By Nathan Ham
The Appalachian State Mountaineers may not win the Sun Belt Championship for the fifth year in a row, thanks to a tremendous season put together by Coastal Carolina, the Mountaineers are still in the running for yet another bowl game appearance.
Appalachian (7-2, 5-1) will host the 24th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (8-1, 6-1) at Kidd-Brewer Stadium with kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. on ESPN with Jason Benetti on the play-by-play call, Andre Ware in the analyst seat and Taylor Davis on the sideline. Appalachian State is 35-10 overall in games that are broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
Louisiana has already secured a spot in the Sun Belt Championship game after clinching the west division, however, being able to secure the first win in series history against the Mountaineers is still high on head coach Billy Napier’s list. Appalachian is a perfect 8-0 all-time against Louisiana, including two wins last season. App State won the regular-season showdown in Lafayette, 17-7 on October 9, and followed that up with a 45-38 win at home on December 7 to win a fourth consecutive Sun Belt Championship.
Looking ahead to the postseason, CBS Sports is projecting that Appalachian State will face off against Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech in the New Orleans Bowl, set for December 23. Kyle Bonagura of ESPN has Appalachian State projected to face Marshall in the LendingTree Bowl in a rematch of a game earlier this season that saw the Thundering Herd defeat the Mountaineers. In the same ESPN projection list, Mark Schlabach has the Mountaineers facing Louisiana Tech in the New Orleans Bowl. College football writer Brett McMurphy has the Mountaineers facing UAB in the Montgomery Bowl, a new bowl game this year that has temporarily taken the place of the Fenway Bowl due to COVID-19.
As of now, nine bowl games have been canceled this postseason due to the coronavirus. Those bowl games are the Bahamas Bowl, Fenway Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Redbox Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Quick Lane Bowl and the Sun Bowl.
Appalachian State Stat Leaders
Passing: QB Zac Thomas, 150-225, 1,775 yards, 17 TDs 8 INTs
Rushing: RB Camerun Peoples, 107 carries, 639 yards, 6 TDs
Receiving: WR Malik Williams, 35 catches, 483 yards, 3 TDs
Defense: LB D’Marco Jackson, 64 tackles, 2 INTs, 1.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, 6 pass breakups
Sun Belt Conference Standings
Coastal Carolina: 9-0, 7-0 SBC
Appalachian State: 7-2, 5-1 SBC
Georgia Southern: 6-4, 4-3 SBC
Georgia State: 5-4, 4-4 SBC
Troy: 4-5, 2-3 SBC
Louisiana: 8-1, 6-1 SBC
South Alabama: 4-6, 3-4 SBC
Texas State: 2-10, 2-6 SBC
Arkansas State: 3-7, 1-6 SBC
Louisiana-Monroe: 0-9, 0-6 SBC