The Wofford College football team did its best impersonation of Rocky Marciano Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium.
Well, the Terriers (3-1 overall; 2-0 in the Southern Conference), behind their powerful running game, belted Appalachian State 28-14 on Saturday in a battle of top-ten teams. The Terriers (ranked eighth in The Sports Network Poll and sixth in the FCS Coaches Poll) also snapped a three-game slide against the Mountaineers (who were ranked third nationally in the TSN and Coaches Polls).
The win also leaves Wofford in second place, just one-half game behind first-place Georgia Southern. The Eagles (4-0; 3-0 SoCon) blasted Elon 41--14 on the road Saturday. The Mountaineers fall into a fourth-place tie with the Phoenix. And Saturday's win was also Wofford's first against the Mountaineers (3-2; 1-1) since 2007, and it was only ASU's second conference loss in the last five years.
"We played bad in every phase of the game, offense, defense, special teams," said ASU coach Jerry Moore in a disappointing tone. "We just laid an egg. It all starts with me and our coaches. We've got to get to work."
Eric Breitenstein and quarterback Mitch Allen led the charge. Those two were held to 51 yards in last season's lopsided loss at Kidd Brewer Stadium (a 43-13 Mountaineer win), but on Saturday, those two racked up 221 yards between them.
Breitenstein had his best performance against the Mountaineers as he ran for 173 yards on 33 carries; Donavan Johnson had 75 yards on ten carries, and his seven-yard scoring run in the third quarter gave the Terriers a 21-7 lead.
Teamwise, the Terriers had 388 rushing yards and 407 yards of total offense. They were 11-18 on third-down conversions (61%), 4-4 on fourth-conversions and they held ball for nearly 39 minutes.
The Terriers didn't waste any time taking control. They scored twice in the first quarter, grabbing an early 14-0 lead.
"We knew this coming in," Moore said. "It was a typical Wofford game. They kept us off the field and limited our chances. But I'm not going to sugar-coach this. We played bad; it was a bad loss and we have a lot of work to do with our open week coming up."
The Apps have a bye next Saturday before they travel to Charleston, SC, to play The Citadel on October 15. The biggest concern right now is the ASU offense, which continues to struggle.
The Mountaineers, who did not score an offensive touchdown against Chattanooga last week, only had 247 yards offensively against the Terriers on Saturday. And ASU has only produced one offensive play covering 20 yards or more in the last two weeks.
Making matters worse, kicker Sam Martin, who has struggled mightly in his last two games, missed three field goals on Saturday---twice from 33-yards out, and from 52 yards away; he's missed his last four attempts.
"We just don't have an idenity right now," Moore said. "We have the talent and the players, but we're very inconsistent. I don't mean to be negative, but as coaches, we must remain objective; we must handle this the right way."
Quarterback Deandre Presley was held to 157 yards of offense. But he scored on a 13-yard run on the final play of the first quarter, puttng ASU on the board, making it 14-7; and he hooked up with Andrew Peacock on an eight-yard scoring toss (Peacock's first career touchdown catch) that made it 21-14 with 14:13 left in the game.
But the Terriers put the game out of reach on their next possession. They marched 83 yards in 12 plays, the final 19 coming on a Derek Boyce touchdown run for a 14-point lead. The drive nearly took more than six minutes off the clock.
The Mountaineers came right back on their final possession of the game, reaching the Wofford 38 before they turned the ball over on downs with a little more than four minutes left. The Terriers proceeded to run out the clock from there.
"Don't get me wrong, they have a good team, and Breitenstein is a good running back," said ASU linebacker Demery Brewer. "But we also missed a lot of assignments, and our tackling was sloppy. We never stopped them on the initial hit."
Breitenstein averaged nearly five-yards a carry every time he touched the ball, and the Terriers averaged 5.5 yards every time they touched the ball. Wofford also had 24 first down, 22 of those coming on the ground.
"The only conference loss I've ever had came against Georgia Southern (last season) since I've been here," Brewer said. "It's rough, I'm upset. But we have to bounce back from this. We have the players to do it."
Ironically, the last time ASU lost at Wofford, the Mountaineers won the national championship in 2007. The Mountaineers play at The Citadel on Saturday, October 15. Our coverage begins at 12 noon on AM 1450, WATA.
NOTES: ASU is 1-1 after two SoCon games for the third time in seven seasons. The previous two times, ASU went on to win the SoCon championship.
ASU lost for only the second time in its last 30 SoCon game......ASU lost to Wofford for the first time since 2007 and only the fourth time since 1973......ASU dropped to 34-11 in its last 45 games versus nationally ranked NCAA Division I FCS opponents......ASU scored just twice on four trips into the red zone.Coming into the game, ASU was tied for fourth nationally with an 85.7-percentred-zone touchdown rate (12 TD in 14 red-zone trips)......ASU senior tight end Ben Jorden had a team-leading and personal season-best five receptions (career high: 6 vs. South Carolina State in first round of 2008 NCAADivision I Football Championship)......ASU junior punter Sam Martin downed his sixth punt of the season inside thefive-yard line in the second quarter.
1 2 3 4 Total
Appalachian State 7 0 0 7 - 14
Wofford 14 0 7 7 - 28
9:00 WOF - Mitch Allen 1 yd run (Christian Reed kick), 11-66 4:02 0 - 7
3:16 WOF - Donovan Johnson 39 yd run (Kasey Redfern kick), 6-80 2:46 0 - 14
ASU - DeAndre Presley 13 yd run (Sam Martin kick), 8-60 3:16 7 - 14
3:04 WOF - Donovan Johnson 7 yd run (Kasey Redfern kick), 13-80 6:29 7 - 21
14:13 ASU - Andrew Peacock 9 yd pass from DeAndre Presley (Sam Martin kick), 11-59 3:51 14 - 21
7:58 WOF - Derek Boyce 19 yd run (Kasey Redfern kick), 12-83 6:15 14 - 28
FIRST DOWNS: ASU 17, WOFFORD 24
TOTAL YARDS: ASU 247, WOFFORD 407
RUSHING YARDS: ASU 101, WOFFORD 388
PASSING YARDS: ASU 146, WOFFORD 19
TURNOVERS: ASU 0, WOFFORD 2
PENALTY YARDS: ASU 2-10. WOFFORD 8-45
3RD DOWN EFF.: ASU 3-12, WOFFORD 11-18
4TH DOWN EFF.: ASU 3-4, WOFFORD 4-4
TIME OF POSS.: ASU 21:30, WOFFORD 38:30
WOFFORD: BREITENSTEIN 33-173, JOHNSON 10-75-TD, ALLEN 18-48-TD
ASU: CADET 9-48
WOFFORD: ALLEN 2-4-INT 19
ASU: PRESLEY 19-32-TD 146
WOFFORD: NOCEK 1-11, BOYCE 1-8
ASU: JORDAN 5-55, PEACOCK 4-37