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Mountaineers Drop 2008 Opener to LSU, 41-13
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Saturday 08/30/2008 (ET)
Courtesy: Keith Cline
Jacque Roman had a game-high 12 tackles and an interception in season-opening Saturday's loss to LSU.

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BATON ROUGE, La. A year after stunning the college-football world with a season-opening victory at Michigan, No. 1 (FCS) Appalachian State University football couldn’t repeat the same feat at LSU in the 2008 season opener, falling 41-13 to No. 7 (FBS) LSU at Tiger Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

LSU’s front lines stymied the Mountaineers all day, as the Tigers rushed for 266 yards while limiting the Appalachian ground attack to just 52 rushing yards on 28 carries. Charles Scott did the majority of LSU’s work on the ground with 160 yards and two scores on 16 carries. ASU quarterback Armanti Edwards, facing strong pressure all afternoon, completed 13 of his 31 attempts for 155 yards to pace an offensive attack that had difficulty getting in rhythm before the hostile crowd of 91,922. His target of choice for most of the afternoon was CoCo Hillary set career highs with nine receptions for 80 yards.

Appalachian appeared to emerge from the locker room at halftime invigorated, forcing a three-and-out on LSU’s first possession and then stalling the Tigers’ second series of the half. The Mountaineers took over possession on their own 40-yard line and marched 74 yards to cross the goal line for the first time with a 44-yard strike from Edwards to Robert Welton on a route out of the backfield. The 44-yard touchdown pass, ASU’s longest offensive play of the game, capped a 7-play, 60-yard drive.

After a 33-yard field goal from LSU’s Josh Jasper made the score 34-7, the Mountaineer defense continued to make plays with Jacque Roman picking off a Jarrett Lee pass on the LSU 24 yard line near the end of the third quarter. Roman returned the ball to the 11 yard line but the Mountaineer offense couldn’t fully capitalize on the field position, settling for a 24-yard Jason Vitaris field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.

LSU extended its lead to 41-10 on Brandon LaFell’s second touchdown catch of the afternoon, a 39-yard connection from Lee with a 10:03 left in the contest. The Mountaineers narrowed that margin on their final possession of the game as freshman quarterback DeAndre Presley drove the Apps to the LSU 13 yard line with a 32-yard pass to Devin Radford. Presley was shaken up on the play and a botched snap and a sack quickly forced the Mountaineers to settle for a 44-yard field goal from Vitaris to close the scoring.

The Tigers jumped to a quick 14-0 lead with 5:40 remaining in the first quarter, needing just two plays from scrimmage to take a 7-0 lead after the Apps’ opening drive stalled at LSU’s 36-yard line. Taking over after a failed fourth-down conversion, Scott went 55 yards on the Tigers’ first play from scrimmage all the way to the ASU 8-yard line. On the very next play, Scott scored from eight yards out.

The Tigers’ ensuing possession found paydirt when a 10-play, 56-yard drive culminated with a 17-yard pass from Andrew Hatch to Demetrius Bryd. Appalachian’s defense began to settle down at the onset of the second quarter when the ASU linebacking corps made a pair of stops at its own 3 yard line to limit the Tigers to a 21-yard field goal that gave LSU a 17-0 lead. D.J. Smith made both of the big stands with Pierre Banks and Roman assisting on one each to stymie the 9-play, 60-yard drive. For the game, Roman led the Apps with 12 tackles and Smith chipped in 11.

LSU added to its first-half lead with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter to carry a 31-0 lead into halftime. The Tigers added points on a 31-yard Jarrett Lee pass to a wide open Brandon LaFell with 5:35 left before intermission. A 29-yard touchdown jaunt by Scott on fourth-and-inches with less than a minute to play in the opening half gave the Tigers’ the 31-0 halftime advantage.

In all, the Tigers out-gained the Apps, 323-119, in the first half, with 193 of those yards coming on the ground. Scott accounted for 144 rushing yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

The Mountaineers open their 2008 home slate next Saturday when they host Jacksonville at 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

POSTGAME NOTES: Eight Mountaineers made their first career starts (DT Malcolm Bennett, WR Blake Elder, WR B.J. Frazier, WR CoCo Hillary, DB Mark LeGree, DE Quavian Lewis, DB Dominique McDuffie and WR Brian Quick) ... Robert Welton’s 44-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter were the first reception and touchdown of the sophomore’s career ... Jacque Roman’s third-quarter interception was the first of his career and it set up the first field goal of kicker Jason Vitaris’ career ... the crowd of 91,922 at Tiger Stadium was the second-largest to ever see ASU play, behind only the 109,218 on hand for last year’s opener at Michigan ... the crowd included a contingent of 3,500 Mountaineer faithful ... six true freshmen played in their first collegiate games Demery Brewer, Wilson Fitchett, Ed Gainey, McDuffie, DeAndre Presley and Lanston Tanyi ... due to the time change associated with Louisiana’s preparations for Hurricane Gustav, the game was broadcast on ESPN Classic and ASU’s perfect 12-0 record on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU remained intact ... however, Appalachian’s 13-game winning streak in nationally televised games was snapped ... it was the Mountaineers’ first loss on national TV since a 24-14 setback to Wofford on The Football Network in 2003.

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