National Sports Briefs
By Mike Cranston
BOONE ó For those who forgot about Appalachian State, Armanti Edwards and the Mountaineers reminded them Friday that the three-time defending national champions are still dominant in college football’s second tier.
The dynamic Edwards was nearly perfect, throwing for a career-high 367 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for another score in Appalachian State’s 70-24 rout of Wofford.
The Mountaineers (7-2, 5-0 Southern Conference) scored TDs on their first six possessions to win their sixth straight game, and Edwards completed 17 of 19 passes and surpassed 9,000 yards of total offense in his career, a league record.
“We just made a statement to everybody,” Edwards said.
Throwing the ball more this season, the speedy Edwards showed off his arm strength in a dazzling performance that overwhelmed Wofford (6-2, 4-1). Brian Quick was his favorite target, catching four passes for 172 yards and three TDs.
Edwards also rushed for 73 yards and a 1-yard TD, finishing with 440 yards of total offense.
“What are you going to say? We’ve about said it all about him,” coach Jerry Moore said. “He’s an incredible player and leader.”
Ben Jorden caught two more scores, while safety Mark LeGree had three interceptions in slowing one of the top offenses in the championship subdivision.
While they don’t have a jaw-dropping win this year like last season’s victory over Michigan, Appalachian State showed a national television audience it has recovered from a 1-2 start that included losses to LSU and James Madison.
By improving to 39-1 in their last 40 home games, the Mountaineers also set themselves up for a December of home playoff games as they try to win a fourth straight FCS title.
“This was a huge ballgame. I think it was an over-the-hump ballgame for us,” Moore said. “Because who would have ever dreamed scoring 70 points on these guys.”
Wofford scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, but its option offense couldn’t keep up. Ben Widmyer threw his first two interceptions of the season, completing 5 of 10 passes for 74 yards and rushing for a TD before he was replaced late in the third quarter. Dane Romero rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns for the Terriers, whose lone loss before Friday came at South Carolina.
Wofford, which handed Appalachian State one of its two losses last year, gave up the most points since it moved to Division I in 1997, unable to contain the Mountaineers quick-strike offense.
“Armanti, he’s just a different guy,” Wofford coach Mike Ayers said. “They got us on the pass multiple times.”
The longest of Appalachian State’s touchdown drives lasted less than 5 minutes. Edwards tossed 23- and 48-yard touchdown passes to Jorden. The left-hander showed his arm strength on TD strikes of 58, 50 and 31 yards to the speedy Quick. Their first TD gave Appalachian State a 35-14 lead with 10:59 left in the second quarter.
Devin Radford added 69 yards rushing a TD.
It took much of the luster off what was a matchup of teams ranked in the top five of both FCS polls, which produced a school-record crowd of 30,931.
“It was a great stage, great opportunity, for us to make a statement and show everybody the potential we have on our team,” Jorden said. “We hadn’t really played a complete game, so this was our chance.”
Wofford, which came with only five turnovers, doubled that total. The Terriers were undone early when LeGree picked off Widmyer shortly after Appalachian State took the lead for good at 21-14. LeGree got Widmyer again in the third quarter, and picked off backup Mitch Allen in the fourth.
Appalachian State finished with 620 yards.
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