BOONE, N.C. -- Travaris Cadet rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns to lift FCS No. 1-ranked Appalachian State to a 37-26 win over Furman in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Cadet scored Appalachian State's first two touchdowns of the game with 9 and 1-yard runs, helping the Mountaineers to a 14-6 halftime lead, and tallied his third score on a 1-yard plunge with nine minutes to go in the contest to give ASU a 35-20 advantage.
The win was the sixth straight for Appalachian State (8-0, 6-0 SoCon) over Furman (4-4, 2-3 SoCon) and eighth consecutive triumph over the Paladins in Boone.
"We played hard but didn't execute well enough to beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country," said Furman head coach Bobby Lamb. "We had some opportunities early to put the ball in the end zone but had to settle for field goals. You have to score touchdowns against them."
Furman trailed 28-20 heading to the fourth quarter before Appalachian State drove from its own 39 to the Paladin 4, where on a third-and-two play Cadet was hit by and fumbled the football, which bounded haphazardly into the end zone. As Paladin rover Max Lerner dove to corral the pigskin he was hit from behind by Cadet, and the ball hit off Lerner's extended hand out the back of the end zone for an apparent touchback; however, the linesman in the stadium flagged Furman for illegal touching, ruling Lerner had intentionally knocked the ball out of the end zone, and ASU was awarded the ball first-and-goal at the Paladin 1. Cadet then followed up the improbable second chance by scoring on the next play to give the Mountaineers a 35-20 lead with 9:27 left.
The Paladins were forced to punt on their next possession, but got the ball back when linebacker Chris Wiley pounced on a Cadet fumble at the Furman 48. A 22-yard pass from Cody Worley to Colin Anderson moved the ball to the ASU 30, and after converting a 4-and-11 play to the Mountaineer 20, Worley completed three more passes, including a 6-yard strike to Daniel McFadden on a post route for the score with 2:38 remaining. Furman's PAT attempt to pull within eight points, however, was blocked and scooped up by ASU's Troy Sanders, who returned it down the sideline to the end zone for two points and a 37-26 lead.
Forced to start their first two possession from their 1 and 13-yard lines, the Paladins couldn't manage a first down and were forced to punt three times in the first quarter.
Appalachian State used the field advantage to set up its first score, moving just 37 yards in eight plays, the last coming on Cadet's 9-yard scoring run off the left side with 6:27 remaining in the opening period.
The Paladin offense found forward gear on its first possession of the second period. Using a roughing the passer penalty on ASU and a 33-yard by Jerry Williams to the Mountaineer 10, Furman had second-and-goal from the 3-yard line but was forced to settle for a Ray Early 20-yard field goal.
Furman's defense put the Paladins in business a short while later when linebacker Kadarron Anderson intercepted a pass by ASU quarterback DeAndre Presley and returned it 26 yards to the Mountaineer 11. Seven plays later, and aided by a roughing the passer call on holder Bryan Hayes' pass following a botched field goal snap, Early delivered his second field goal of the contest, a 21-yarder to cut ASU's lead to 7-6.
The Mountaineers responded on the ensuing possession by moving 60 yards in six plays for Cadet's second score of the contest, a 1-yard run with 3:28 remaining in the first half for a 14-6 lead.
Furman's lone turnover of the game came early in the third quarter and proved to be costly. A bad handoff exchange in the backfield was scooped up by Mountaineer defensive lineman Jabari Fletcher, who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown less than a minute into the second half for a 21-6 lead.
An unsportsmanlike penalty was assessed on Fletcher's whirling dive into the end zone, forcing ASU to kickoff from their 15. Then on the kickoff the Mountaineers were flagged for another personal foul, giving Furman the ball at the ASU 41. From there Sederrik Cunningham, operating out the wildcat formation, lofted a pass behind the Mountaineer secondary and into the hands of David Hendrix at the ASU 2, and Tersoo Uhaa bulled over to make it a 21-13 game.
Appalachian State fashioned an 11-play, 64-yard drive to take 1 28-13 advantage following a 5-yard scoring strike from Presley to tight end Ben Jorden.
A 30-yard run by Cunningham helped Furman respond with an 8-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Worley to Jerry Williams with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Appalachian State fashioned a 398-261 advantage in total offense and reeled off 84 snaps to Furman's 55. ASU also forged a 36:37-23:33 margin in possession time.
The Paladins were credited with a season high 10 tackles for loss, including two by cornerback Ryan Steed.
Kadarron Anderson's second quarter interception was the first of his career.. The interception also halted a string of 246 consecutive ASU pass attempts against Furman without a pickoff, dating from 2002.
Chas Short's 62-yard punt was the longest of his career.
Appalachian State's two-point defensive play was the third one allowed by Furman: vs. ASU (2002), vs. Coastal Carolina (2006), and vs. ASU (2010).
Furman is now 2-6 versus FCS No. 1-ranked teams.