Backup quarterback Trey Elder scored on a 1-yard run with about two minutes left to give Appalachian State a 29-23 victory over Furman yesterday in the Division 1-AA semifinals in Boone, N.C.
Elder replaced injured starter Richie Williams in the first quarter and finished 12 of 17 for 165 yards. He threw for another touchdown to help the Mountaineers (11-3) reach the championship game for the first time. They play Northern Iowa (11-3) Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The Paladins (11-3) had one last chance. Quarterback Ingle Martin was hit by defensive end Jason Hunter and fumbled, with Appalachian State's Omarr Byrom picking up the loose ball and returning it all the way to the 1 with 13 seconds left.
The Mountaineers simply ran out the clock to rebound from a loss earlier this season to Southern Conference rival Furman.
Kevin Richardson rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns to lead Appalachian State to 436 yards of total offense. Elder added 69 yards on the ground but fumbled twice, including one at Furman's 7.
Williams led the Mountaineers to a 7-0 lead before rupturing a tendon in his left ankle on an 11-yard run midway through the first quarter, but Elder came in and threw a 45-yard TD pass to Dexter Jackson on the next play to make it 14-0.
Grambling St. 45, Alabama A&M 6 -- Bruce Eugene completed six touchdown passes and threw for 473 yards to lead the Tigers (11-1) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game in Birmingham, Ala.
Eugene, who broke the NCAA Division 1 record for career touchdown passes with 140, completed 30 of 47 passes and had no interceptions.
Grand Valley St. 21, NW Missouri St. 17 -- Brandon Langston caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cullen Finnerty in the final minutes as the Lakers (13-0) prevailed in Florence, Ala., for their third NCAA Division 2 national championship in four years.
Mount Union 19, Rowan 7 -- At Alliance, Ohio, Nate Kmic had 48 carries for 160 yards and the Purple Raiders (13-1) advanced to the NCAA Division 3 national championship game for the eighth time in the last 10 years. Mount Union will face Wisconsin-Whitewater, a 58-6 winner over Wesley, in Saturday's Stagg Bowl.