Appalachian State quarterback DeAndre Presley made a strong statement to win the Walter Payton Award on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The ASU junior ran for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass as the Mountaineers pounded Western Illinois 42-14 in the second round of the Football Championship Series Division I Playoffs. The Mountaineers put the contest out of reach with a strong running game, led by Presley.
ASU racked up 291 rushing yards in the first half and built a commanding 28-7 lead at the intermission. ASU finished up with 464 yards, including 417 on the ground. And Presley made a strong statement for the Walter Payton Award. He ran for 177 yards on nine carries for an average of 19.7 yards-per-carry and scored twice. His 89-yard scoring run (the longest in school history) in the second quarter gave ASU (10-2) a 21-7 lead.
Presley finished with 264 rushing yards, the second-highest total in school playoff history.
"It was a great ballgame," said ASU coach Jerry Moore, who picked up his 199th career win with the Mountaineers. "Our effort today was very similar to the Wofford game. We dominated every phase of the game. And you must play that way in the playoffs."
Defensively, the Mountaineers held WIU (8-5) to minus 26 rushing yards and they picked off quarterback Matt Barr, the Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, twice. Dominique McDuffie's interception in the opening stanza set up Appalachian's first score of the day and tied the game at seven.
Presley wasn't prefect, however. He threw a pair of interceptions, and the first one set up Western Illinois' first touchdown of the game. Kyle Glazier, the defensive player of the year in the MVC, made the pick and set up Barr's 12-yard touchdown pass to Lito Senatus on the very next play for an early 7-0 lead.
But any ideas WIU may have had concerning a possible upset were quickly dashed by the Mountaineers. Barr, who was running for his life most of the day, had a disappointing day. He was 13-35 for 98 yards, he was sacked twice and he threw three interceptions in his final college game. He was also held to minus three yards rushing on six attempts. As a team, the Leathernecks only had 231 yards of offense.
"It was a great start," said WIU coach Mark Hendrickson."It was a big moment for us at the time, but they have great speed. And their quarterback is extremely fast. He's a great player, and to do what he did today in these conditions, just shows how great a player he really is."
But Presley, modest as always, gave the all the credit to his offensive line.
"That 89 yard run was a designed play," he said. "Our offensive line did a great job clearning things out and opening a lane. And the snow didn't really affect us. Our running backs are a lot faster, but we did slip and slide a little out there. But we rallied around each other and we moved the ball thanks to those guys up front."
Passing-wise, Presley was only 2-7 for 47 yards, including those two interceptions. But he also hooked up with wide recevier Brian Quick on a 35-yard scoring toss in the third quarter that gave ASU an insurmountable 35-7 advantage.
The Mountaineers also broke the 40 point barrier for the fifth time this season.
"The first playoff game is huge," Moore said. "You need a great start in games like this. But what really impressed me is that we dominated every phase of this game, and we did it with a 7-0 deficit. We ran the ball hard.
"But I also want to thank the grounds crew. The officials, who were from the Colonial (Athletic) Conference, kept talking about how the grounds crew did a great job keeping the field in playable condition. I thank those guys for all their hard work."
The Mountaineers advance to the national quarterfinals for the sixth year in a row. They will play either Villanova (last year's defending national champion) or Stephen F. Austin. A date and time for that game will be announced on Sunday afternoon.
NOTES: Presley also became the third player in ASU history with 3, 000 (3, 287) total yards in a season and the fifth with 30 total touchdowns (32) in a season.
1 2 3 4 T
WIU 7 0 7 0 - 14
ASU 7 21 7 7 - 42
Western Ill Touchdown - 12-yard pass from Matt Barr to Lito Senatus. (Pat Smith kick). 10:21 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 3-yard run by Devon Moore. (Jason Vitaris kick). 3:29 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 1-yard run by DeAndre Presley. (Jason Vitaris kick). 12:56 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 89-yard run by DeAndre Presley. (Jason Vitaris kick). 3:45 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 6-yard run by Cedric Baker. (Jason Vitaris kick). 0:39 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 35-yard pass from DeAndre Presley to Brian Quick. (Jason Vitaris kick). 11:11 Remaining.
Western Ill Touchdown - 1-yard run by Caulton Ray. (Pat Smith kick). 3:09 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 3-yard run by Rod Chisholm. (Jason Vitaris kick). 6:41 Remaining.
Final Team Statistics
Western Ill Appalachian St
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 16 19
TOTAL NET YARDS 231 464
NET YARDS RUSHING 133 417
NET YARDS PASSING 98 47
PENALTIES No. and Yards 3-25 2-22
FUMBLES No. and Lost 1-0 0-0
TIME OF POSSESSION 29:50 30:10
WIU: Ray 21-87-1, Flowers 7-41, Senatus 1-7, Richardson 1-1, Barr 6- -3,
ASU: Presley 16-264-2,Moore 14-54-1, Cadet 9-43, Baker 10-34-1, Chisholm 7-20-1, Washington 1-7, Jackson 1- -1
WIU: Barr 35 13 98 2 1
ASU: Presley 7 2 47 0 1 2
WIU: Morgan 4-35, Senatus 3-25-1, Speight 1-7, Richardson 1-1
Total 15 65 4.3 20 1
ASU: Quick 1-35, Hillary 1-12-1