BOONE, N.C. (AP) – Backup quarterback Trey Elder scored on a 1-yard run with about 2 minutes left to give Appalachian State a 29-23 victory over Furman on Saturday in the Division I-AA semifinals.

Elder replaced injured starter Richie Williams in the first quarter and finished 12-for-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 next Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“When Richie goes down, it is my job to step in a make plays for our team,” Elder said.

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 at that point 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.

Furman took control the rest of the half behind a punishing ground game and Martin’s play-action passing to build a 23-21 halftime lead. Jerome Felton ran for 105 yards and scored two touchdowns. Martin was 17-of-28 passing for 238 yards and rushed eight times for 49 yards, helping the Paladins pile up 507 yards of offense.

But they failed to score after halftime and were kept out of the end zone from inside the Mountaineers 5 in the third quarter.

“We watched a lot of film. We thought that if we ran hard, we could break tackles,” Felton said. “Our line blocked well and today we just came up short.”

AP-ES-12-10-05 2028EST

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