Any ideas the Jacksonville Dolphins may had of pulling of a huge upset came to a crashing halt on Saturday. The Dolphins put their best foot forward for two-and-a-half quarters, but in the end Appalachian State prevailed 45-14 in its home opener in front of 28, 708 fans on what started as a rainy afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium. DeAndre Presley had another stellar day.(Photo by Daniela Osorio Bueno)
The junior racked up nearly 400-yards of total offense (20-31 passing for 285 yards and he ran for 101 yards on 16 carries) and he threw a career-high four touchdown passes. Three of those to Brian Quick.
"Like I said before, it's my job to distribute the ball and get our guys involved," said Presley, who was named the national offensive player of the week by The Sports Network last week. "And a lot of the credit goes to the guys up front, our offensive line. I love those guys. I wouldn't trade them off for anyone."
Quick, who caught five passes for more than 100 yards last week against Chattanooga, was at it again on Saturday. He hauled in six balls for 132 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the Apps, who are 2-0 for the first time since 2007, had 620 yards offensively. Presley became the first player in Appalachian history to rack up 300 yards of total offense in three of his first four career starts.
Saturday's game also marked the return of ASU running back Devon Moore, who is on the Walter Payton watch list. Moore, who ran for more than a 1,000 yards last season, got the starting nod at running back for Saturday's home opener, and in limited action he carried 11 times for 39 yards and a touchdown.
"What can I say, we're playing very well," said ASU coach Jerry Moore. "Jacksonville gave us a game for at least 2 1/2 quarters. They're much improved from the last time we played them (a 56-7 blowout in 2008) but our guys just took over from the third quarter on."
The Dolphins trailed 17-14 with 10:02 left in the third quarter before ASU turned on the jets and scored 28 unanswered points to pull away. A two-yard run by Moore, a 41-yard scoring pass from Presley to Quick and a six-yard toss from Presley to BenJorden gave ASU a 38-14 lead with 10:18 left in the game. On the day, the tight ends, Jordan and Brad Hardee, caught five passes for 74 yards.
"It's nice to see the tight ends getting involved in this offense," said Jordan, who caught three passes for 43 yards and a score. "We're just trying to be more physical up front with our blocking, so the (running) backs can get outside. This is a very close group.
"And I feel this team ranks right up there with some of the great teams we've had here at ASU. We're just having a good time doing our jobs."
Defensively, ASU only gave up 257 yards, and only 90 yards on the ground. Mark LeGree had eight tackles, an interception and he also broke up two passes. Linebacker D.J. Smith had six stops and a tackle-for-loss; Bobby Bozzo had for tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a sack.
"We're still making some mistakes," said Moore. "And it's not from lack of effort. Our mistakes are correctable. We played much better today. And I also want to thank our fans.
"We have the best fans in the world. They bring a great atmosphere to our stadium. There's two great places to play in our division---Montana and here. And our fans are the greatest."
ASU entertains North Carolina Central next Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Our coverage begins at 1:30 pm on AM 1450, WATA.
NOTES: The Mountaineers are 2-0 lifetime against Jacksonville..... The win was Appalachian’s 49th in its last 52 home games....Appalachian moved to 59-19-2 all-time in home openers.....ASU has won 10 of its last 11 home openers.....The Mountaineers avoided dropping consecutive home openers for the first time in 27 years.....Appalachian moved to 2-0 for only the second time in the last 12 years. ASU was 2-0 with wins at Michigan and vs. Lenoir-Rhyne in 2007.....Saturday’s attendance of 28,708 is the sixth-largest in school history and the third-largest for a home opener.....ASU has played in front of over-capacity crowds for 29-straight regular-season home games.....True freshman walk-on Patrick Blalock recorded ASU’s first punt block since Corey Lynch (now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) blocked a punt at Elon on Sept. 29, 2007.....He almost became only the third player in ASU history to block two punts in a game when he blocked another in the third quarter but the play was negated by an offside penalty.