BOONE Thanks in large part to lopsided time of possession, Charleston Southern remained unbeaten by handing Appalachian State a 27-24 defeat on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
With a 28-minute time-of-possession advantage, Charleston Southern (5-0) converted 10 of 18 third downs, including seven straight in the first half, and all four of its fourth-down attempts to score perhaps the biggest win in the program’s 15-year history.
Despite running 30 less plays than CSU (81-51), Appalachian State totaled just 4 fewer yards than the Bucs (428-424) and scored on four of its nine possessions. However, the Mountaineers turned the ball over on downs in CSU territory on each of their final two offensive series to fall to 1-3 for the first time since 2003.
Appalachian State jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 1:28 in when Marcus Cox scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 14-yard run that capped a five-play, 58-yard drive. The Mountaineers held leads of 14-7 and 17-14 in the first half but Charleston Southern answered each Appalachian score with one of its own to enter the half at 17-17.
Charleston Southern took its first lead with 5:38 to go in the third quarter with a 21-yard field goal by Mark Deboy. However, 45 seconds later, App State retook the lead 24-20 when Cox took a short pass from Kameron Bryant and galloped 65 yards for his third touchdown of the afternoon.
Appalachian maintained the four-point edge until late in the fourth quarter. With less than seven minutes to go, Charleston Southern seemingly took the lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Dixon. However, not only was the score nullified by an illegal-block penalty by CSU but Dixon was injured on the play.
Backup quarterback Daniel Crogan III took Dixon’s place, and on third-and-goal from the 15 he eluded several Appalachian State defenders in the backfield and threw on the run into the end zone. Kevin Glears went high over Appalachian State’s Rodger Walker and pulled in the pass for the go-ahead touchdown with 5:27 left.
On the second play of the ensuing possession, Bryant found Tony Washington for a 30-yard pass that moved the Mountaineers into Charleston Southern territory, but four plays later the promising series stalled when CSU cornerback Eli Lee swatted away a pass intended for Washington on fourth-and-1.
From there, the Buccaneers picked up two first downs (converting two more third downs in the process) to run out the final 2:59.
Despite Charleston Southern’s 28-minute advantage in time of possession, the statistic that might have doomed the Mountaineers the most was that three of CSU’s 10 third-down conversions came courtesy of Appalachian State penalties (two on its opening touchdown drive and one as the Bucs milked out the clock on their final drive).
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