App State survives scare from ElonFisher, a former Tuscola standout, a key to comeback
BOONE — Jamal Jackson set career highs with 398 yards of total offense and five touchdowns accounted for to lead No. 15 Appalachian State to a hard-fought 35-24 victory over visiting Elon on Saturday afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Starting his sixth straight game at center for App State was former Tuscola High standout Graham Fisher, a redshirt sophomore.
Jackson also set career highs with four touchdown passes and 94 rushing yards in Appalachian State’s 17th-straight victory over Elon. The junior finished with 304 yards on 20-of-29 passing and had a rushing touchdown to go along with his four scores through the air.
Despite Jackson’s gaudy numbers, the game was a battle for Appalachian (4-2, 2-1 SoCon), which overcame a career-high 419 passing yards by Elon’s Thomas Wilson to pull away from the Phoenix in the second half.
The Mountaineers struggled on both sides of the ball throughout the first half but thanks to a career-long 54-yard touchdown catch by Tony Washington with 1:01 to go before halftime, they took a 14-10 advantage into the break. Appalachian’s halftime lead came despite allowing Elon to amass 293 yards in the first two periods while going three-and-out on three of its first six offensive possessions and throwing an interception on a fourth.
Elon (2-4) regained the lead at 17-14 on its first possession of the second half but three series later, the Mountaineers took the lead for good when Andrew Peacock capped a six-play, 93-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown catch that pushed the Apps ahead, 21-17.
Senior running back Steven Miller, who was Appalachian’s unlikely receiving leader with five receptions for 97 yards and two touchdowns (all career highs), gave Appalachian its first two-score cushion two possessions later when he hauled in his second touchdown catch of the day from 23 yards out that stretched the advantage to 28-17.
Just 1:21 later, Elon pulled back within five points at 28-23 on Aaron Mellette’s third touchdown catch of the day but following a 35-yard kickoff return by Washington, Appalachian marched 62 yards on seven plays and took a 35-23 lead on Jackson’s one-yard touchdown run on fourth down.
From there, Appalachian’s defense took over, limiting Elon to 25 yards the rest of the way. The Apps ended any hopes of an Elon comeback when they picked off Wilson for the third time on the Phoenix’s final offensive play.