Appalachian State Drops 38-37 Decision To Illinois State In Second Round Playoff Matchup
BOONE, N.C.–Illinois State defensive tackle Shelby Harris blocked Sam Martin’s potential game-tying PAT attempt in overtime, which allowed the Redbirds to send Appalachian State out of the playoffs, 38-37, for the second-straight season in the second round Saturday night at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
After Andrew Peacock hauled in a 4-yard scoring pass from Jamal Jackson to make it 38-37 in the first overtime, all Martin needed to do was convert the kick to force a second overtime period after Illinois State opened overtime with a 25-yard scoring connection between Redbird quarterback Matt Brown and wide receiver James O’Shaughnessy.
However, Martin’s potential game-tying PAT was blocked by Harris, effectively ending the Mountaineers’ season.Brown, who was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 2012, connected 20-of-32 passes for 322 yards and five TDs without an INT to lead an Illinois State offense that racked up 418 total yards.
Brown’s favorite target on the day was Tyrone Walker, who hauled in a season-best 10 catches for 176 yards and two TDs. Walker, who went over 1,000 yards receiving for the season with his superlative effort Saturday, was joined in those solid receiving efforts by Shaughnessy (3 rec, 78 yds, 2 TDs) and Donovan Harden (5 rec, 68 yds, 1 TD).
Appalachian State was led by another strong performance from junior quarterback Jamal Jackson, who connected on 33-for-45 passing for 373 yards, with two TDs and an INT. Jackson finished the 2012 season with 3,278 yards passing for the season, which was just 14 yards shy of breaking Armanti Edwards’ single-season passing record of 3,291 passing yards set in the 2008 season.
“Appalachian’s Sean Price caught a game-high 13 passes for 167 yards. In the process, he became the all-time NCAA Division I FCS freshman leader in receptions (81) and receiving yards (1,196), shattering the previous records of 71 receptions (set by Cal State Northridge’s Drew Amerson in 1999) and 1,073 yards (set by Marshall’s Randy Moss in 1996).” (taken from GoASU.com game recap)
Neither team ran the ball particularly well, with Illinois State able to muster a 96-51 advantage in the total rushing yards ledger on the day. Steven Miller, playing in his final game for the Mountaineers, finished his career as a Mountaineer running back with 1,748 yards after rushing for 61 yards on 17 carries on Saturday. Illinois State was led on the ground by Darrelynn Dunn, who rushed for 67 yards on 21 carries.
The Mountaineers found themselves having to battle back from deficits for most of the afternoon, and the Black and Gold trailed the contest 28-17 with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter.
However, the Mountaineers would put together back-to-back scoring drives, sandwiched by an Illinois State field goal, as time expired with the game tied, 31-31.
Defensively, Appalachian State was led by senior linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough, who was playing final his final game in front of Mountaineer fans, posting 15 tackles, 3.5 TFL and a sack to lead the Mountaineer defense in the loss.
Illinois State was led on the defensive side of the football by safety Ben Ericksen, who posted 12 stops while reserve cornerback Matt Goldsmith added 10 stops and a pair of PBUs in the win.
With the win, Illinois State improved to 9-3 and will travel to Eastern Washington for a quarterfinal matchup with the Eagles next Saturday. The Eagles posted a 29-19 win over Wagner in a second-round matchup last night. Appalachian State concludes its season at 8-4 for the second-straight season.