BOONE The Chattanooga Mocs, who on more than one past occasion have seemed to find a way to lose to Appalachian State, discovered a way to win Saturday.
The Mocs vaulted into first place in the Southern Conference with three fourth-quarter touchdowns that produced a 35-28 victory over the Mountaineers. It was their first victory over the Mountaineers in eight games and first against them in Boone since 1983 snapping the Mountaineers 14-game home winning streak against the Mocs.
And it was a strange turn of events that sent the Mountaineers (2-7) reeling to another tough loss in front of a crowd of 18,991, which ended the programs string of 50 straight regular-season games filled beyond Kidd Brewer Stadiums capacity.
The Mountaineers, who got three touchdowns and 158 rushing yards from freshman Marcus Cox, led 21-14 in the fourth quarter when a bad snap by the Mocs turned into a game-changing gain.
The Mountaineers, about to get the ball back with a touchdown lead, instead were left stunned when a high punt snap was converted into a first down by the Mocs. Coach Russ Huesman said that he had called for a fake punt. Regardless, punter Nick Pollard wound up snagging the errant snap that nearly sailed over his head and, with few options against a converging defender, found running room for a 17-yard gain.
Were in hold-up mode; our guys are trying to go down and hold up for the punt (return), and he ends up getting a first down, Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield said. That was one of the crazy-type plays. That was a huge play.
Quarterback Kam Bryant of the Mountaineers said, That was definitely a momentum-changer.
The Mocs went on to tie the score on a 31-yard pass from Jacob Huesman to Terrell Robinson. The momentum carried over to the Mocs defensive unit, who dropped Bryant for losses on the next series.
The Mocs (7-2, 5-2 Southern) regained possession and drove 55 yards for their first lead, on a 29-yard pass from Huesman to Xavier Borishade with 9:04 left.
The Mountaineers managed to recover and tie the score at 28, getting a 44-yard punt return by Bobo Beathard to set up a short touchdown drive that ended on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Tony Washington.
A final momentum shift doomed the Mountaineers and lifted the Mocs to victory. Bryant, attempting to throw to Andrew Peacock across the middle, had his arm hit and the pass knocked off target by defensive end Keionte Davis of the Mocs. Nakevion Leslie intercepted and sprinted 28 yards on the return to give the Mocs the lead for good with 2:52 left.
We just didnt make the plays there at the end, said Satterfield, who added that his team was able to move the ball but was damaged by some fluke plays.
I give credit to Chattanooga. I think theyre a blue-collar, hard-working type team.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to journalnow.com/sports/asu/
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