Zobel Boots The Citadel Past Appalachian State, 24-21
Sept. 27, 2003
Charleston, SC - Senior place-kicker Travis Zobel connected on a 26-yard field goal with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter to propel The Citadel past Appalachian State 24-21 in Southern Conference football action, Saturday afternoon in Johnson Hagood Stadium.
"It was a great win for the players, coaches, and fans. We faced adversity several times today but came back great," Citadel head coach Ellis Johnson stated. "The preparation for Appalachian State was good this week and it showed on the field today."
Appalachian State (1-3, 0-1 SoCon) rallied back on the ensuing possession as freshman running back Alan Atwater sprinted 34 yards for a touchdown with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown scamper ended a five-play, 65-yard drive that lasted 2:51 and pushed the Mountaineers to a 7-6 lead in the contest.
The second quarter was a defensive battle as both teams combined for a total of six punts before Citadel senior tight end Chris Franklin hauled in a two-yard Willie Simmons pass to put The Citadel up 12-7. The Bulldogs then attempted a two-point play and were penalized and moved back to the eight yard line. The Citadel again attempted the two-point conversion and Mountaineer junior defensive back Jay Lyles intercepted the Simmons pass attempt, as he started to run the pass back Bulldog fullback Porter Johnson jarred the ball loose into the hands of offensive tackle Lew Dawson. Dawson then rumbled two yards for the conversion pushing The Citadel advantage to 14-7 at the half.
Appalachian State owned the third quarter as they scored two touchdowns in the frame. The Mountaineers capitalized on a muffed punt that resulted in a recovery by Gerald Kennedy on The Citadel's 22-yard line. Quarterback Richie Williams capped off the possession with a one-yard plunge to tie the game at 14-14. The two teams exchanged fumbles before ASU wideout Sterling Hayward hooked up with Williams for a 62-yard scoring pass. The score pushed the Mountaineer advantage to 21-14.
The fourth quarter belonged to The Citadel as they tallied a touchdown and the eventual game-winning field goal. The biggest play of the quarter came as Zobel pulled down a fake punt and rumbled 20 yards for the first down. Three plays later Scooter Johnson scampered 44-yards on an end-around for the score that tied the game. The Bulldogs' defense did the rest as senior safety Anthony Roberts picked off an errant Williams pass at the Appalachian 34 and returned the ball to the 25-yard line. The offense pushed the ball to the eight-yard line where Zobel connected on the game-winning field goal.
"There were three or four times when we were on the verge of being in field goal range early on, but we moved backwards due to mistakes and had to play field position and punt," Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore stated. "We made too many mistakes. I am disappointed in how many times we took ourselves out of situations to win."
Of note, Scooter Johnson extended his streak of games with at least one catch to 18 and Bud Pough extended his same streak to 12. Appalachian's Hayward's reception of 62 yards was the longest of his career. Defensively James Wilson had two sacks for the Bulldogs, a career high for the North Myrtle Beach native.
The Citadel returns to action next weekend as they take on Elon on October 4th at 2 pm in Johnson Hagood. Appalachian State returns home to take on East Tennessee State at 3:30 pm in Boone.