Appalachian State Blasts Middle Tennessee In New Orleans Bowl

Appalachian State Blasts Middle Tennessee In New Orleans Bowl
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Appalachian State Blasts Middle Tennessee In New Orleans Bowl

On paper the New Orleans Bowl looked to be the best match-up of all the Saturday games. However that turned out to be far from true. Riding a strong defense Appalachian State blasts Middle Tennessee 45-13 in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Appalachian State Blasts MTSU In New Orleans Bowl

Quite The First Impression

The saying goes “you get one chance to make a first impression.” If that is true then interim coach Mark Ivey made a great one. The Mountaineers defensive line coach took over for Scott Satterfield, who took the Louisville job on December 4th. Ivey who said after the game, “I had a blast. If you can’t make this fun, if you can’t love what you do, there’s no purpose being here.”

One thing the Mountaineers did was have fun. In addition to scoring two touchdowns on trick plays, they tried a surprise onside kick. Wide receiver Malik Williams threw for two scores while quarterback Zac Thomas caught a touchdown pass and threw for three more. Thomas, who was named MVP finished with 177 yards through the air and 28 more on the ground. Following the game the players carried Ivey off the field.

Winning With Defense

All season long, Appalachian State’s calling card has been defense. Coming into Saturday’s game, the Mountaineers were giving up only 16 points per game. They sacked Brent Stockstill six times while intercepting him twice.

In his final college game Stockstill threw for 330 yards and a touchdown. The Blue Raiders actually had more first downs and controlled the time of possession. However 12 penalties and an opportunistic Mountaineer defense prevented them from taking advantage. In fact Middle Tennessee was whistled for five false start flags, many coming at the worst possible time.

Looking Ahead To 2019

Following four straight bowl wins and three consecutive Sun Belt titles, the goal for Appalachian State is to keep the momentum going. They will have a new coach for 2019 in former North Carolina State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz. What happens with Ivey remains to be seen. Will he be asked to stay on or move on to another school?

Appalachian State returns 10 starters on offense next year and eight on defense. They should be ranked in the Top 25 when 2019 starts. Furthermore they are the heavy favorite to win the Sun Belt again and a dark horse for the bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl.

On the other side of the ball, 2019 looks like a rebuilding year for Middle Tennessee. They must replace Stockstill, who holds virtually every passing record including 106 touchdowns. In addition they lose seven starters on offense and five on defense. Duplicating their 8-6 record is going to be difficult.

Again to recap Appalachian State blasts Middle Tennessee 45-13 in the New Orleans Bowl. They finish the season 11-2, the third time in four years with 10 or more wins.

Thanks for checking out the New Orleans Bowl recap here at Last Word On College Football. As a reminder we preview every every bowl game leading up to the National Championship.