BOONE, N.C. - Ryan Consiglio and Wes Dothard had blank looks on their faces as they talked about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 14-12 loss at Appalachian State on Saturday.
Their expressions were the result of such a disappointing defeat - "I can't remember a time I felt worse," Consiglio said - and, no doubt, fatigue after the two linebackers chased Mountaineers all over the field all game long.
Consiglio finished with a game-high 13 tackles and Dothard added 11. The duo, who were sometimes the only linebackers on the field as the Mocs used five defensive backs often, led a defense that didn't allow a point against a very potent offense that was averaging 26 per game.
"We knew coming into this game that App's got a pretty prolific offense - they're known for it - and we did our best this week to prepare for it," Consiglio said. "The coaches had us in a pretty good position to make plays, and defensively I think we did that."
The Mountaineers finished with 284 yards of offense, converted only 5 of 14 third-down tries and committed three turnovers. Defensive backs Kadeem Wise and Chris Lewis-Harris had interceptions and defensive tackle Toyvian Brand recovered a fumble that Consiglio forced.
"I think it was our best performance [of the season]," Dothard said. "To hold a great team like App, to not let them score on offense, that's just phenomenal."
Down 14-12 late in the fourth quarter, the defense had a couple of chances to get UTC the ball back with at least a few minutes left. But ASU was able to convert a 23-yard pass on third-and-5 at its 17-yard line and later got 4 yards on third-and-3 at the ASU 47.
"The defense played good, we created some turnovers, but we could have stopped them with three minutes to go," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. "We could have stopped them; we didn't."
UTC did eventually force a punt, but the offense didn't get the ball back until just 42 seconds remained in the game.
A Battered B.J.
Appalachian State's defense didn't have to worry much about UTC running the ball - the Mocs' leading rusher, Marquis Green, had 36 yards on 15 carries - which left the Mountaineers free to go after quarterback B.J. Coleman on nearly every play.
Coleman said he was hit on about 75 percent of the Mocs' pass plays; he was sacked four times for minus-26 yards, and ASU was credited with seven quarterback hurries.
That pressure was still present on the first play of UTC's final drive when Coleman's arm was hit as he threw the ball and the pass was intercepted to seal the win.
"I don't know how we're going to fix it," Huesman said. "I don't care if we've got to have nine-man protection and one-man route, he is not taking that beating anymore."
Trustees OK Move
Appalachian State's board of trustees voted 9-1 in favor of moving the football program up to the bowl subdivision, the Winston-Salem Journal reported Saturday.
For more than a year ASU has been studying the feasibility of leaving the Football Championship Subdivision for the top level of Division I. In August, the feasibility committed recommended the move.
Chancellor Ken Peacock still must approve the move and ASU can't go anywhere until it has an invitation from a bowl subdivision conference.
The Mocs had three freshmen starting on their defensive line and the trio - end Davis Tull and tackles Josh Freeman and Devin Scates - more than held the own. Freeman, a true freshman making his third start, had a career-high seven tackles.
Tull and Scates had two tackles each and Brand, a backup tackle and another true freshman, had three in the second game of his career.
Mocs wideout Joel Bradford finished with five catches for 89 yards but had just one in the second half. Marlon Anthony had six catches for 48 yards. ... ASU's defense was without two starters. Cornerback Ed Gainey and linebacker/defensive end Lanston Tanyi remained suspended by ASU coach Jerry Moore for violating team rules.