"We made too many mistakes in the first half," said Elon head coach Jason Swepson. "The good thing is that we were able to establish the run. We just fell short at the end. I think we're growing. We have to have the ability to make plays when plays have to be made."
After trailing 24-0, Elon (1-3, 0-1 SoCon) made it a three-point game with 3:43 to play in the fourth after Karl Bostick scored on a 13-yard gain to make it a 24-21 game.
But the Mountaineers responded, as ASU (1-2, 1-0 SoCon) running back Marcus Cox carried the ball seven times for 75 yards in the waning moments, scoring on a three-yard run to push ASU's lead to 31-21 with 1:27 to play.
Appalachian was the first to find the scoreboard as, on third-and-three from the 50-yard line, Elon got pressure on ASU quarterback Jamal Londry-Jackson who scrambled and lofted a pass to Cox. Cox then used some key blocks to reach the end zone for the game's first score as the Mountaineers went up 7-0.
After a field goal made it a 10-0 game, the Appalachian lead stretched to 17-0 thanks to a 73-yard TD pass from Kameron Bryant to Cox with 9:03 left in the first half.
Trailing 24-0, Elon received great field position thanks to a 46-yard kick return by Kierre Brown into ASU territory. Thanks to 26 yards (22 rushing and four receiving) by B.J. Bennett, the maroon and gold moved to the Mountaineer five-yard line. On third down, Mike Quinn found an open Brown in the back of the end zone for the TD strike as the Phoenix to make it a 24-7 game at the half.
It remained a 24-7 game until the fourth quarter when the Phoenix commenced its push. Elon's first scoring drive of the period was a 14-play, 85-yard jaunt that was capped by a one-yard Bennett run for a score. During the drive, the Phoenix converted three third down chances, including a 10-yard scramble by Quinn on third-and-five at the ASU 21.
The drive that ended with Bostick's TD came on Elon's next possession as the maroon and gold took over at its own 21 after forcing a three-and-out. Quinn completed six consecutive passes, including a 31-yard strike to Rasaun Rorie to set up Bostick's running score.
Elon was able to pound the ball on the ground against the Mountaineers, running 39 times for 193 yards. Only twice did the Phoenix lose yards on a run all night long. The ground attack was led by Bennett who carried 16 times for personal-best 86 yards. Bostick added 62 yards on 15 totes. Through the air, the maroon and gold passed for 244 yards.
David Wood led Elon with a career-high 10 tackles as the Phoenix defense forced two Mountaineer turnovers. Twice Elon defenders brought down the ASU quarterback, as both Rob Sullivan and Jay Brown recorded a sack.
Cox had a career night for ASU, gaining 159 yards on 26 carries on the ground and catching five passes for 149 yards. He finished the night with three scores.
Elon will remain home next week to play its final non-conference game of the season as the Phoenix will welcome in Coastal Carolina on Family Weekend. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.