The Appalachian State University football muscled its way by Samford 35-17 on Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference game down in Birmingham,AL.
The Mountaineers (4-0 overall; 2-0 in the SoCon) won their 22nd consecutive conference game as they capitalized on four Samford turnovers (all interceptions). It's the first time since 2008 against Presbyterian that ASU had four interceptions in a game.
Quarterback DeAndre Presley backboned the attack as he ran for a pair of scores and threw two touchdown passes in the first half alone, handing ASU a commanding 28-10 lead at the break.
Presley turned in another stellar performance. He racked up 273 yards offensively; he was 16-27 through the air for 176 yards. He also ran for 97 yards on 15 carries. As a team, the Mountaineers had 447 yards of total offense.
It's also the first time this yeqr, the Mountaineers failed to score 40 points or more in a game. Regardless, the Mountaineers were in complete control from the outset. But despite the win, ASU coach Jerry Moore was bitter-sweet about the game.
"It's nice to win the game," he said. "And this is a hard trip, but we had some breakdowns, especially on special teams. We gave up two long kick-off returns and we gave up some big plays in general. We have an off-week coming up, so we have to fix some things.But the mistakes we made today are correctable."
Defensively, the Mountaineers limited the Bulldogs (2-2; 0-1) to 311 yards offensively. And quarterback Dustin Talliaferro was harrassed all day. He was sacked three times and he threw three interceptions. Linebacker D.J. Smith had a monster game for the Mountaineers with 14 tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a quarterback sack and an interception.
"Defensively we are coming together,"Smith said."It's coming along. It's my job to be a leader out there. I thought we did a good job containing them for the most part."
Running back Chris Evans of the Bulldogs, who has led the SoCon in rushing the last two years, was limited to 40 yards on 11 carries.
ASU, thanks to a turnover, grabbed an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Presley scored on a one-yard run from under center. It was the first time since 2003 that ASU scored a touchdown out of the spread offense. ASU then broke the game open with a 21-point explosion in the second quarter.
Matt Cline was Appalachian's leading receiver. He caught four passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 60-yard run that set up Devon Moore's nine-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
"Our offense was pretty good at times," Cline said. "And at times, we were sloppy. But we have the off-week, and we just have to straighten some things out before we see Elon in a couple of week."
The Mountaineers have a bye week next Saturday. Elon comes to town October 9 for Homecoming. Our coverage of that game begins at 1 pm on AM 1450, WATA.