"The Rock" at Appalachian State is just as solid in night, if not more, than it is in the day.
The Mountaineers (2-1) knocked off their second straight MEAC team, Savannah State (0-3), in only the third Saturday night game held at Kidd-Brewer Stadium since 2001.
Saturday's victory comes one week after ASU demolished the TIgers' fellow-conference member North Carolina A&T.
"I think today was a good win for us," said ASU coach Jerry Moore. "I know we have better players than they've got. You don't know how the team is going to react to that. Sometimes you come out and lay an egg, but we played very well especially early in the game."
It was another milestone week for Appalachian State. One game after giving Moore his 200th as ASU coach, quarterback DeAndre Presley became the seventh player in the history of the Mountaineers' program to go over 5,000 yards of total offense. He entered Saturday's game with 4,918 yards of total offense.
"I didn't know about it until someone told me today," Presley said. "I really don't know about it. It really is an honor. I've worked hard. I haven't really thought about breaking records. I just want to go out, take care of the football and make sure at the end of a possession for us, we score."
Taking a 10-0 early halftime lead behind a two-yard scoring run from Travaris Cadet and 41-yard field goal from Sam Martin, ASU's biggest offensive scoring play in the game came with 8:10 left in the second
Presley found receiver Brian Quick on the right side of the field for a long 48-yard touchdown throw-and-catch. It was Quick's 24th career touchdown, moving him into sole possession of second-place all-time in receiving TDs at ASU.
Presley finished the first half completing 11-of-14 passes for 186 yards and the touchdown to Quick.
After a change in possession, the Mountaineers had their longest scoring drive — 83 yards in nine plays — ending on a two-yard quarterback keeper by Presley.
The ASU defense harassed Tigers quarterbacks in the first half. Starter Alfred Defilippis was sacked three times, including fumbling the football once. When he left the game due to an injury, the Mountaineers continued to be relentless against back-up Antonio Bostick, who was brought down twice.
Despite the pressure, both quarterbacks were fairly accurate and did not throw an interception, but neither scored a touchdown either. The Tigers had 97 yards of total offense on 31 plays in the half.
With just over 31 seconds remaining in the half, ASU attempted to put one more score on the board, hoping for a touchdown. That wouldn't happen, but they would get the next best thing.
Kicker Sam Martin, the SoCon Special Teams Player of the Week from two weeks ago, successfully converted a 51-yard field goal with time expiring, carrying both teams into the locker room with ASU leading, 27-0.
"That's always a kickers dream," Martin said of his last-second field goal. "I went out, looked at the clock with 0.7 seconds left and thought of it as a last-second field goal. The first person I thanked was DeAndre for getting the ball down there. We didn't have much time left. We were on the other side of the 50-yard line. In 2-3 plays, he put us in field goal range. I was really hoping we'd get there."
The boot by Martin was the second-straight week he's drilled a kick of that same distance, tying the school's seventh best field goal mark. The longest is a 57-yarder hit by Mark Wright against Troy State in Sept. 2000.
Up big at the half, coach Moore used the second half to build depth. He said he's used the first three games of the season to give many of his players opportunities to get action in games.
"It's huge for us," Moore said. "We've probably played 50 guys in all three ball games this year. One of the things I have to do is be patient with everything that is involved. We have two or three freshman that are playing in the secondary. They are going to be good players. We've got to be patient with them and not overload their circuits. We can't put a lot of stuff in."
Reserves in quarterback Jamal Jackson and running back Steven Miller got plenty of action in the second half. Miller rushed for 56 of his 61 yards in the half, while Jackson carried the ball four times for 28 yards.
Both men had scores in the half. Miller plunged in from three yards out in the third quarter, while Jackson rushed for a impressive 16-yard score for the final tally of the game.
The Tigers' Bostick ended the shut out late in the game, helping guide his team to a score. With 10:51 remaining in the game, the quarterback led a drive that was capped by his two-yard touchdown run.
The score cut the deficit but, the Tigers scored no more. The Mountaineers won their second-straight game heading into SoCon play against No. 14 Chattanooga next week at home at 3:30 p.m.
Moore has been impressed with what he's seen so far this season from the Mocs (2-1) and says the familiarity of their next opponent is a benefit.
"We'll know a little bit more about Chattanooga," Moore said. "We didn't know a lot about Savannah State. The rest of these games, I promise you, we'll know more about this team."