It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. And at this point, Appalachian State University football coach Jerry Moore will take them anyway he can get them.
Take Saturday's game in Charleston, SC, for instance. The Mountaineers behind Jamal Jackson, who was making his first collegiate start, built what seemed like an insurmountable 49-14 lead. But
the Mountaineers survived a furious comeback attempt by the Bulldogs and hung on to win 49-42 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
A game-ending, 6-minute, ten-second drive allowed ASU (4-2 overall; 2-1 Southern Conference) to run out the clock. And despite the close call, Moore was pleased to get the victory.
"There was no reason to score when we got down there (at the two-yard-line) late in the game," he said. "We scored enough points. And we forced them to use up all of their time outs. All we had to do was run out the clock from there, so we took a knee and finished it out. Kicking a field goal down there never crossed my mind."
And Jackson, who was 21-27 for 234 yards with three touchdown passes, played like a cagey veteran. The ASU sophomore guided ASU to a touchdown on its opening drive. He marched the Mounatineers 82 yards in ten plays. Cedric Baker-Boney finished things off on a five-yard run. The Mountaineers, who looked like their old selves, scored on six of their first seven possessions. They racked up 552 yards, including a season-high 318 on the ground. And Jackson completed his first 15 pass attempts before he threw an incompletions with 5:49 to play in the second quarter.
"It was just a great day," Jackson said. "My offensive line, my running backs and DeAndre (Presley) were all so helpful. I had some butterflies when the game started, but they went away when the game got going. And like I do for DeAndre (who missed Saturday's game with a shoulder injury) when he's playing, he was my eyes on the sidelines today. He came over and congratulated me after we scored on our first drive. He's like my brother."
After the Bulldogs (2-4; 1-4) tied it up on an eight-play, 75 yard drive that was highlighted by fake punt that gained 24 yards, the Mountaineers slowly pulled away. A four-yard scoring run by Steven Miller, and three consecutive touchdown passes by Jackson---a 28 yarder to Tony Washington, a 27 yarder to Brian Quick and a three-yard toss to Ben Jordan---allowed ASU to build a commanding 35-14 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers were in complete control. They scored on their first possession of the second half on Travaris Cadet's 19-yard run that made it 42-14; and Millers' second touchdown of the day on a 14-yard scamper, gave ASU a 35-point advantage. Cadet finiished with 133 ruishing yards; Miller had 104. Then the wheels began to fall off.
The Mountaineers, who were red hot offensively, suddenly lost their touch on their next four possessions. Two three-and-outs, a fumble by Cadet and a blocked punt handed The Citadel 14 points.
"These guys (The Citadel) have a lot of confidence in what they can do," Moore said. "They did the same thing against Chattanooga. The fumble gave them a short field, and the blocked punt gave them another chance to score, and they took advantage of it. But we were fortunate that Jamal guided us down the field on that game-ending drive, and we won the game. I am very proud of our players, especially Jamal. He showed a lot of poise when the game was on the line. It's a prime example of how much he's grown up since last spring."
But Jackson started cramping up in the third quarter and was forced to briefly leave the game. And with Presley on the shelf, Cadet took over at quarterback.
"I was all right," Jackson said. "I just have to get more fluids in me, that's all. The heat had a lot to do with it. But it all worked out."
A pair of touchdown runs by quarterback Aaron Miller in the fourth quarter made it a seven point game with 6:10 left. But the Mountaineers settled the issue with their game-ending drive. A 13-yard, first-down run by Jackson on third-and-two gave ASU a first down at the Bulldogs 33.
"Heck, he could barely move out there," Moore said. "But he made a big play running for that first down. He did a great job battling through those cramps. He showed off his committment and leadership last spring when he suffered a punctured lung during our spring workouts. The guy just wants to play, and he wants to win."
The win moves ASU into sole possession of third place in the Southern Conference standings. And the Mountaineers return home to play Samford (next Saturday) and No.1 Georgia Southern in their next two games.
"And DeAndre is healing up," Moore said. "The rest has done him good. But I was never worried about playing Jamal. He's a talented guy. The coaching staff and I believed in him, and he knew that. And winning like we did today is beneficial. We learned more about ourselves winning like this, than if we would have won by a lopsided score. But we're really beaten up defensively. This is the most injuries we've ever had on defense in my tenure here.
"We're looking for healthy bodies to put on defense, and we have some players playing out of position. But we won today, and that's all that matters."
The Mountaineers return home to play Samford on Homecoming next Saturday, October 22. Our coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. on AM 1450, WATA.
