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Mountaineers Throttle Mocs, 49-7
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Saturday 11/08/2008 (ET)
Courtesy: Keith Cline
CoCo Hillary hauls in a 16-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of Saturday's 49-7 win at Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Appalachian State University quarterback Armanti Edwards racked up 328 yards of total offense in just one half of work to lead the second-ranked Mountaineers to a 49-7 rout over Chattanooga on Saturday afternoon at Finley Stadium.

Edwards, who topped 100 rushing yards on Appalachian’s second possession, finished with 152 yards on nine carries and 176 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-17 passing. He was lifted after directing ASU to five touchdowns in seven first-half series and a commanding 35-7 halftime lead.

Four of the Mountaineers’ five first-half scoring drives went 80 or more yards. Edwards wasted no time in making his presence known, as he broke off a 28-yard run on the first play of the game. Four snaps later, Robert Welton scored on an 18-yard run to make it 7-0.

The teams swapped punts on the next two series before Chattanooga knotted the contest at 7-7 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jare Gault to Clint Woods. However, that would be the only bright spot of the half for UTC.

On the first play after the Mocs’ score, Edwards ran 76 yards all the way to the UTC 4 yard line. The 76-yard rush more than doubled Edwards’ previous long carry of the season (35) and set up a one-yard touchdown dive by Welton two plays later that gave the Mountaineers the lead for good.

The Apps went on to score on three of their final four possessions of the first half to grab the 28-point halftime advantage. After UTC fumbled the kickoff following Welton’s second score, ASU only needed to go 35 yards to make it 21-7 on a 16-yard pass from Edwards to CoCo Hillary.

On its next possession, Appalachian covered 86 yards in only five plays, highlighted by a 26-yard Edwards rush and 38-yard completion to tight end Ben Jorden and capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Welton his third of the afternoon which made it 28-7, ASU.

It looked like the three-touchdown lead would stand going into the half when the Mountaineers got the ball back on their own 5 yard line with 1:31 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Apps needed only 1:10 to march 95 yards in seven plays and stretched the advantage to 35-7 on a 48-yard connection from Edwards to a wide-open T.J Courman down the left sideline.

With the majority of first-teamers on the sideline, Appalachian’s reserves scored on two of their first three possessions in the second half to account for the final margin. True freshman quarterback DeAndre Presley did the majority of the damage after the break, rushing 12 times for 101 yards and a touchdown and completing 3-of-3 passes (ASU’s only three passes of the second half) for 51 yards and another score, a 38-yard strike to Blake Elder.

In all, the Mountaineers out-gained the Mocs, 655-227, including a 428-110 on the ground. The Apps had three 100-yard rushers Edwards, Cedric Baker (107) and Presley.

Defensively, linebacker D.J. Smith led ASU with eight tackles, including one for loss. Mark LeGree matched a 45-year-old school record with his NCAA Division I FCS-leading eighth interception of the season.

Appalachian can clinch at least a share of its fourth-consecutive Southern Conference championship and the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division I football championship with a win next Saturday over No. 11 Elon (8-2, 6-1 SoCon). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at ASU’s Kidd Brewer Stadium.

NOTES: Edwards stretched his streak of consecutive passes without an interception to 157 ... the 100-yard rushing effort was the 16th of his career, which is tops among all FCS non-seniors at any position ... he has now accounted for 99 touchdowns in his career (54 passing, 45 rushing) ... LeGree is tied for the single-season interceptions record at ASU with Larry Harbin, who picked off eight passes in 1963 ... the scoring strike from Presley to Elder was the first touchdown pass of Presley’s career and the first TD reception of Elder’s career ... five of ASU’s seven scoring drives took two minutes or less ... for the season, 27 of the Mountaineers’ 56 touchdown drives have taken two minutes or less ... Appalachian moved to 7-2 all-time at Finley Stadium 4-2 vs. Chattanooga and 3-0 in national championship games ... ASU has won 21 of the last 24 over UTC ... the Mountaineers have won seven games in-a-row overall and 10-straight in SoCon play ... starting defensive tackle Malcolm Bennett was injured (ankle) during pregame warm-ups and missed the game ... his condition will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
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