Given the latest College Football Playoff rankings, it appears unlikely Appalachian State will manage to wiggle into the Cotton Bowl this season. But that’s not stopping the No. 21 Mountaineers from stating their case in the Sun Belt Championship Game. Appalachian State, playing on its home field against Louisiana, owns a 35-17 halftime lead and is one half away from a repeating as outright Sun Belt Conference champions.
Appalachian State scored on touchdown drives of 75, 47, 76, 75, and 50 yards on each of their first four offensive possessions to jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and a 35-7 lead in the second. Quarterback Zac Thomas completed seven of 11 pass attempts for 129 yards with two touchdowns. The running game has spread the ball around with Daetrich Harrington, Darrynton Evans, and Marcus Williams Jr. each getting touches and rushing for at least 50 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The offense has piled up 348 yards of offense.
It took a while for Louisiana to get comfortable on offense with Levi Lewis warming up with a pair of touchdown passes to get the Ragin’ Cajuns in the game, but the defense has been unable to do anything against Appalachian State to control the damage in the first half.
If Appalachian State finishes this game off, they will need to do so in impressive fashion on the scoreboard. With Memphis and Cincinnati each ranked ahead of Appalachian State and facing each other in the American Athletic Conference championship later today, and Boise State standing in front of the Mountaineers as well before hosting Hawaii in the Mountain West Conference championship, Appalachian State will need a few more pieces to fall just right to get a legitimate crack at the Cotton Bowl. But first, Appalachian State must focus on just finishing their own business before sitting back and seeing what else happens.