College Football: Richmond 33, Appalachian State 13

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2008

Associated Press
BOONE ó Richmond made sure there will be a new national champion in the Football Championship Subdivision this season.
Josh Vaughan ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns to help the Spiders upset defending national champion Appalachian State 33-13 on Saturday in the FCS quarterfinals.
Richmond (11-3) advances to the FCS ó formerly Division 1-AA ó semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Spiders will face either New Hampshire or Northern Iowa next weekend.
“We’re happy to be moving on,” said Richmond head coach Mike London. “Anyone wanting to win the championship had to come through this place (Kidd Brewer Stadium, Appalachian State’s home field) … but we’ve been known to play really well in the second half.”
Eric Ward threw for 121 yards and ran for 91 more and a touchdown, and Andrew Howard and Brian Radford both added field goals for the Spiders, who snapped the Mountaineers’ 13-game playoff winning streak.
“This is a hard way to lose a football game,” Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore said. “We kept making so many mistakes that would take us out of scoring opportunities. … We’ve had guys step up and make plays all year long, but today we simply weren’t able to it, on both sides of the ball.”
Armanti Edwards threw for 323 yards and one touchdown and ran for another score for the three-time FCS champion Mountaineers (11-3). The two TDs gave Edwards 41 this season, breaking a Southern Conference record.
However, Appalachian State’s running game, which averaged more than 243 yards per game rushing this season, was held to just 39 yards. Edwards, who averaged more than 78 yards per game rushing, managed just three yards on eight carries.
“We knew (Edwards) was a high-powered quarterback,” said Richmond linebacker Patrick Weldon, who had 11 tackles and a sack. “He’s got a lot of quickness and a lot of speed, so we had to make sure we had everyone running to the ball. We contained him pretty well, and when he tried to get out of the pocket everyone really pursued him.”
Even worse, the Spiders forced Appalachian State into a season-worse seven turnovers ó a career-worst five interceptions by Edwards, and two fumbles by CoCo Hillary, that led to 24 second-half points for Richmond.
“We had a real good week of preparation,” said Richmond defensive back Seth Williams, who had three interceptions. “We had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do … and the guys up front made it possible for us to make plays.”
Williams returned his first two picks to inside the Appalachian State 5, setting up touchdown runs of 1 yard by Vaughan and 5 yards by Ward to put the Spiders ahead 23-7 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.
“The turnovers that were critical were the ones that gave them a short field,” Moore said. “When you’ve got that many critical turnovers, you’ve got your wagon in a ditch, and it’s pretty hard to get it out of there. … But it’s a credit to them that they were able to take advantage of the turnovers.”
The Mountaineers took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, driving 95 yards ó aided by a 15-yard face mask call, and a pass interference in the end zone on Richmond ó before Edwards scored on a 2-yard run with 2:58 left.
The Spiders had a chance to tie the game with Vaughan scoring on a 13-yard run with 4.2 seconds left in the first quarter to make the score 7-6. Howard bounced his extra-point attempt off the right upright.
Richmond then took the lead on Howard’s 36-yard field goal with 9:05 left in the third quarter. However, Howard also missed on two other field goal attempts ó a 35-yarder late in the second quarter, and a 33-yarder late in the third.
After the Spiders pulled ahead by two touchdowns, the Mountaineers closed to within 23-13 on Edwards’ 4-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Courman with 1:51 left in the third quarter. But Richmond added a 27-yard field goal by Radford and a 1-yard Vaughan TD run.
“This game is about opportunities,” said Courman, who had seven receptions for 63 yards. “We gave them a lot of opportunities, and we didn’t create any of our own.”