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October 12, 2013

ASU drops third straight

BOONE, N.C. -- Appalachian State stumbled at home for its third consecutive time Saturday, losing to Samford, 34-10. The loss drops the Mountaineers to 0-3 at Kidd Brewer Stadium this season and 1-5 overall.

The team's struggles were seen across the board early and often Saturday from penalties to failed offensive drives to missed tackles and missed assignments. Minus the performance of a few individuals, the day was simply ugly.

Samford set the tone from the beginning, marching the ball 80 yards in just six plays to gain a quick 7-0 lead. The Bulldogs' offense essentially did as they pleased on their opening drive, and though Appalachian's defense stiffened its play for the remainder of the quarter and to the midway point of the second quarter, the visitors offense seemingly did as they wished for most of the game.

Big plays seemed to be the story of the evening for the Samford offense, as it broke off seven explosives, plays that go for 20 or more yards. The Bulldogs totaled 15 plays that garnered double figure yardage.

One such play was a 26-yard touchdown run by D'Morrise Bledsoe in the second half to put the Bulldogs up 14-3. ASU's offense appeared to be primed for a response, but an attempt at moving the ball downfield stalled after a few penalties cut into some productive action for the home team.

Things continued to go downhill for the Mountaineers following the Bledsoe score, as Samford scored once more before halftime, taking a 21-3 lead into the locker rooms. At the time of the break, Samford had out gained Appalachian 259-100.

That fact came despite the Mountaineers having possession of the ball for 16:05 compared to the Bulldogs' 13:55.

ASU's woes continued into the second half with Samford posting 13 more points as well as 202 yards in the final 30 minutes. The Bulldogs finished the game with 461 total yards, while holding ASU's offense to an unimpressive 223 yards, its lowest number of the season. The Mountaineers' 223 yards was 105 fewer than their previous low of 328 yards at Montana. The 223 yards were also the lowest since 2006 when the Mountaineers posted 133 yards against NC State. It was their fewest against an FCS opponent since 2004 when Georgia Southern held ASU to just 175 yards.

The Mountaineers finally found the end zone with 4:11 remaining in the game when sophomore Kameron Bryant connected with senior wide receiver Andrew Peacock for a 15-yard touchdown strike.

Following the score, the Mountaineers were still three possessions down at 27-10, but there was still time to get back in the game - although it was a slim proposition. ASU attempted an onside kick, but the Bulldogs recovered with great field position.

ASU's defense forced Samford into a third-and-long, with a chance at forcing a punt and getting another shot to get into the end zone. Instead, Samford broke off an impressive run to pick up the first down, while nearly crossing the goal line.

Samford capitalized and put the game away for good on a touchdown run by Jeremiaha Gates with 22 seconds remaining.

Bryant got the start for the second week in a row and he struggled throughout - in fact, the entire offense stumbled through the contest.

Bryant completed just 20-of-33 passes for 156 yards and one score.

Freshman Marcus Cox carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards, while also hauling in five passes for 39 yards. Andrew Peacock was ASU's other receiver that found some success, grabbing six receptions for 61 yards and one touchdown.

The Mountaineers' offensive line struggled over the course of the evening, as Bryant was sacked five times, four of which came in the second half. He also took a high number of knockdowns over the course of the game as well. The Samford pressure was strong throughout, and the fact ASU was forced to throw, particularly in the second half, the Bulldogs' secondary was able to take away the deep ball.

Samford's squad knocked down seven passes on the evening, while the team also posted nine tackles for loss.

Bryant and the Mountaineers were forced to throw underneath, and while passes were being completed, drives continuously stalled.

Jamal Londry-Jackson did not see action at quarterback until early in the fourth quarter, when he appeared for one play.

Appalachian State's defense had some moments of promise throughout the game, but couldn't sustain it all game long. With little help from the offense, it got more difficult by the quarter to keep the game close.

Nate Woody's unit made five stops behind the line of scrimmage and also managed to post eight quarterback hurries, although the group never recorded a sack. Deuce Robinson led the Mountaineers with three quarterback hurries. Greg Milhouse was second on the team with two hurries.


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