CHARLESTON, S.C. Much like the rest of its trip through the season has been, Appalachian State’s Southern Conference farewell tour hit a snag Saturday. After going ahead early and rallying late, a victory bounced away in a 31-28 overtime loss to The Citadel.
It was another close loss for the Mountaineers, who fell to 1-4 for the first time since 1993. They slipped to 1-1 in SoCon play, and it was their first loss to a team with a losing record in nine seasons.
“We’re so close to winning these football games and it’s very frustrating,” said Scott Satterfield, Appalachian’s first-year coach. “Three three-point losses. It’s hard, but the thing we’ve got to continue to do is stay together.”
The Mountaineers hung together for a late comeback – driving 79 yards on five plays in 53 seconds – and sent the game to overtime with 20 seconds left in regulation after Marcus Cox’s 49-yard gain set up Kameron Bryant’s 2-yard touchdown run.
In overtime, the Mountaineers had the opening possession but came up empty when Bryant’s third-down pass was deflected from a clump of two defenders and receiver Sean Price. The ball bounced high in the air and was intercepted by Citadel lineman Mitchell Jeter.
“It was a fluky pick,” Satterfield said. “The ball bounced all the way back to the line, and they wind up with it.”
Said Price: “I had the top of the ball, the defender had the bottom. I just couldn’t pull it in and then it got tipped out and just shot up in the air. It was a wild play. It’s tough.”
The Citadel got a 35-yard field goal by Thomas Warren on its overtime possession to seal the victory and improve to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. The Bulldogs’ four losses have been by an average of less than six points.
“It’s a great win for us,” Citadel coach Kevin Higgins said. “We hung in there, kept battling and found a way to come back in overtime after we let them get back into it.”
Bryant said the overtime interception epitomized the Mountaineers’ season so far.
“It’s coming down to a couple of plays here or there every game,” Bryant said.
“Those make a difference between winning by 10 or losing by 3.”
“We give it all on the field, but we just don’t win,” Price said. “You wish you could get plays back. Preparation has been great, but when we get here it just all comes apart. We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’ve just got to mature a lot faster.”
The Mountaineers couldn’t find a win, but settled on a quarterback. Sophomore Bryant made his first start and played all but one series, completing 19 of 23 passes for 214 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought he played well,” Satterfield said. “Obviously, the turnovers (including a Bryant fumble) we can’t have. He had a high completion percentage and got the ball to the guys he needed to make plays.”
Cox, a freshman, had another big performance. He rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and caught seven passes for 95 yards. He has 10 touchdowns this season.
The teams were virtually even in total yardage, but the Bulldogs churned out 328 rushing yards. Quarterback Ben Dupree ran for 136 and two touchdowns, and running back Darien Robinson ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to http://www.journalnow.com/
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