3:30 PM ET, September 15, 2007
Kidd Brewer Stadium, BOONE, NC
BOONE, N.C. (AP) -- Trey Elder threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 82 yards, helping Appalachian State pull away from Northern Arizona 34-21 on Saturday to extend Division I's longest winning streak to 17 games.
Two weeks after stunning Michigan and a week after beating up on Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, the Mountaineers (3-0) held only a 7-point lead heading into the fourth quarter in their first game against a Football Championship Subdivision -- formerly Division I-AA -- team.
But two turnovers allowed the Mountaineers, the top-ranked team in the FCS, to take control. Two plays after Justin Woazeah intercepted Lance Kriesien, Elder's screen pass to Kevin Richardson turned into a 47-yard touchdown.
Five minutes later, punt returner K.J. Gerard's fumble was scooped up by Cortez Gilbert and returned 32 yards for a 34-13 lead with 4:40 left.
Richardson, a running back, had seven catches for a career-high 122 yards and two TDs, while Elder, filling in for injured starter Armanti Edwards, threw for 216 yards as the Mountaineers overcame a slow start to win their 29th straight home game.
Kriesien rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown, but completed only 14 of 35 passes for 171 yards and a score for the Lumberjacks (1-2), who squandered chances early.
Alex Henderson and Lionel Scott combined to rush for 111 yards in a game between two spread offenses that resulted in 34 quarterback carries.
The win over Michigan was still fresh in the minds of the 27,104 fans who jammed into Kidd Brewer Stadium for the second straight week. Safety Corey Lynch, whose blocked field goal on the final play preserved the 34-32 win, got the loudest ovation when the starters were introduced.
One fan sitting in the student section had "34-32" painted on his bare chest. Others wore black T-shirt that read "Down South We Play Football" with the Michigan score underneath.
But the Lumberjacks, of the Big Sky Conference, weren't intimidated -- even after 12 hours of traveling by plane and bus a day earlier. Their defense forced three straight three-and-outs to begin the game, and Robbie Dehaze's 38-yard field goal put Northern Arizona ahead.
However, the Lumberjacks, playing their first game against a top-ranked team since routing McNeese State in the 2003 playoffs, wasted opportunities. Dehaze shanked a 19-yard field goal attempt and had a 23-yarder at the end of the first half blocked by Jerome Touchstone.
Elder, starting for the second straight game, threw two first half touchdown passes, a 34-yarder across the field to Richardson and a 12-yard strike to Hans Batichon that gave Appalachian a 14-6 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers stressed the running game to start the second half, with Elder and Richardson leading two drives that ended in Julian Rauch field goals. But they remained sluggish. Dexter Jackson, 10 yards clear of the closest defender, dropped a sure touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Kriesien's 18-yard touchdown pass to Skyler Moore cut the lead to 20-13 heading to the fourth quarter.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|FG||08:14||Robbie Dehaze 38 Yd||3||0|
|TD||14:51||Kevin Richardson 34 Yd Pass From Trey Elder (Julian Rauch Kick)||3||7|
|FG||12:21||Robbie Dehaze 39 Yd||6||7|
|TD||09:07||Hans Batichon 12 Yd Pass From Trey Elder (Julian Rauch Kick)||6||14|
|FG||11:39||Julian Rauch 30 Yd||6||17|
|FG||05:08||Julian Rauch 20 Yd||6||20|
|TD||02:13||Skylar Moore 18 Yd Pass From Lance Kriesien (Robbie Dehaze Kick)||13||20|
|TD||09:50||Kevin Richardson 47 Yd Pass From Trey Elder (Julian Rauch Kick)||13||27|
|TD||04:40||Cortez Gilbert 32 Yd Fumble Return (Julian Rauch Kick)||13||34|
|TD||02:25||Lance Kriesien 1 Yd Run (Ryan Rauschert Run For Two-Point Conversion)||21||34|