BOONE — Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore has long preached to his players about keeping mistakes to a minimum.
The lectures apparently didnt take Saturday, as the Mountaineers made a slew of errors in a 38-28 Southern Conference loss to Wofford.
Eric Breitenstein, who went to high school down the street at Watauga, ran for 123 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdowns for the Terriers (6-1, 4-1), who moved into second place in the league standings, a half game back of Georgia Southern.
Brian Kass and Cam Flowers added TD runs and Kasey Redfern had a 29-yard field goal for Wofford, which battled through a back-and-forth third quarter before pulling away in the fourth.
It was a tough ballgame to lose, Moore said. We invested so much, and every indication said we were ready to play. But it was a rough day, and you cant have a rough day against a good ballclub like that.
Appalachian State quarterback Jamal Jackson threw for 257 yards and ran for one touchdown, Steven Miller added 68 yards rushing and one score, and the Mountaineers (5-3, 3-2) came up with big scoring plays from its defense and special teams.
This is one of those games that I guarantee you, Im going to cherish, Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. A lot of times we come up here, we get blown out of the park.
However, two mistakes in particular proved to be backbreakers for the Mountaineers, who dropped into a tie for fourth place in the league standings with Samford and The Citadel.
Down 31-28 early in the fourth quarter, Jackson was attempting to throw the ball away while in the grasp of a Wofford defender. Instead, officials ruled it a fumble, which Terriers defensive end Tarek Odom returned 40 yards for a touchdown and a 10-point Wofford lead.
I saw Steven (Miller) in the flat, said Jackson, who was sacked three times and kept under constant pressure by Woffords defense. I thought my arm went forward, but they ruled it a fumble. That was that.
Appalachian State got the ball back and drove to the Wofford 7 with 5:06 remaining, but Mountaineers kicker Drew Stewart who was 4-for-4 on extra-points shanked a 24-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Missing that field goal was a big, emotional letdown for us, Moore said. That let the air out of our balloon.
Those werent the only mistakes Appalachian State made Saturday, but the Mountaineers still managed to overcome a 10-point deficit early in the second quarter.
ASU got back in the game thanks to Joel Ross 47-yard fumble return for a score and Millers second-effort 12-yard TD run, which left the Mountaineers down 17-14 at the half.
Jackson gave Appalachian State its first lead with his 1-yard TD run midway through the third quarter, and Tony Washingtons 99-yard kickoff return for a score later in the quarter put the Mountaineers up 28-24 with 4:54 left.
Those were two big, dramatic changes in the game, Moore said. We had a lot of momentum, and the roof kinda caved in on us.