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All-Time Top-5 App State QBs - #3

3. Steve Brown (1977-80)--Appalachian State fans affectionately know him as "Brownie" and he remains a friendly face around Owens Fieldhouse on Saturdays in the Fall, as he serves alongside the voice of the Mountaineers, David Jackson, as the color commentator for football.

It's Brown's second stint in that particular role, also serving alongside Brian Esteride and Mike Waddell as color commentator for Appalachian football from 1992-97.

If there was a quarterback that really laid the foundation for all future signal callers for the Mountaineers, it was Steve Brown.

Brown came to Appalachian in an era before the spread offense, and he was part of a Mountaineer offense that was more of a run-and-shoot style, which was in stark contrast to some of the ground attacks which were prevalent early in legendary head coach Jim Brakefield's early years in the High Country. Brown would be the last quarterback Brakefield ever coached in the High Country, as he would retire in 1979.

With Rick Beasley lining up receiver for the Mountaineers during that same time period, it was a duo that would prove to be one of the best quarterback-receiver combos in Appalachian State and Southern Conference history.

Brown was part of an era which Appalachian State Football which was trying to carve out its own winning tradition inside the Southern Conference, and he would become one of the trailblazers at the quarterback position in an era when the Black and Gold were on the brink of becoming a formidable title contender in the league.

Brown, who garnered First-Team All-SoCon honors 1980 and was a two-time All-SoCon selection (1979 and '80), would enjoy his best season individually as a senior in '80. In Brown's final two seasons in the High Country, he threw for 200 or more yards in a game eight times, producing a string of four-straight 200-yard passing performances in back-to-back campaigns.

Brown helped the ASU offense garner the league statistical championship in passing offense, as the Black and Gold offensive machine churned out 252.8 YPG through the air in 1980 under first-year head coach Mike Working.

Brown would help Appalachian State to its second winning campaign in three years under first-year head coach Mike Working, as the Apps finished with a 6-4-1 record, including a 4-2-1 mark in Southern Conference play, which was good enough for a third-place finish in the league standings.

In Brown's senior season, he put forth a truly memorable performance in a 42-15 win over mountain rival East Tennessee State, completing 29-of-43 passes for 408 yards in the win, becoming the only quarterback not named Armanti Edwards or Richie Williams to throw for over 400 yards in a single game in ASU football history.

That passing performance would stand as the school's top single-game passing performance for 24 years, before eventually being broken by Richie Williams in that epic, 30-29, win over No. 2 Furman in 2004 at The Rock.

In '79, Brown would be largely responsible for Beasley being honored as the SoCon's Offensive Player of the Year, which would be the first of eight Mountaineer offensive players to earn that distinction.

Brown also helped Beasley become one of only two Mountaineers receivers in the history of the program to complete the season as the NCAA statistical champion in receiving yards. Brown helped the Mountaineers to back-to-back wins over Western Carolina to close out his career, including one of those without Beasley for a majority of the contest.

In front of 17,124 fans at Conrad Stadium during his junior campaign, it would be Brown that would be used as an element of surprise, with the pass-happy Apps opting to go to the ground for much of the day, shocking a Catamount defense that fully expected one of the nation's top passing attacks to once again utilize its aerial assault. Appalachian State finished the day rushing for 266 yards en route to a 35-27 win.

It was a day that saw Brown throw for only 37 yards, but it also gave Mountaineer fans an indication that the native of Weaverville, N.C., was more than just a one-dimensional strong-armed quarterback, and was a true field general under center-- a player that could do whatever was asked of him, especially in big games.

As a senior against the Catamounts in '80, Brown would lose the record-setting Beasley to an injury early on in the contest, and in what was the final home game for one of the greatest quarterback-receiver combos in program history, he would help the Black and Gold gut out a 27-24 win in front of 15,280 fans on-hand to witness the Battle For The Old Mountain Jug.

Brown was the perfect quarterback for the Mountaineer offense at the time, and he came into a tough situation, having to fill some pretty big shoes, succeeding another Mountaineer great, Robbie Price under center.

Price, of course, led the Mountaineers to some of the more memorable wins early in ASU's SoCon membership, including a 39-34 win at South Carolina in 1974.

Brown still finds himself ranking highly in many of the school's all-time career categories, as he ranks third in career passing yards, with 6,533 career passing yards, and his 2,537 career passing yards in the '80 season still ranks 10th in single-season passing yards in school history.

Maybe the greatest testament to the type of respect that Brown garnered in his ASU career was his selection to the Appalachian State 75-year Anniversary Team in 2003, as he was selected as one of the 25 greatest players in the program's football history in a poll voted on by fans.

  • AppMan

    Juice, as I have called Steve since his playing days, is one of the toughest competitors to ever wear Black & Gold. Although he lit it up in Working's Pro I offense, because of his running and ball handling ability I think Jim Brakefield's "Broken Wishbone" better utilized Steve's abilities. It was the most exciting and diverse offense I've ever seen, including the spread, and Steve was perfect for it. He made great decisions with the ball, had a knack for finding open receivers and could make all the throws. Robbie Price was pure magic with the ball and operated the true running version of the Wishbone like nobody else. He was an adequate passer, which is fine when you only throw it 10 times a game. Steve was a more than adequate option QB and made great decisions, but he had a strong arm and a heck of a receiver in Beasley. Brakefield's Offensive Coordinator, Fisher DeBerry, came up with the idea of replacing one and sometimes both halfbacks with slot (we called a flanker) receivers and defenses couldn't stop it. In two season's as starting QB in Brakefield's offense Steve was 14th (Soph) and 3rd (Jr) in the nation in Total Offense. Again, it is important to remember there was no 1-AA, and this ranking includes all the big boys.

    While Robbie Price and the 1975 team was - in my book - equally historic in terms of advancing the program as the 2007 team, due to injuries he didn't have the career Steve did. ASU didn't win a conference championship during Steve's career, but ASU's defense really struggled back then. Still, in my book, Steve Brown is our # 2 all time QB.

    This post was edited by AppMan 10 months ago

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