By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 20, 2012. In what could be considered a Southern Conference heavyweight prize fight, No. 8/9 Wofford (6-1, 4-1 SoCon) downed No. 13/11 Appalachian State (5-3, 3-2 SoCon) 38-28 on Saturday.
The loss snapped a four-game winning-streak for the Mountaineers and propelled Wofford into sole possession of second place in the SoCon.
Wofford struck first late in the first quarter on a 1 yard run by quarterback Brian Kass to make the score 7-0 after a point after touchdown kick (PAT) by kicker Kasey Redfern. This score came in part as a result of a huge 57-yard run by Watauga County native running back Eric Breitenstein to the ASU 13 yard line.
At the 11:39 mark the Terriers extended their lead to 10-0 with a field goal kick by Redfern.
The Mountaineers found the end zone for the first time at the 7:39 mark in the second on a 47-yard fumble recovery by defensive back Joel Ross. Following a PAT by kicker Drew Stewart, the score was 10-7. The score marked the second time in two games Ross has logged a touchdown.
Wofford extended their lead at the 5:25 mark on a one-yard run by Breitenstein to make the score 17-7 following a Redfern PAT.
The Mountaineers were able to cut into Wofford’s lead with less than a minute to go in the first half on a 12-yard run by running back Steven Miller for a touchdown to make the score 17-14 after a Stewart PAT leading into halftime.
ASU was able to claim their first lead of the game at the 9:15 mark in the third quarter on a one-yard rush by quarterback Jamal Jackson. Following the Stewart PAT the Mountaineers were on top of the Terriers 21-17.
The lead would be short-lived however, as Kass completed a 38-yard pass to halfback Bryan Youman down to the ASU 28 yard line, soon to be followed by a five-yard rush into the end zone by halfback Cam Flowers to make the score 24-21 after a Redfern PAT.
The Terriers enjoyed that lead for exactly 14 seconds. On the subsequent kickoff wide receiver Tony Washington provided fans with arguably the most exciting ASU play of the afternoon when he returned the ball 99 yards for a Mountaineers touchdown at the 4:54 mark in the third quarter. The 99-yard kickoff return was the second-longest in Appalachian State history and the longest since Keith Nash’s school-record 100-yard touchdown return at Lenoir-Rhyne on Oct. 12, 1968. Following a Stewart PAT the score was 28-24 and the Mountaineers would enjoy that lead for the remainder of the quarter. It was to be their last time leading the game.
Literally two seconds into the fourth quarter the Terriers reclaimed the lead 31-28 on a Breitenstein rush into the end zone and a Redfern PAT.
The lead did not seem too terribly insurmountable, but soon after the Breitenstein touchdown the Mountaineers’ fate was sealed. At the 13:48 mark in the final quarter, Jackson was sacked by defensive end Josh Roseborough on second down and lost the ball on what could have been considered an incomplete pass. The Mountaineers, thinking the play was over, were not able to react in time when the referees ruled Jackson had fumbled the ball. In the confusion, defensive end Tarek Odom picked the ball up and ran it in for a 40-yard fumble recovery touchdown. Following a Redfern PAT, the score was 38-28, which would ultimately be the final score.
Following the game, both Jackson and Mountaineers Head Coach Jerry Moore said they believed Jackson’s arm was going forward and that the call could have been ruled an incomplete pass, but neither blamed that call for the outcome of the game.
“I thought my arm was going forward,” Jackson said, but added, “To start the game off, it was sloppy. You know, just like last week, it was just little things that put us in situations that we don’t need to be in. One play can determine the game, but we put ourselves in a bad predicament.”
Moore said that despite thinking Jackson’s arm was going forward he was not second guessing the referee’s call. He added that a big part of the Mountaineers’ loss was due to the fact that Wofford’s defense has gotten significantly better in recent years.
“It was just a tough ol’ ballgame,” Moore said.
The Mountaineers return to action next Saturday when they travel to E.J. Whitmire Stadium in Cullowhee to take on the Western Carolina Catamounts (1-7, 0-6 SoCon) in the annual Battle for the Old Mountain Jug. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
For more information on Mountaineers football, visit goasu.com.