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Originally published: 2012-11-15 10:49:29
Last modified: 2012-11-15 10:49:29

Mountaineers claims SoCon championship with Senior Day victory

Troy Sanders intercepted a pass at the ASU five-yard line as time expired to give the No. 12-ranked Mountaineers its record-tying 12th Southern Conference championship with a 33-28 triumph over Furman at Kidd Brewer Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 10.

ASU (8-3, 6-2 SoCon) led 27-14 at halftime, but Furman (3-7, 2-5 SoCon) scored two touchdowns in an 18-second span early in the third quarter to take a 28-27 lead. Buoyed by a defense that allowed only one touchdown all afternoon and two second-half field goals from Sam Martin, however, the Mountaineers took a 33-28 lead with 6:04 left in the ballgame.

A 62-yard punt by Martin with less then three minutes remaining pinned Furman at its own one-yard line, but the Paladins clawed its way out of the shadow of their goal post and, thanks to third-down and fourth-down conversions on the series, drove all the way to the ASU 42 with six seconds to play. FU’s last-ditch pass attempt was picked off by Sanders and the senior co-captain slid to the ground as the clock struck zero, setting off a wild on-field celebration that included many of the 28,986 fans in attendance for the title-clinching triumph. 

ASU dominated the action for much of the afternoon, but surrendered three non-offensive touchdowns on a 100-yard kickoff return and a pair of fumble recoveries that allowed Furman to stay in the game. The Mountaineers outgained the Paladins, 488-300 in total yards, and also held significant statistical advantages in first downs (27-16), rushing yards (149-97), passing yards (339-203), third-down conversions (6 of 15-5 of 14) and time of possession (32:58-27:02). 

Offensively, ASU was led by Andrew Peacock, who set career highs with 11 receptions and 130 receiving yards and also threw a seven-yard touchdown to Drew Bailey on the first pass attempt of his career. He almost added a touchdown run to the scoring pass and catch but a would-be seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was negated by a holding penalty.

Freshman Sean Price also surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark, finishing with 115 yards on 10 catches to give ASU two 100-yard receivers in a game for only the fourth time in school history.

Quarterback Jamal Jackson finished with 332 yards on 32-of-46 passing, making him just the fourth passer in ASU history with back-to-back 300-yard performances, and running back Steven Miller rounded out the offensive leaders with 170 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.

Defensively, Jeremy Kimbrough led the way with a career-high 17 tackles. Sanders chipped in with seven tackles, a pass breakup and the game-ending interception, while Patrick Blalock added six stops, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

ASU has completed its regular season schedule and will learn its postseason fate on Sunday, Nov. 18, when the 20-team NCAA Division I Football Championship bracket is unveiled.

Men’s basketball trounces Montreat in regular-season debut

ASU men’s basketball jumped out to a 23-point lead less than nine minutes into the game and cruised to an 86-54 season-opening win over Montreat on Friday, Nov. 9, at Holmes Convocation Center.

ASU (1-0) outscored Montreat (1-2), 26-3 in a 4:55 span early in the ballgame to take a commanding 28-5 lead with 11:21 to play in the first half. The Mountaineers expanded its advantage to as many as 28 points in the opening period and led by as many as 40 points in the second half.

The Mountaineers limited Montreat to just 37.0 percent (10-for-27) shooting from the floor through the first 20 minutes, while converting 42.1 percent (16-of-38) of its own shots in the first half, including 7-of-15 from beyond the arc.

In the second half, ASU’s lead was cut to 21 points at 48-27 in the opening minutes, but the team found its footing again and eventually pushed the lead to 40 points (82-42) with less than four minutes to play.

Hamilton led the way with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range, while freshman Frank Eaves came off the bench to score 16 points in his collegiate debut. Senior Nathan Healy made 5-of-6 shots from the field to round out three Mountaineers in double-figures with 12 points.

ASU hosted High Point University earlier this week and travels to Campbell this Friday, Nov. 16, to open a three-game road trip.