College Sports

Appalachian State’s Marcus Cox moves up career rushing list in return from injury

Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox avoids Georgia Southern defensive lineman Jonathan Battle Jr. (left) and cornerback Christian Matthew in Thursday night’s Sun Belt Conference football game in Statesboro, Ga. Cox rushed for 115 yards in the Moutaineers’ 34-10 win.
Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox avoids Georgia Southern defensive lineman Jonathan Battle Jr. (left) and cornerback Christian Matthew in Thursday night’s Sun Belt Conference football game in Statesboro, Ga. Cox rushed for 115 yards in the Moutaineers’ 34-10 win. Getty Images

Running through a small crease and delaying his cutback until the offensive lineman executed his downfield block, Appalachian State senior Marcus Cox needed only two carries Thursday to resemble his old self.

One of Cox’s biggest strengths is his patience, and that was tested during his six-week absence.

Returning from a leg injury that had sidelined him since Sept. 17, Cox gained 11 yards on his second rush and finished with 115 yards on 18 attempts in a 34-10 road win against Georgia Southern.

He didn’t play even though he dressed out in a home victory last weekend against Idaho, and there was a different feeling as he took the field at Paulson Stadium.

“Coming out for pregame, warming up and everything, I knew it was getting real and was about time for me to be back out there,” Cox said.

Cox entered the game for the first time on Appalachian State’s second offensive series and helped the Mountaineers outrush Georgia Southern 299-65. Sophomore running back Jalin Moore had 126 yards on 15 carries to make him 5 for 5 in triple-digit performances as a starter, and quarterback Taylor Lamb fell 6 yards short of his second career 100-yard rushing game.

Cox passed John Settle for second place on Appalachian State’s career rushing list and moved within 305 yards of tying Kevin Richardson’s first-place mark of 4,804, but it took time to duplicate the early double-digit gain against the Eagles’ defense.

“There definitely was a little rust having not played for a little while,” Cox said. “Getting back out there, you have a few jitters and you're not in the flow of things like everybody that's been playing. I needed a couple drives to get back in the flow of things, but second half, I felt like I was where I wanted to be.”

Cox finished the first half with 24 yards on eight carries, and he added three carries for 12 yards during a third quarter in which teammate Parker Collins recovered a Cox fumble.

Taking a late, long, high-arching option pitch from Lamb, Cox scored on a 12-yard touchdown to push the Mountaineers ahead 27-10 early in the fourth quarter, and he added a 42-yard run on their final touchdown drive. Moore capped that series with his first touchdown of the night, and both players surpassed 100 yards in the same game for the first time as a second-year tandem.

The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to http://www.journalnow.com/sports/asu/

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