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September 29, 2012

Offense shines in win over Coastal Carolina

BOONE, N.C. -- No. 17 ranked Appalachian State returned home to another soldout crowd at Kidd Brewer Stadium with a dominating performance on both sides of the ball for a 55-14 win over Coastal Carolina on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers used a fast start to gain an overwhelming advantage, scoring 21 points in the first quarter alone and leading 34-14 at halftime.

It was the first game of the young season that backup players saw significant playing time.

Senior running back Steven Miller ran wild over the Chanticleer's defense, rushing for 202 yards on 17 carries with two scores. Jamal Jackson shook off a first quarter interception to throw for 285 yards and three touchdown passes. Two of those three touchdowns were caught by Sean Price, who had a third straight 100-yard receiving performance in as many games played.

The scoring started early when Jackson reversed fields on a quarterback draw and scored from five yards out three in a half minutes into the game. Then on the offense's second drive it took them two plays to go 97 yards, 67 of those on the first of two Price touchdown catches. The Mountaineers then scored their final touchdown of the quarter with 14 seconds left on a diving 23-yard touchdown catch by Drew Bailey. That touchdown was Bailey's first of his career.

The offense continued their impressive performance in the second half with a one play 75-yard touchdown run by Steven Miller after the defense forced a quick three and out. The final score of the first team came 90 seconds into the fourth quarter when Price and Jackson hooked up in the corner for another score. The Mountaineers capped off their night with a 14-yard touchdown run by Michael Frazier with 2:28 left in the game.

"When you have a balanced attack, it's hard to put the focus on one aspect of our game plan," Jackson said. "When we're balanced like this we are going to be hard to beat."

When it was all said and done the offense accumulated 684 total yards of offense, 399 of those on the ground. That yardage amount is the most by the Mountaineers since their 79-35 win in 2007 over Western Carolina when they tallied 743 yards of offense. They scored in all six red zone visits and converted 7-of-11 third down chances.

On the other side of the ball the defense turned in another impressive performance limiting one of the nations's top passing quarterbacks, Aramis Hillary, to 50-percent passing for 145 yards.

"We knew if he had some time in the pocket he would have some success," senior linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough said. "So we tried to put a little pressure on him, make him move his feet, throw some different reads at him and make him uncomfortable.

"I think we really did well today. We just had two bad drives that we can look at on video and get corrected. Other than that we held them in check."

Coach Jerry Moore was very satisfied with how the team performed on both sides of the ball.

"I'd say we played well. We have huge respect for Coastal. I can't tell you how hard we practiced and prepared for these guys. We had a hot hand today. I would like to say we were prepared. We had a great week."

A key play you won't find on the stat sheet was a touchdown saving tackle on a kickoff return early in the fourth quarter by kicker Sam Martin.

"For me that was one of the biggest plays of the game because it would have been real easy to pull up," coach Moore said about Martin's tackle.

Two plays later defensive lineman Stephen Burns forced a fumble on 2nd and goal that was recovered by linebacker Karl Anderson. After that turnover, the second team offense took over for the final two Mountaineer possessions, an eight play 5:14 drive that resulted in a punt and the final scoring drive of the game. On that final offensive drive of the game freshman backup quarterback Kameron Bryant suffered a knee injury that coach Moore called "serious."

PENALTIES REMAIN CONCERN FOR MOUNTAINEERS

The Mountaineers' bitter relationship with the yellow referee flag continued on Saturday. The team was penalized 10 times for 112 yards. Several of those penalties were very costly as far as yardage is concerned. They were flagged twice for pass interference and also flagged for such fouls as facemasks, holding, and a chop block. It was the second time this season they have been flagged more than 10 times for triple digit yardage.

MILLER AND PRICE CONTINUE TO PERFORM AT HIGH LEVEL

Steven Miller's 202 rushing yards was the most by a Mountaineer since DeAndre Presley's 264-yard effort against Western Illinois in 2010 and the most by a running back since Kevin Richardson's 208-yard performance against Georgia Southern in 2005.

Sean Price became the first freshman wide receiver in school history with multiple 100-yard receiving games. He now has five touchdowns in three games.

OFFENSE GOT CREATIVE

The Mountaineers opened up their playbook calling several trick plays. One play that gained much attention was when Jamal Jackson lined up under center and ran a run play for short yardage. The team also ran a couple of reverses and multiple pitch options.


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