Mountaineers capture SoCon title
by Nathan Ham
For the seventh time in the last eight seasons, Appalachian State University will celebrate winning the Southern Conference Champion.
App State held off a late second-half rally from Furman to beat the Paladins 33-28.
The Mountaineers will share the 2012 championship with Wofford and Georgia Southern, who each finished 6-2 in the SoCon.
ASU jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Sam Martin booted a 27-yard field goal, then Steven Miller scampered for an eight-yard TD run with 3:46 left in the quarter.
The Paladins got on the board on the ensuing kickoff after tailback Jerodis Williams returned the kick 100 yards for the score, cutting the App lead to just three points at 10-7.
The second quarter started with a bang for App. Wide receiver Andrew Peacock tossed a TD pass on a trick play to Drew Bailey for a seven-yard score. Martin’s extra point was good, putting the Mountaineers in front 17-7.
Furman scored its second touchdown of the game on a defensive play. Gary Wilkins recovered an ASU fumble in the endzone for a TD to trim the deficit to three points with 8:26 left in the second quarter.
App State closed the quarter with 10 straight points to take a 27-14 halftime lead. Martin booted a 47-yard field goal and Jamal Jackson tossed a beautiful 18-yard TD pass to Peacock.
The Paladins came out of the gate in the third quarter and scored two touchdowns in an 18-second span. Reese Hannon threw a 10-yard TD pass to Jordan Snellings, then the defense got its second score of the game when Carl Rider recovered another ASU fumble on the very next drive and returned it 27 yards for the score. The extra point put Furman ahead 28-27 with 9:10 left in the third.
Two Mountaineer drives stalled out, forcing Martin to kick a pair of field goals that allowed App to retake the lead at 33-28.
ASU’s defense sealed the win with an interception by Troy Sanders on the final pass of the game as time expired.
Jackson completed 32 of 46 passes for 332 yards and one touchdown. Miller carried the load on the ground with 170 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown.
Peacock had a career-high 11 catches for 130 yard and a touchdown, and also passed for his first touchdown. Sean Price added 10 grabs for 115 yards and Tony Washington had six receptions for 37 yards.
Jeremy Kimbrough had a huge day on defense, finishing with 17 tackles to lead all players. Sanders had seven tackles and an interception and Demetrius McCray added five tackles and an interception as well.
Hannon nearly brought Furman all the way back for the win, but came up a bit short. He finished with 203 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Mountaineers did a good job slowing down the Paladin rushing attack as they held leading rusher Williams to just 60 yards on 14 carries.
App State will know who its playoff opponent will be next Sunday when the Football Championship Subdivision playoff bracket will be announced.
Reach at or 336-846-7164.
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