ELON, N.C. -- Appalachian State set the tone early in Saturday's Southern Conference opener against Elon, but a late second half Phoenix comeback attempt left the visitors fighting to the end to hold on for a 31-21 victory to move to 1-2 on the season.
Scott Satterfield's team looked as if it would runaway with the game, but a stalled offense for much of the second half of play resulted in a much closer affair than most anticipated.
Elon made a run late, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to close the gap to just four points at 24-20 with just under four minutes to go.
The Phoenix gained the momentum and looked as if they would push the Mountaineers and potentially make the full, improbable comeback.
ASU freshman running back Marcus Cox had other plans, though. He led the ASU offense downfield with ease on its final possession, totaling all 75 yards of the Mountaineers' seven play, 2:15 drive.
Cox's touchdown pushed the game out of reach, and secured the player of the game honors, as he totaled 159 yards rushing and one touchdown on 26 carries, while also pulling in five passes for 149 yards and two scores.
He finished the game with an impressive 308 total yards and three touchdowns.
Cox's performance helped ASU post 599 yards of offense on 77 plays. Elon posted 437 yards on 79 plays.
The Mountaineers used a two-quarterback setup Saturday, with Jamal Londry-Jackson starting and playing the entire first quarter. Sophomore Kameron Bryant then came in for the second quarter and the Mountaineers' did not miss a beat.
Londry-Jackson completed 16-of-21 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown, while Bryant was good on 9-of-12 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition to the play of Cox and ASU's quarterbacks, sophomore wide receiver Sean Price had a nice return to the field, catching eight passes for 99 yards and one touchdown. Tony Washington and Andrew Peacock also showed up in a big way. Washington pulled in five passes for 71 yards while Peacock grabbed five for 54 yards.
Appalachian's defense allowed 437 yards of total offense, showing there is still much to be improved upon for Nate Woody's unit.
That said, sophomore inside linebacker John Law showed up in a big way for the Mountaineers, totaling 15 tackles, while picking off two passes and recovering one fumble.
Through the first three quarters, Appalachian's offense dominated the Phoenix, out gaining the home team 504-244 yards. Elon showed some resilience, however, when it changed some things up in the second half.
The result was an Elon defense that did not allow the Mountaineer offense to find the end zone until late in the fourth, when Cox put the game away with the final score of the game.
Appalachian's offense seemed to find its groove from the very start of game, moving the ball effectively throughout the opening 30 minutes of play. Londry-Jackson seemed to find a comfort zone early on, as he led the Mountaineers to 178 yards in the first quarter.
The Mountaineers opened the contest with a six play 90-yard drive capped by a 50-yard touchdown reception Cox. The freshman continued his stellar play, scoring the Mountaineers' next touchdown in the second quarter when he took a Kameron Bryant pass 73-yards for a score.
That touchdown pushed the Mountaineers' lead to 17-0. ASU eventually pushed its lead to 24-0 and closed out the first half up 24-7 after Elon found the end zone late in the opening half.
Appalachian put its mark on the game with big plays on offense, scoring on plays of 50, 73 and 41 yards.