For the first time since Saturday, Appalachian State University football strapped on full pads for Tuesday’s practice at Kidd Brewer Stadium. After a 128-play intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday and an off day on Sunday, the Mountaineers practiced twice on Monday but did not wear full pads for either session. Appalachian State returned to full gear for Tuesday’s two-hour workout but, in an effort to avoid injuries with the Aug. 30 opener at Michigan approaching quickly, only tackled to the ground in some drills.



Tuesday’s practice closed with two captivating 11-on-11 periods, the first featuring App State’s offense and defense squaring off in the red zone. In six red-zone series beginning with first-and-10 at the 12 yard line, the offense found paydirt four times while the defense recorded two impressive stops. The stars of the period were freshmen J.P. Caruso (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) and Trey Anderson (Orlando, Fla./Bishop Moore), who hooked up for touchdown passes of 13 and four yards on the final two series of the period.


Simms McElfresh (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) and Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview) scored the other touchdowns in the period on a 12-yard pass from Kameron Bryant (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek) and a one-yard run, respectively.


Local products were largely responsible for the two defensive stops, as Dustin Anderson (Hiddenite, N.C./Alexander Central) thwarted a scoring threat with a tackle for loss on third-and-one from the one yard line and fellow Alexander Central product Stephen Burns (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) recovered a fumble to end another series.


The afternoon ended with a two-minute drill showdown — possessions starting at the defense’s 48 yard line with 1:24 to go and the defense clinging to a 30-22 lead. In four series, the defense came away victorious each time.


The offense went four-and-out on each of its first two possessions, with a sack by Burns and pass break-ups by Joel Ross (Damascus, Md./Damascus) and Devan Stringer (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) highlighting the defensive effort.


On the third drive, Bryant completed six-consecutive passes (two to Upshaw and four to McElfresh) to set up second-and-two from the five yard line. However, the defense came up big with its backs against the wall, forcing three-straight incompletions to hold on for the win.


On the final series, Caruso completed 4-of-6 passes, including a four-yard touchdown strike to fellow true freshman Jordan Noil (Duluth, Ga./Norcross) that pulled the offense within two points. However, on the ensuing two-point-conversion attempt, Tashion Singleton (Charlotte, N.C./West Mecklenburg) broke through to sack Caruso and preserve the defense’s 30-28 victory.


Appalachian State returns to two-a-day action on Wednesday with a pair of practices at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Practices are closed to the general public but check for a full recap and video report from Wednesday’s workouts.