BOONE, N.C. -- Sam Martin kicked four field goals, including two in the second half. to lift FCS consensus 12th-ranked Appalachian State past upset-minded Furman, 33-28, in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon in front of 28,986 fans at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Martin booted first half field goals covering 27 and 47 yards and then added two more in the second half to help the Mountaineers (8-3, 6-2 SoCon) overcome a 28-27 deficit en route to the victory, their ninth straight over the Paladins (3-7, 2-5 SoCon) in Boone.
"This is a tough place to win and Appalachian State is a good team playing for a conference championship," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler. "We played well at times but missed a lot of tackles. They also rushed the ball well on us, but we did some good things to hold them to five points in the second half and give ourselves a chance. Offensively, we just didn't get into any kind of rhythm, and we missed the field goal at the end of the first half that could have given us some momentum."
Furman true freshman linebacker Carl Rider gave the Paladins the 28-27 lead after scooping up a fumble near the ASU sideline and returning it 27 yards for a touchdown six minutes into the second half.
From that point, however, the game turned on Martin's accurate foot, as his 19-yard field goal on the ensuing possession put the Mountaineers up 30-28, and his 32-yard effort with 6:04 to go accounted for the game's final points.
Furman had opportunities over the last quarter and a half, but the Paladins' final five possessions ended with three punts and two interceptions, including a game ending pickoff by ASU's Troy Sanders at the Mountaineer 5 after Furman had moved from their own 1 to the ASU 37 over the contest's final two minutes.
With its offense struggling to find traction, Furman fell behind 10-0 before its special teams and defense came to the rescue. Jerodis Williams, who entered the game as the FCS leader in kickoff returns, got the Paladins on the board with a 100-yard kickoff return, his second of the season and seventh century mark return in school history.
Appalachian State answered with a 7-yard strike from Andrew Peacock to Drew Bailey to take a 17-7 lead, but the Palaidin defense countered with a Mitch McGrath sack of Mountaineer quarterback Jamal Jackson, whose fumble on the play was pounced on in the end zone by linebacker Gary Wilkins to make it a 17-14 game.
The Mountaineers took a 27-14 lead into halftime after Jackson connected with Peacock for an 18-yard strike with 24 seconds showing on the clock.
Furman took the second half kickoff and moved 75 yards in 10 plays to cut it to 27-21 on Hannon's 10-yard strike to Jordan Snellings.
On the game's next offensive play Austin Williams' hit on Appalachian State wide receiver Tony Washington dislodged the football, which Rider collected and rambled down the sideline 27 yards into the end zone to help give Furman its only lead of the contest.
Appalachian State rang up a 448-300 advantage in total offense, getting 332 yards passing from Jackson, who connected on 33-of-47 passes. He was sacked five times, however, and fumbled once.
Steven Miller paced ASU's ground game with 170 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Hannon completed 19-of-36 passes for 203 yards and a score to lead Furman, which was led on the ground by Williams, whose 14 carries netted 59 yards to give him 2,994 yards in his career.
Williams also topped the Paladins' receiving chart with a career high seven catches for 37 yards.
Peacock led all receivers with 11 grabs for 130 yards and a score.
McGrath topped Furman's defense with 11 stops, including a sack, a forced fumble, and three pass deflections.
ASU's Jeremy Kimbrough claimed game high tackle honors with 17 stops.
Jerodis Williams' 100-yard kickoff return against Appalachian State was his second 100-yard return of the season (100 vs. Western Carolina) and seventh 100-yard return in Furman history (107 seasons). Williams entered the game leading FCS in kickoff returns (11 returns, 36.8 avg.).
With five sacks against Appalachian State, Furman upped its season tally to 25, which eclipses last year's total of 21. The Paladins, who registered seven sacks in a 31-17 win over Elon on Oct. 27, have notched 12 quarterback take downs in the last two games.
Furman's seven pass deflections versus ASU marked a season high.
Redshirt freshman Tank Phillips started at right tackle versus Appalachian State in place of injured Charles Emert, who did not play.
Starting junior offensive guard Ryan Storms exited the game in the second quarter due to injury and was replaced by senior Will White.
True freshman linebacker Carl Rider's 27-yard fumble return gave Furman two fumble returns for scores in the last two games (Marcus McMorris school record 95-yard return for TD vs. Elon).
With four catches for 59 yards, Furman senior All-America tight end Colin Anderson upped his career numbers to 87 receptions for 1,498 yards, moving from 18th to 15th on Furman's career receptions ledger and from 13th to 12th in career yards. He is 67 yards shy of the all-time Furman receiving yards standard for tight ends, trailing only Luther Broughton (1,565 yards, 1993-96).
Senior All-SoCon defensive end Josh Lynn's sack against Appalachian State gave him 10 for his career and moved him into a tie for 10th place with Mike Hardy (1989-93) in Furman career sacks history.
Furman was shut out in the fourth quarter for the eighth time (in 10 games) this season and has been outscored 91-26 in the final frame in 2012.
Appalachian State's victory gave the Mountaineers a share of the 2012 SoCon championship (with Georgia Southern & Wofford) — the 12th by ASU to tie Furman for most in SoCon history.