Sunday, December 8, 2019

No. 20 App State to Face UAB in New Orleans Bowl

BOONE — The Sun Belt Champions are headed back to the Big Easy.

The 20th-ranked App State Mountaineers (12-1) have accepted an invitation to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21 and will play on ESPN against UAB (9-4) of Conference USA at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT.

App State won 45-38 against Louisiana in the Sun Belt Championship Game on Saturday, setting the stage for a return to the New Orleans Bowl. The Mountaineers were victorious over Middle Tennessee, 45-13, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last year after defeating Louisiana in the inaugural league championship game.

Since joining the FBS ranks, App State has had five opportunities to earn a bowl berth and has done it each year. Only Marshall, which made six straight bowl games after its FBS transition, can claim the same feat. The Mountaineers are the only team to win each of their first four bowl games in consecutive seasons.

The 2019 season has been the best yet.

A few of the team’s most notable achievements under the direction of first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz include:

•      First 12-win team in Sun Belt history
•      First 12-win FBS team from the state of North Carolina
•      Fourth straight Sun Belt championship
•      Highest national ranking in App State and Sun Belt history
•      First Sun Belt team to beat two Power Five teams in the same season
•      Only Group of Five team with two Power Five road wins this year
•      Best road record (6-0) in Sun Belt history and among all FBS teams this year
•      Most nationally televised games in school history (7)

BOWL TICKETS: Tickets are available by visiting App State’s Bowl Ticket page. The deadline for priority seating is Wednesday, Dec. 11 (phone or in person by 4 p.m.; online by 11:59 p.m.). For additional information or help with purchasing tickets, contact the App State athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079. If you cannot attend the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, please consider donating your tickets, which will enable App State to provide opportunities to students and charity organizations that will showcase the pride of App Nation. You can donate by selecting the "Donate" ticket type under the "Premium" selection or call the ticket office at 828-262-2079.

For additional information on tickets, bowl week events, game day information, travel and lodging, visit Bowl Central on throughout the next two weeks.

BOWL TRAVEL: App State Athletics has partnered with Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) to provide a turnkey bowl travel and lodging experience for Mountaineer fans. Please visit for packages. Bowl tickets must be purchased separately.

Headlined by Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year and Championship Game MVP Darrynton Evans, as well as Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Akeem Davis-Gaither, the Mountaineers are top 25 in the nation in both scoring offense (ninth, 39.4) and scoring defense (22nd, 20.2).

App State’s historic season has included its first win over North Carolina (34-31 in Chapel Hill) and its first win against an SEC team with a 20-15 victory at South Carolina. It rolled through the league slate with a 7-1 record, suffering only a three-point loss to Georgia Southern while claiming the East Division title and earning the opportunity to host the Sun Belt Championship Game for the second straight year.

The Mountaineers, who have won 18 of their last 19 games, are 43-7 in their 50 games against Sun Belt teams since joining the league in 2014. Since the 2015 season began, App State is No. 5 nationally in win percentage (81.5) and tied for No. 5 in total wins with its 53-12 record. The win total trails only Clemson (68-4), Alabama (65-6), Ohio State (61-6) and Oklahoma (57-9) and is tied with Georgia (53-15).

The only FBS programs besides App State with streaks of four or more straight conference titles are Clemson (ACC) and Oklahoma (Big 12).

App State and UAB will meet for the first time.

UAB appeared in Conference USA’s title game Saturday after winning the league’s West Division with a 6-2 record. The Blazers lost 49-6 against FAU in the title game.

App State and UAB have one common opponent this year, as the Mountaineers won 30-3 at South Alabama and the Blazers posted a 35-3 home win against the same team.

Bill Clark has a 34-18 record as the head coach at UAB, which beat Middle Tennessee in Conference USA’s title game a year ago, and the Blazers rank 25th nationally in scoring defense (four spots behind App State) by allowing 20.8 points per game. They are No. 3 nationally in fumbles recovered (13) and No. 7 in sacks (43).

Offensively, the Blazers average 23.6 points per game. Tyler Johnston III has accumulated 15 touchdown passes while averaging 195.2 passing yards, and UAB averages 159.3 rushing yards as a team.

Story courtesy of Appalachian State Strategic Communications