BOONE, N.C. - Another year, another difficult loss at the hands of perennial FCS power Appalachian State.
S.C. State coach Buddy Pough wasn't ready to look ahead after Saturday's 20-13 loss to the Mountaineers, but he realizes the Bulldogs have established themselves as a power as well. The two-time defending MEAC champions just haven't quite been able to get past ASU.
He's losing two great offensive players in running back Will Ford and receiver Tre Young, the leading rusher and pass catcher, respectively, in school history. But he isn't concerned about a big drop-off in talent in Orangeburg.
"We'll be OK," Pough said. "The good thing about being a decent program is you'll lose good players every year, but as you lose them, other guys are waiting in the wings to take those responsibilities."
Ford finished his career with 4,672 rushing yards, a MEAC record, while Young wrapped up his with 135 receptions and 2,156 yards receiving. Young also set a record Saturday with seven catches for 92 yards to up his season receiving yards to 995 to go along with his 65 catches.
Junior quarterback Malcolm Long, who passed for a school-record 2,502 yards and 20 touchdowns this season, returns for one more year. He's ready to get past the first-round snafus of the last two seasons.
"We're going to build on the mistakes that we made this year and use them to be a better football team next year," Long said.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a No. 7 ranking in the polls as well as a record 19 consecutive MEAC wins dating back to 2007.
The power of 10
The Bulldogs finished with a 10-win season with the sixth time in school history. No S.C. State team has won 11 games. The playoff loss dropped their record to 2-4 in their four FCS appearances. They split two games in 1981 and 1982 while losing in the first round each of the past two seasons.
Appalachian State posted its fifth consecutive 10-win season. The three-time national champions, who won those titles from 2005-07, have won 14 of their past 15 postseason games, upping their overall mark to 22-13. The win also was ASU's 100th of the decade (2000-present).
It's a real kick
With two field goals Saturday, sophomore placekicker Blake Erickson upped his single-season school record to 14. He broke the record of Cedric Ogelsby, who kicked 11 in 1998.
ASU coach Jerry Moore understands Buddy Pough will be thinking about this game the entire offseason. "When you lose a game like that, it doesn't set good with you. That's part of this business."