Records: App State (11-1) vs Louisiana (10-2)
Game Time: 12:00 pm ET Saturday, December 7th
Location: Kidd-Brewer Stadium, Boone, North Carolina
Radio: Lafayette- ESPN1420AM Boone- WKBC 97.3
Live Stats: StatsBroadcast
Series Record: App State leads series 7-0; Last meeting 10/9: App St 17-7 Louisiana
Betting Line: App State -6.5/ O/U 56.5
Boone, NC- Emotions will be at an all-time high on the mountain Saturday morning as No. 21 App State hosts Louisiana for the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game for the second consecutive year.
Louisiana (10-2, 7-1 SBC) Outlook
The Ragin Cajuns are looking for their first ever win against the Mountaineers and this would be their first piece of the proverbial “pie” that is the Sun Belt Conference Championship since 2013. Head Coach Billy Napier, recently named Sun Belt Coach of the Year, has led the Cajuns to their first 10-win season in school history, but knows that there’s much more to play for. Quarterback Levi Lewis, who has really excelled in this offense down the stretch of this season, comes into the contest with 2,450 yards, 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. Running backs Elijah Mitchell, Trey Ragas, and Raymond Calais are clearly the top priority for any defense that lines up across from them. Having nearly 2500 and 30 TDs between the three of them, the “trinity” needs to be slowed down if you want to have a chance to win. However,, don’t discredit the Cajuns’ passing game with weapons like Ja’Marcus Bradley, Jarrod “Bam” Jackson, and Nick Ralston. Injury wise on offense, Robert Hunt is day-to-day.
Defensively, Louisiana has weapons in every group and they’ll be on full display Saturday in Boone. The Cajuns are expecting to get back Percy Butler, Ferrod Gardner, and Zi’Yon Hill, three starters that have missed time with injury. Edge rusher Joe Dillon should be good to go for Louisiana as well. Look for these impact players, as well as Jacques Boudreaux, Chauncey Manac, and Kris Moncrief to make big plays for Louisiana.
#21 App State (11-1, 7-1) Outlook
The Mountaineers come into this game as the defending conference champs and broke a Sun Belt record for regular season wins. Zac Thomas been solid all year long under center, throwing for nearly 2500 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Darrynton Evans is arguably the best running back in the conference at 1,250 yards. Evans averages 5.8 yards per carry and has 16 rushing touchdowns. App State lost receiver Corey Sutton to an ACL tear, but players like Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams have been strong all year and will be the main weapons for Thomas.
Defensively, App is best in the conference and 19th nationally. Akeem Davis-Gaither is the conference Defensive Player of the Year and is on his way to playing on Sundays. Jordan Fehr, another linebacker, has also been a big piece for the Mountaineers this season under first year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
Look for this title game to be an instant classic. Top two offenses, two of the best defenses. The weather in Boone shouldn’t be an issue, as it’s projected to be 45 and sunny. Louisiana will come out with a vengeance and really take control of the matchup, although I think it stays close. The Cajuns hoist the trophy after a 35-31 victory.