CULLOWHEE — Appalachian State picked the perfect opponent to break in a back-up quarterback against.
Starter Jamal Jackson went down with a knee injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s game at Western Carolina, but reserve Logan Hallock came in and had a record-breaking day against the Southern Conference’s worst defense.
Hallock, a sophomore, completed his first 20 passes and shredded the Catamounts’ secondary for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Mountaineers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 38-27 victory in front of 13,279 fans at Whitmire Stadium.
“I’ve always been a Logan Hallock fan,” Appalachian coach Jerry Moore. “There was never any question about him being prepared. Last year, we moved him to receiver. He’s a team guy all the way. He didn’t get as many reps as what Jamal gets. They don’t even split it. Yet he steps up there at the right time and completes his first 20 passes.”
Steven Miller rushed for 245 yards and a touchdown for Appalachian (6-3, 4-2), which has won eight straight in its series against the Catamounts.
Jackson, who came into the game leading the SoCon in total offense (311 yards per game), threw an early touchdown pass but hurt his knee late in the first quarter.
Hallock took a few warm-up tosses, then went on to break the school’s single-game record for completion percentage (20 of 21 passes, .952).
“Everything was moving fast for me,” said Hallock, who’d only played two collegiate snaps and hadn’t thrown a pass before Saturday. “But coaches Moore and (offensive coordinator) Satterfield do an outstanding job getting me prepared throughout the week. … And then, it’s all about going out there and executing.”
WCU (1-8, 0-7) has now lost a school-record 21 SoCon games, and the Catamounts haven’t defeated an FCS foe in more than two calendar years (The Citadel, Oct. 2, 2010).
True freshman quarterback Troy Mitchell, who finished with 258 total yards, rallied WCU for two fourth-quarter scores to whittle a 25-point deficit down to 11.
“I’m proud of the fight in this football team,” said first-year WCU coach Mark Speir, who left Appalachian State last fall following nine years as an assistant on Moore’s staff. “Boy, they battle. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy, but I’m proud of this team.”
Appalachian State moved to 24-1 in its last 25 games immediately following a same-season loss. It moved to 58-18-1 all-time against Western Carolina, including a 30-7 edge since the inception of the Old Mountain Jug in 1976.