Football - Sun Belt title game breakdown: Louisiana vs. Appalachian State + photo gallery
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Dec. 7, 2019
Click here for App State vs Cajuns photo gallery.
Zac Thomas threw two touchdown passes in the first half, two to running back Darryton Evans, and Appalachian State rushed for three first-half TDs, one by Evans, to take a big lead into the break, and the Mountaineers held on from there, beating UL 45-38 for its second straight Sun Belt Conference championship game win over the Ragin' Cajuns.
The play of Thomas and Evans negated the play of Ragin' Cajuns junior quarterback Levi Lewis, who threw for a career-high 354 yards and four touchdowns but was hit by turnover trouble.
After a rough opening half, UL's troubles continued as Lewis lost a fumble, ending its second drive of the second drive after the first one ended in a punt.
The Cajuns' ensuing drive ended with Lewis' pass over the middle being picked off by Josh Thomas and returned 16 yards for a touchdown that helped it make 42-17.
Lewis' TD throw to Ja'Marcus Bradley got the Cajuns to within 41-24, and Zi'Yon Hill recovered a fumble after an Asjlin Washington sack of Thomas, but Stevie Artigue's 52-yard field attempt fell short.
Chandler Staton later added a 35-yard field goal for App State.
The Cajuns got a 1-yard TD run from Elijah Mitchell with just more than four minutes to go, and a 38-yard TD catch by true freshman Peter LeBlanc with 1:19 remaining, but it was too little too late as two late onside kick attempts by UL failed.
App State jumped to a 21-0 lead on UL as Thomas threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Evans, Evans ran in from 8 yards out as the Mountaineers took advantage of a fumble on Lewis’ handoff to Raymond Calais Jr. and Thomas improvised for a 5-yard TD throw to Evans.
UL answered Thomas’ second touchdown toss with a 37-yard touchdown throw from Lewis to LeBlanc late in the opening quarter.
After Marcus Williams ran from 29 yards out, UL followed with a 1-yard TD throw from Lewis, who rolled to his left, to Mitchell to cut the App State lead to 28-14.
App State came right back with a 25-yard Daetrich Harrington TD run as the Cajun defense again failed to slow the Mountaineers.