By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 15, 2012. With both Appalachian State and The Citadel coming off impressive wins last Saturday, The Citadel had the upper hand today, defeating ASU 52-28 in an extremely physical bout.
Things started out tough for the Mountaineers, who found themselves down 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. At the 10:38 mark in the first quarter Citadel running back Rickey Anderson converted on a four-yard run for a touchdown and kicker Thomas Warren drilled the point after touchdown (PAT) kick to make it 7-0.
ASU had a flash of greatness midway through the first when wide receiver Tony Washington returned a kick 51 yards to midfield. However, the Mountaineers were unable to convert and had to kick it right back to the Citadel four plays later.
The Citadel stuck again at the 4:31 mark in the first when quarterback Ben Dupree rushed 57 yards for their second touchdown. After the PAT the score was 14-0. A large portion of the 24,137 in attendance, most of whom were ASU faithful, in Kidd Brewer were quite and concern was clearly starting to mount.
Early in the second quarter, The Citadel again converted a touchdown with a one-yard run by quarterback Aaron Miller to make the game 21-0 after the PAT.
The Citadel again appeared to be in range for a touchdown, but after ASU’s defensive line held strong they ultimately settled for a 24-yard field goal at the 7:36 mark by Warren to make the game 24-0.
The largest deficit the Mountaineers have fought back from since joining Division I football is 21 points – a feat they have accomplished twice. That would not be changed on Saturday against The Citadel.
At the 6:16 mark in the second quarter, a Mountaineer punt was blocked by Citadel wide receiver Domonic Jones and returned eight yards by linebacker Carson Smith for a touchdown. After Warren’s PAT the score was 31-0 and the rout was on.
The Mountaineers finally got on the board at the 3:50 mark in the second with a two-yard touchdown run by running back Steven Miller and kicker Drew Stewart drilled the PAT to make the game 31-7.
Despite the ASU score, The Citadel again scored before the half. At the 43 second mark, Dupree rushed 46 yards for a touchdown and after the PAT the score was 38-7.
Many ASU fans were filing out of Kidd Brewer Stadium at the half with the Mountaineers down 31 points. Several of the die-hards, however, stayed until the bitter end.
Unfortunately for ASU fans, the second half was more of the same. The Citadel scored twice in the third quarter, first at the 10:27 mark on a five-yard run by running back VanDyke Jones. At the 8:41 mark in the third, Washington converted a 22-yard run for a touchdown for the Mountaineers but it was too little too late with the score at 45-14 after the touchdown and PAT. The second Citadel touchdown came from fullback Darien Robinson with a 45-yard run to make it 52-14 after the PAT.
The Mountaineers opened the fourth quarter with a two yard touchdown run by Miller at the 13:23 mark to make it 52-21. They scored again at the 5:45 mark with a four yard touchdown run by Miller, his third of the game, to make it 52-28 after the PAT. However, by that point, not many ASU fans were left in the stands to see it.
“It was just a long afternoon. It got to a point where it didn’t seem like it was ever going to be over,” said Head Coach Jerry More after the game. “Big plays early in the game hurt us.”
Despite the lopsided score, Moore said he believes this Mountaineers squad is a good football team and said they will continue to work to get better.
“We got in a hole early and it’s hard to climb out of holes like that,” said starting quarterback Jamal Jackson after the game. He added that the team will now try to forget this loss and shift their focus to facing Chattanooga next Saturday.
The Mountaineers face the Chattanooga Mocs at 6 p.m. at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Saturday, Sept. 22.
For the full box score of today’s game, visit goasu.com