Nov. 21, 2009
Final Stats |
Boone, N.C. -
Sixth-ranked Appalachian State scored 16-straight points in the second half to erase Western Carolina's 7-3 halftime advantage and held on as the Catamounts scored inside the game's final minute in a 19-14 win Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Western Carolina closed to within five points inside the final minute of the fourth quarter as freshman tailback Michael Johnson drove in from two yards out, but the attempted onsides kick attempt was recovered by the Mountaineers to seal the victory, ASU's 20th-straight conference triumph.
Johnson finished with his second, 100-yard rushing performance, finishing with 105 yards on the ground on 24 carries. The Decatur, Ga., native added five catches for 30 yards on the day.
With the win, Appalachian State retained possession of the "Old Mountain Jug" trophy that is awarded to the victor of the mountain-rivalry. The victory also completed an unbeaten Southern Conference season for the Mountaineers, which claimed the conference title outright.
"Any loss is a loss; it doesn't matter if it's a blowout or if it's close. We're getting better, but we're not there yet. We get better every week, but we haven't crossed that line yet as a program in order to get where we want to be," said second-year head coach Dennis Wagner.
Appalachian State (9-2, 8-0 SoCon) struck the scoreboard first, converting on a 32-yard Jason Vitaris field goal that gave the Mountaineers the early, 3-0, lead late in the first quarter. The drive was keyed by a 47-yard Devon Moore scamper into WCU territory. The Catamount defense limited the Apps to the field goal attempt as Angelo Brown deflected a Travaris Cadet pass on third down at the three-yard line.
Cadet, playing for the injured Armanti Edwards who was held out due to a knee injury, finished 8-of-16 for 101 yards and was sacked three times by the Catamount defense.
The Catamounts answered with a touchdown drive to take the lead, moving 53 yards in eight plays to go ahead, 7-3. Spurred by a career-long, 37-yard rush by freshman tailback Michael Johnson, WCU moved inside the Mountaineer five-yard line where Jaynes found red-shirt freshman running back Dion Wilson just inside the goal line for a one-yard strike on fourth down and goal for the advantage.
Jaynes finished 20-of-33 for 166 yards, but was sacked five times by the Mountaineer defense.
Western Carolina (2-9, 1-7 SoCon) drove down to the Appalachian 25-yard line inside the final minute of the first half and nearly came up with six as Jaynes delivered a strike to Pittman who tried to drag his back foot before traveling out of the left side of the end zone. He was ruled out of bounds, negating the reception and setting up a field goal attempt that was missed to the left leaving the score, 7-3, at the half.
Out of the halftime locker room, the Mountaineers moved 73 yards in six running plays to open the stanza to re-claim the lead, 10-7. The Apps stretched their lead to five with a safety, sacking Jaynes in the end zone on the second play of the fourth quarter to go ahead, 12-7.
ASU pulled away further following the ensuing free kick, marching 45 yards with Moore plunging in from a yard out to stake the Mountaineers to a 19-7 edge. Moore led the Mountaineer rushing attack, which accumulated 255 yards on the ground, with a career-best 191 yards and two scores.
The Catamounts rounded out the game's scoring by with Johnson's TD romp with 39 seconds remaining in the game, capping a 59-yard drive that featured four Jaynes passes including a 25-yarder to Chris Everett.
Senior kicker Mark Sides was sent on in an onsides kick attempt, but ASU's Brian Quick corralled the bouncing ball, returning it seven yards with the Mountaineers kneeling on the ball to end the game.
Catamount junior Mitchell Bell led the team with a career-best 14 tackles, while senior Adrian McLeod added 11 stops to run his consecutive double-digit stop total to 10 games and finished the season at 137, just eight shy of the school single-season record. Classmate Chris Collins added 10 stops including one for loss for WCU.