By David Coulson
Nov. 2, 2014. It was a mismatch of atmospheric proportions on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium as snow, wind and Appalachian State combined together for a lopsided 44-0 Sun Belt Conference victory over hapless Georgia State.
With snow falling consistently during the game and high winds swirling around the stadium, Marcus Cox rushed 29 times for a career-best 250 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to help the Mountaineers (3-5 overall, 2-2 in conference) roll up 469 yards rushing and 567 total yards.
Ricky Ferguson added 123 yards and one touchdown from his 14 rushing attempts to give ASU two, or more 100-yard backs for the third consecutive contest.
It was the most rushing yards for ASU since it piled up 572 rushing yards against Lenior-Rhyne in 1975.
“Even without the snow, we had a game plan to run the ball,” said Cox, who has 469 yards on 45 carries, with six TDs in the past two games — both Mountaineer wins. “Every time I touched the ball, I had a hole so it turned out to be a pretty big night.”
Defensively, App State limited the Panthers (1-8, 0-6) to eight yards rushing on 26 attempts, six first downs and only 62 yards of total offense.
It was the fewest rushing yards for an opponent since North Carolina Central gained five yards on the ground in 2009.
The Mountaineers ran 80 plays, compared to just 45 for Georgia State. ASU forced five Panther fumbles, recovered two and also intercepted a pass.
Linebacker John Law led the defensive effort with a fumble recovery, an interception and one pass breakup.
“The snow and the wind had a big effect on the game, because they weren’t able to throw the ball deep down field,” Law said. “Watching them on film, they make a lot of big plays through the air and spread teams out, but they were not able to do that because pf the conditions.”
Playing a team that holds its home games before small crowds in the sterile environment of Atlanta’s Georgia Dome and with a quarterback witnessing snow for the first time after performing as a prep in one of of California’s beach communities, Georgia State found itself at an early disadvantage.
“Although the weather shouldn’t have affected us, I believe it did mentally,” Georgia State coach Trent Miles said. “We have to be better than that. It was just as cold and wet for them as it was for us.”
The conditions didn’t change one compelling fact — Appalachian dominated this game from start to finish.
“Don’t make any mistake about it,” said Miles, “they outplayed us.”
It took just 94 seconds for the Mountaineers to score on their first drive as Marcus Cox capped off the five-play, 33-yard drive with his one-yard scoring plunge, following Law’s interception.
Dominating things up front for the second straight game, Appalachian State next played ball control on a 10-play, 90-yard drive that ended with a nifty nine-yard scoring scamper by quarterback Taylor Lamb (8-of-13, 90 yards passing) to make it 13-0.
It was more of the same in the second period when the Mountaineers turned Law’s fumble recovery at the GSU 37 into another score on Cox’s six-yard TD burst.
Miles brought the chagrin of the crowd down on the Panthers on the final play of the first half when he called three consecutive time outs with Bentlee Critcher lining up for a 30-yard field goal attempt in a literally effort to ice the kicker.
With his squad getting colder by the moment, Miles was stunned when Critcher sprinted into motion and place holder Simms McElfresh ran what accounted to a quarterback draw for 13 yards and the touchdown to vault ASU to its 27-0 halftime lead.
“We figured they were going to fake,” said Miles. “We even told our guys that they probably were going to fake because we were icing their kicker, yet we still couldn’t stop it.”
What little hope Georgia State had left blew away like the snow flurries sailing through the stadium.
“We had prepared (for the fake field goal) all week,” said ASU coach Scott Satterfield. “We already had it called. That gave us a lot of momentum, heading into halftime.”
With most of the cold, wet crowd of 22,643 fans heading for the exits at the intermission, Appalachian worked on the clock in the second half to complete its 44-point victory behind touchdowns from Cox and Ferguson and Critcher’s 26-yard field goal.
With a chance to hit the half-century mark for the third time this season, the Mountaineers ran out the clock in the final minute after marching to the GSU three.
App State will be at home again next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts Louisiana-Monroe in another Sun Belt game as the Mountaineers enter the final third of the 2014 schedule.
Satterfield said the next game will provide an interesting challenge for the Mountaineers, against one of the preseason favorites in the Sun Belt.
“We’re not talented enough to just show up,” said Satterfield. “We’ve been working hard for a year and a half now. We will be remembered this year by how we finish out.”
By Jesse Wood
Nov. 1, 2014. With the snow coming down, Kidd Brewer Stadium is looking like Lambeau Field on Saturday afternoon. The temperature is about 32 degrees and today’s wind gusts are forecasted to be swifter than 50 mph.
Leading 27-0 at halftime, the Appalachian State Mountaineers have now run the score to 34-0 early into the third quarter against Georgia State University, which now has Charlie Cobb as its athletic director. For live stats of the game, click here.
It’s Family Weekend at Appalachian State University, and the Mountaineers are making the most of it. While it’s a tad too early to call, this is looking like the Mountaineer’s best performance of the season against an FBS team.