CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - For the third-consecutive season, the Appalachian State University Mountaineers are kings of NCAA Division I Football with a 49-21 rout of Delaware. With the victory over the Blue Hens, Appalachian sealed a dream season that started with an upset for the ages and finished with a third national championship ring.
Senior Kevin Richardson (Elizabethtown, N.C./East Bladen) led the way for Appalachian with 111 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving. The senior tailback also had a touchdown on the ground and by air. Sophomore quarterback Armanti Edwards (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood) had 198 yards passing, 89 yards rushing and three passing touchdowns.
Richardson opened the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass from Edwards. Delaware responded by driving the ball to the Appalachian one-foot line where the Mountaineers stonewalled the Blue Hens with an impressive defensive stand.
On the ensuing possession, sophomore Devon Moore (Mebane, N.C./Cedar Ridge) extended the lead to 14-0 by breaking off a 46-yard scamper for pay dirt. The touchdown run capped a five play, 99-yard drive to set an Appalachian State school record for longest scoring drive.
Appalachian extended the lead to 21-0 with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter as freshman tight end Daniel Kilgore (Kingsport, Tenn./Dobyns-Bennett) recovered a Richardson fumble in the endzone for the touchdown as the Mountaineers scored on their first three drives of the game.
Delaware broke into the scoring column with only 1:10 remaining in the first half as quarterback Joe Flacco found Mark Duncan in the corner of the endzone for a 36-yard touchdown reception. The play was originally ruled incomplete, but upon official review, was overturned and ruled a touchdown to cut the ASU lead to 21-7.
Appalachian answered the score 26 seconds later as Edwards found senior Dexter Jackson (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody) for a 60-yard TD pass. The play was Edward's fourth touchdown pass to Jackson for more than 59-yards this season. The Mountaineers carried the 28-7 lead into halftime.
ASU opened scoring in the third quarter when Edwards found Richardson again with 4:56 remaining in the quarter to extend the Appalachian lead to 35-7. Delaware countered on their next drive with a 12-play, 64-yard march that culminated with Omar Cuff's first touchdown of the game to cut the ASU lead to 35-14.
Richardson then ran the lead to 42-14 with a 6-yard touchdown jaunt with 6:02 remaining in the game. The score was his second of the game and first on the ground. Appalachian's all-time leading rusher closed his career with 4,797 yards on the ground.
Senior Trey Elder (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes) put the icing on the cake by squirting free for a 53-yard touchdown scamper to give ASU a 49-14 lead. A 75-yard touchdown run from Duncan with 3:18 left accounted for the final 49-21 tally.
POSTGAME NOTES - Appalachian wins its third consecutive NCAA Division I National Title, the first in FCS/I-AA history. ASU is the first NCAA Division I program to win three consecutive national titles since Army accomplished the feat in 1944, 1945 and 1946. - Armanti Edwards finishes the season with 1,948 yards passing and 1,587 yards rushing. Edwards falls just short of becoming the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards twice in his career. - Corey Lynch finishes his career with 52 pass breakups, capturing the NCAA Division I record for career passes defended. - The attendance of 23,010 set a Finley Stadium record and is the largest neutral site NCAA Division I Championship Game