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 BOONE, N.C. (AP) -In a career spanning five decades with several big-name schools, Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore has seen some remarkable performances.
Moore, though, had never witnessed anything quite like the 495-yard, seven-touchdown effort by sophomore quarterback Armanti Edwards on Friday night that left the Mountaineers one win away from a record third straight FCS national championship.
``A long time ago when I was at Nebraska, I saw Dave Humm complete 21 passes in a row and I thought that was a feat,'' Moore said. ``But it didn't even come close to this. And that was against Kansas, and Kansas was a basketball school then. Here, with all the pressure, that's something.''
The day after Edwards nearly single-handedly led the Mountaineers to a 55-35 win over Richmond in the FCS - formerly Division I-AA - semifinals, the small, shifty, left-handed Edwards was still the talk of this campus nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Barely 6-feet tall, the sophomore rushed for an FCS quarterback record 313 yards and four touchdowns. Edwards also completed 14 of 16 passes for 182 yards and three more scores.
``Big holes,'' the modest Edwards said when asked to explain his big night.
The Spiders, left gasping for air as Edwards blew by them all night, had a different take.
``He's fast. Containing him was extremely difficult,'' Richmond nose guard Bryan DeMoss said. ``The guy can beat you with his legs just as well as he can beat you with the throw.''
Edwards began the season by throwing three touchdown passes and rushing for another score in Appalachian State's stunning 34-32 win at then-No. 5 Michigan. He will finish Friday against Delaware, which took a 20-17 victory over Southern Illinois on Saturday, in the FCS championship game, and will look to give the Mountaineers (12-2) a third straight title.
Appalachian State's ticket allotment for the title game in Chattanooga, Tenn., sold out by noon Saturday, a day after 24,140 watched the Mountaineers win behind a guy who wasn't wanted by major schools.
Edwards, from Greenwood, S.C., didn't start playing quarterback until midway through his junior year in high school. Nearby Clemson recruited Edwards, but as a defensive back.
Edwards wanted to play quarterback. Moore happily took him.
Edwards replaced Trey Elder in the third game in 2006 and became only the second freshman in Division I history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000. He went 13-0 as a starter, culminating in the Mountaineers' 28-17 win over Massachusetts for the national title.
Edwards injured his shoulder in the Michigan upset, and he missed four games later in the season. When he returned, his passing game struggled and the Mountaineers lost to Wofford and Georgia Southern.
He is healthy now.
Edwards had nine completions for 11 or more yards against Richmond and seven rushes of at least 15 yards.
``He made some plays in space that nobody has made against us this year,'' Richmond coach Dave Clawson said.
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