NOTES: Appalachian moved to 4-2 overall, 2-1 in Southern Conference play. The Citadel fell to 2-4, 1-4 in SoCon play......ASU scored on seven of its first eight possessions after scoring only two offensive touchdowns on 22 possessions in its two previous games......ASU set season highs for rushing (318) and total yards (552).....ASU defeated The Citadel for the eighth-straight time and 17th time in the last 18 meetings.....ASU moved to 20-1 in its last 21 games immediately following a same-season loss......ASU moved to 19-6 in games immediately following an open week in 23 seasons under head coach Jerry Moore.....ASU won for the 29th time in its last 31 SoCon games and avoided suffering consecutive SoCon losses for the first time since 2002......Making his first-career start in place of injured starter DeAndre Presley, sophomore quarterback Jamal Jackson completed 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Jackson completed his first 15 passes before finally throwing an incomplete pass in the second quarter.....Senior wide receiver Brian Quick's 28-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the 25th of his career, tying the 43-year-old ASU record for touchdown receptions in a career, held by Bob Agle (1965-68)......Quick had 131 yards on eight receptions, his third 100-yard game of the season and eighth of his career......Senior tight end Ben Jorden's three-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the 14th of his career, tying the ASU record for touchdown receptions in a career by a tight end, held by Daniel Bettis (2002-06)......For the seventh time this season, junior punter Sam Martin had a punt downed inside the five yard line.
1 2 3 4 T
Appalachian St 14 21 14 0 - 49
The Citadel 7 7 14 14 - 42
Appalachian St Touchdown - 5-yard run by Cedric Baker Boney. (Sam Martin kick). 8:26 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 8-yard run by VanDyke Jones. (Ryan Sellers kick). 4:38 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 13-yard run by Steven Miller. (Sam Martin kick). 1:54 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 28-yard pass from Jamal Jackson to Tony Washington. (Sam Martin kick). 12:50 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 28-yard pass from Jamal Jackson to Brian Quick. (Sam Martin kick). 8:51 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 2-yard run by Aaron Miller. (Ryan Sellers kick). 6:54 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 3-yard pass from Jamal Jackson to Ben Jordan. (Sam Martin kick). 1:18 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 19-yard run by Travaris Cadet. (Sam Martin kick). 13:07 Remaining.
Appalachian St Touchdown - 14-yard run by Steven Miller. (Sam Martin kick). 7:32 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 24-yard run by Darien Robinson. (Ryan Sellers kick). 3:38 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 7-yard blocked punt return by Domonic Jones. (Ryan Sellers kick). 1:45 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 1-yard run by Aaron Miller. (Ryan Sellers kick). 11:28 Remaining.
Citadel Touchdown - 2-yard run by Aaron Miller. (Ryan Sellers kick
Final Team Statistics
Appalachian St Citadel
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 28 15
THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY 9-15-60.0 4-11-36.0
FOURTH DOWN EFFICIENCY 1-1-100 2-3-67
TOTAL NET YARDS 552 349
Total Off. Plays 81 58
PASSES-COMPLETIONS-INT 27-21-0 12-5-1
NET YARDS RUSHING 318 261
NET YARDS PASSING 234 88
PUNTS Number and average 2-33.0 2-49.0
PENALTIES No. and Yards 2-25 2-15
FUMBLES No. and Lost 2-2 3-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 35:07 24:53
Final Individual Statistics
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
T.Cadet 18 133 7.4 24 1
S.Miller 18 102 5.7 22 2
J.Jackson 8 40 5.0 13 0
A.Peacock 2 26 13.0 15 0
C.Baker Boney 5 24 4.8 11 1
T.McLean 1 4 4.0 4 0
TEAM 2 -11 -5.5 0 0
Total 54 318 5.9 24 4
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
D.Robinson 18 97 5.4 26 1
A.Miller 11 49 4.5 11 3
R.Anderson 2 45 22.5 39 0
K.Hardy 1 27 27.0 27 0
V.Jones 4 22 5.5 13 1
B.Dupree 7 13 1.9 5 0
T.Martin 1 10 10.0 10 0
C.Robertson 1 0 0.0 0 0
TEAM 1 -2 -2.0 0 0
Total 46 261 5.7 39 5
PASSING ATT CP YDS SK TD LG IN
J.Jackson 27 21 234 0 3 39 0
PASSING ATT CP YDS SK TD LG IN
A.Miller 7 2 41 0 0 26 1
L.Caldwell 1 1 34 0 0 34 0
B.Dupree 4 2 13 0 0 9 0
Total 12 5 88 0 0 34 1
RECEIVING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
B.Quick 8 131 16.4 39 1
A.Peacock 5 39 7.8 13 0
T.Cadet 3 15 5.0 7 0
C.Baker Boney 2 13 6.5 8 0
T.Washington 1 28 28.0 28 1
S.Miller 1 5 5.0 5 0
B.Jorden 1 3 3.0 3 1
RECEIVING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
G.Adams 3 28 9.3 15 0
K.Hardy 1 34 34.0 34 0
C.Brown 1 26 26.0 26 0