plays, with Summerlin hitting Trett Hardman on a one-yard touchdown on the final play of regulation to bring Samford to within two points at 17-15. Summerlin then hit Chris Cephus for the two-point conversion to tie the score at 17-17 and force overtime.
In the first overtime possession, Wofford drove to the Samford 16-yard line, but Kasey Redfern missed a 33-yard field goal attempt. On Samford's first OT possession, the Bulldogs likewise drove to the Wofford 16-yard line, but Cameron Yaw's 34-yard attempt went wide left to send the game to a second overtime.
For the game, Samford was led by Summerlin, completing 29-of-35 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Fabian Truss rushed 26 times for 120 yards. Pope led all receivers with 12 catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
For the Samford defense, Justin Shade led the way with 13 tackles, including six solo stops. Jaquiski Tartt and Darion Sutton finished with nine tackles each. Hines had seven tackles to go along with his fumble recovery.
Samford's Yaw made three of his four field goal attempts, making kicks from 24, 40 and 31 yards out. Punter Greg Peranich averaged 44.8 yards on five punts in the contest.
Wofford was led by Breitenstein with 35 rushes for 168 yards and one touchdown. James Zotto led the Terrier defense with 12 tackles, while Mike McCrimon had 11 tackles for Wofford.
After a scoreless first quarter, Samford put the first points on the scoreboard early in the second quarter. Yaw kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with 9:49 to go in the second quarter. The score capped a 14-play, 86-yard drive that took 5:58 off of the clock.
Wofford took the lead with a touchdown late in the second quarter. James Lawson scored on a six-yard run with 3:29 left in the half. Redfern added the extra point to give the Terriers a 7-3 lead. The scoring drive for Wofford was 13 plays, 75 yard and took 6:20.
The Terriers struck again just before halftime. Redfern kicked a school-record 53-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 10-3, Wofford heading into halftime.
Samford scored on its first drive of the second half. Yaw kicked his second field goal of the game, this one from 40-yards out with 7:15 to go in the third quarter to cut the Wofford lead to 10-6. Yaw added a 31-yard field goal to make the score 10-9 with 14.4 seconds to go in the third quarter.
With the win, Samford improves to 6-3 overall and 4-3 in Southern Conference play. Wofford drops to 7-2 overall and 5-2 in SoCon play.
Chattanooga 45, Western Carolina 24
CULLOWHEE, N.C. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (5-4, 4-2 SoCon) dominated play on both sides of the ball in the second half running away with a 45-24 win at Western Carolina (1-9, 0-8 SoCon). Chattanooga recovered from a 24-16 halftime deficit to score 29 unanswered points after intermission.
It was powered by a ferocious rushing attack. Freshmen Kendrix Huitt and Jacob Huesman combined for 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Mocs accumulated 291 of its 367 yards in the final 30 minutes with 225 coming from Huitt (111) and Huesman (114). It was the most rushing yards by the Mocs since 404 against VMI on October 15, 1994.
The defensive effort matched the ground game. UTC allowed the Catamounts a lone first down in the second half. Western Carolina gained just 33 yards in 19 plays after the break.
It was a see-saw game early. Keon Williams opened the scoring with a two-yard plunge midway through the first quarter. The Catamounts then scored twice in a 10-second span.
Darius Ramsey started it with a six-yard run to tie the game at seven. On the first play of the Mocs next possession, Huesman's pass slipped through his receiver's hands and was picked off by Eiljer Martinez who returned it 14 yards for the score to make it 14-7.
The Catamounts led 17-16 as the first half was coming to a close. Quarterback Troy Mitchell rolled left and heaved a pass for the end zone which found Kamorris Benson in the end zone for the 24-16 lead at the half.
It was all Chattanooga from there. Huesman scored on runs of 51 yards (3rd quarter) and five yards to take the lead 30-24. The latter score came just four seconds into the fourth quarter. Less than two minutes later, Huitt blew through the right side of the line rambling 74 yards for a 38-24 lead.
Huesman and Terrell Robinson took over directing a 13-play, 98-yard drive that put the game out of reach on Robinson's three-yard run. The Mocs drained nearly seven minutes off the clock with the back-breaking, time-consuming march.
UTC totaled 474 yards of total offense to 288 for the Catamounts. J.J. Jackson added 63 yards on eight carries as the Mocs averaged a shade less than eight yards (7.7) per rushing play. There were five runs for 20 or more yards with two by Huesman and one each for Huitt, Jackson and Robinson.
Shane Heatherly, from nearby Waynesville, N.C., led the Mocs defense with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. D.J. Key added nine stops and an interception, while Wes Dothard chipped in seven tackles.
Catamounts safety Ace Clark had a busy day. He had a game-high 20 tackles. Fellow defensive back Sertonuse Harris, Jr., had 12 of his own. Martinez and Jaleel Lorquet had first-half interceptions.
Ramsey led the offense for WCU with 72 rushing yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He posted 66 of those yards in the first half. Mitchell threw for 176 yards, 18 of 30 with two interceptions, and a touchdown. Jacoby Mitchell led all receivers with seven catches for 81 yards.
Chattanooga held a 34:55 to 25:05 advantage in time of possession. The defensive effort led to UTC holding the ball for 21:28 of the possible 30 second-half minutes which accounts for 71.6 percent of the time available going to its offense.