|Mountaineers Stumble At Furman|
|Written by Mike Flynn|
|Saturday, 05 November 2011 23:57|
Four turnovers and several squandered opportunities in the red zone doomed No. 3 Appalachian State University in a 20-10 loss at Furman on Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.
Red-hot Furman (6-3, 5-2 SoCon), which has won three-straight games including wins over then-No. 3 Wofford two weeks ago and No. 3 Appalachian on Saturday, can also get a piece of the SoCon crown should the above scenario play out and it defeats Elon at home next Saturday.
Appalachian dominated the action by many measures on Saturday, including a 399-365 advantage in total yards, a 22-15 edge in first downs and a whopping 36:15-23:45 advantage in time of possession. However, the Mountaineers could not overcome their season-high-tying four turnovers or coming away empty-handed on 3-of-5 trips into the red zone.
ASU’s miscues began on the first series of the game, when it drove to the Furman 22 only to have Jamal Jackson (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta) slightly underthrow a pass to a wide-open Ben Jorden (Weddington, N.C./Charlotte Latin) in the corner of the end zone. The pass was tipped by FU’s Greg Worthy and into the hands of cornerback Ryan Steed for the first turnover of the afternoon. Seven plays later, Furman took a 7-0 lead on a five-yard pass from Chris Forcier to Ryan Culbreath.
Some good fortune helped Furman quickly extend the advantage to 20-0. Late in the opening period, the Paladins drove deep into ASU territory only for Forcier to apparently fumble into the end zone and give the ball back to the Mountaineers. However, officials ruled that Forcier was down and, one play later, Tersoo Uhaa plunged one yard for a touchdown that stretched the FU lead to 14-0.
Two possessions later, Appalachian was in position to possibly cut the deficit in half when it drove 61 yards to the Furman 12 but on second down, it was ruled that Jackson fumbled after a hit by Furman’s Tyreek Phillips and the loose ball was recovered by FU’s Tyreek Phillips. Unlike the controversial call on Forcier’s apparent fumble four series earlier, video replays appeared to show that Jackson was down before he coughed up the ball but the Paladins took possession and the Apps’ scoring opportunity was squelched nevertheless.
The biggest blow of the first half came minutes later when one play after Drew Stewart (Gastonia, N.C./North Gaston) missed a 38-yard field goal, Forcier hit Sederrick Cunningham for a 79-yard touchdown strike that staked Furman to a commanding 20-0 lead with 5:56 to go in the first half.
On an afternoon ripe with missed opportunities, the most critical of ASU’s fruitless red-zone possessions came on its first series of the second half. The Mountaineers had grabbed a bit of momentum when they capped a 14-play, 58-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge by Travaris Cadet (Miami, Fla./Central) in the waning second of the first half and, after forcing Furman to punt on the first series of the second half, drove all the way to the FU one yard line in hopes of getting within one score. However, for the third time, Appalachian couldn’t capitalize in the red zone when Cadet and Jackson were turned away on back-to-back plays from the one, giving Furman the ball back with its 20-7 lead still intact.
ASU climbed within 10 points on a 41-yard field goal by Stewart late in the third quarter but after the teams swapped punts, Furman put together a back-breaking 13-play, 68-yard drive that milked 7:30 off the clock. Despite the fact that FU’s Ray Early missed a 31-yard field goal to end the possession, the Paladins left the Mountaineers with only 2:22 to overcome the 10-point deficit.
In an appropriate ending to ASU’s frustrating day, Jackson fumbled at the Furman 38 to end any hopes of a comeback with 1:22 to play. Furman knelt out the clock to seal its first victory over the Mountaineers since 2005.
Outside of the four turnovers, it was a career day for Jackson, who set career highs with 29 completions (on 44 attempts) and 312 passing yards. His top targets were Andrew Peacock (Durham, N.C./Northern Durham), Tony Washington (High Point, N.C./T.W. Andrews) and Cadet, who set career highs with eight, seven and six receptions, respectively. Peacock’s eight catches went for 79 yards, which were also a career high for the sophomore. Brian Quick (Columbia, S.C./Ridge View) caught four balls for 60 yards, snapping his school-record string of three-consecutive 100-yard games but leaving him just eight yards shy of ASU’s all-time record of 3,124 career receiving yards.
Linebackers Brandon Grier (Charlotte, N.C./West Charlotte) and Jeremy Kimbrough (Decatur, Ga./Cedar Grove) led a mostly impressive defensive effort with 11 and nine tackles, respectively. Kimbrough also recovered a fumble while Troy Sanders (Chester, S.C./Chester) notched the second interception of his career.
Forcier completed 9-of-16 passes for 224 yards and two scores and added 64 yards on the ground to pace Furman. FU’s Nathan Wade led all players with 17 tackles.
Appalachian returns home next Saturday for the annual Battle for the Old Mountain Jug versus archrival Western Carolina. The regular-season home finale kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
NOTES: Appalachian lost for the only the third time in its last 34 SoCon games … the loss was ASU’s first to a SoCon opponent besides Wofford or Georgia Southern since Furman’s 34-31 win over the Mountaineers on Oct. 8, 2005 … the Mountaineers’ first loss to FU since the ’05 defeat not only snapped a record six-game winning streak over the Paladins but also dropped ASU to 17-22-3 all-time versus Furman, the only SoCon opponent that Appalachian has a losing record against.
1 2 3 4 T
FIRST DOWNS: ASU 22, FURMAN 15
ASU: CADET 24-63-TD
ASU: JACKSON 29-44-2INT-312
ASU: PEACOCK 8-79, WASHINGTON 7-59, Cacet 6-60
Photo Courtesy: David Scearce
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