Courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics
BOONE, N.C. â€” Led by 386 yards of total offense from DeAndre Presley (Tampa, Fla./Middleton), No. 3 Appalachian State University football overcame its second-straight slow start to rout visiting Jacksonville, 45-14, on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Presley became the first player in Appalachian history to rack up 300 yards of total offense in three of his first four career starts by throwing for 285 yards and rushing for 101 in the home-opening win. The junior completed 20-of-31 passes without an interception and threw for a career-best four touchdowns. His 386 yards of total offense were a career high and rank 20th all-time at ASU.
Despite Presleyâ€™s heroics, Saturdayâ€™s victory did not come easy at first, as first-half turnovers plagued the Mountaineers for the second-straight week. ASU did not punt in the first half but led only 17-7 at halftime thanks to losing two fumbles, like it did in last Saturdayâ€™s opener at Chattanooga, and having a third drive stall on downs inside the Jacksonville 20.
The slim lead became even more tenuous when Jacksonville marched 78 yards on its first possession of the second half and scored on a two-yard run by J.J. Laster to cut the deficit to 17-14.
From there, however, it was all Appalachian (2-0, 1-0 SoCon). Each of the Mountaineersâ€™ next four possessions ended in touchdowns, with the first three drives all covering at least 82 yards. The highlight of the onslaught was a diving 41-yard touchdown catch by Brian Quick (Columbia, S.C./Ridge View), his third score of the afternoon. The junior finished with 132 receiving yards on six receptions, including the career-high-tying three touchdowns. The 100-yard receiving effort was the fifth of his career and his second in two games this season, giving him back-to-back 100-yard performances for the first time. He also hauled in multiple touchdown passes for the fourth time in his career.
ASUâ€™s defense also played a huge role in the late surge, as it limited JUâ€™s dangerous offense to just 52 yards over the final 25:02 of the ballgame. Buck Buchanan Award candidate Mark LeGree (Columbus, Ga./Pacelli Catholic) led the defensive effort with a team-high eight tackles and an interception in the ASU end zone that thwarted the Dolphinsâ€™ final scoring opportunity of the afternoon.
In all, Appalachian out-gained Jacksonville (1-1), 620-257, and held a 36-13 edge in first downs.
Besides Quickâ€™s three touchdowns, tight end Ben Jorden (Weddington, N.C./Charlotte Latin) hauled in Presleyâ€™s fourth scoring strike from six yards out and Devon Moore (Mebane, N.C./Cedar Ridge) and Jamal Jackson (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta) found paydirt on runs of two and three yards, respectively, to round out the scoring for the Apps.
However, the player of the game may have been true freshman walk-on Patrick Blalock (Asheville, N.C./A.C. Reynolds), who enjoyed a spectacular day on special teams. Blalock recorded ASUâ€™s first punt block in three years and nearly became the just the third player in school history to notch two blocked punts in a game, only to have his second block negated by an offsides penalty. In addition to the blocked punt â€” ASUâ€™s first since current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Corey Lynch did it at Elon in 2007 â€” and the near block, Blalock also registered four tackles on special teams.
Jacksonville quarterback Josh McGregor completed just 13-of-30 passes for 169 yards, 142 less than he posted in last weekâ€™s win over Old Dominion. Running back Rudell Smith was limited to just 44 yards â€” 74 less than he had at ODU â€” and wide receiver Josh Philpart, who caught six passes for 115 yards last week was held without a reception.
Standing at 2-0 for only the second time in the past 12 seasons, Appalachian closes out a two-game homestand next Saturday when it hosts in-state rival North Carolina Central. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.