The place was the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (The Big Easy). The teams were Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 8-5 (7-1) vs Appalachian State Mountaineers 10-2 (7-1). Both teams came in with very high explosive quarterbacks leading a very talented offense with a plethora of
weapons to match. However, in the end, only one team can be crowned Champion and the other leaves with the bitter taste of defeat. At the end of the night, the Mountaineers celebrated Mardi Gras style.
Middle Tennessee came out very explosive with quarterback Brent Stockstill firing on all cylinders in the first two possession going 6 for 6 with 89 yards passing. App. State Quarterback Zac Thomas first two possessions ended in turnovers with an interception and a fumble. Blue Raider led at the end of one 3 –0.
In the second it was a pair of trick plays that got things going for the Mountaineers. WR Malik Williams threw a pair of touchdowns including one to Thomas. They turned the heat up and never looked back.
— Sun Belt (@SunBelt) December 16, 2018
Defensively App State was phenomenal showing different looks shifting and confusing the offensive front of the Blue Raiders and causing a lot of false start penalties that became very costly in the end. Zac Thomas went in at the half 8-13-1 and 12 yards rushing.
The Mountaineers defense came out very hostile and aggressive the third quarter making it very hard for Stockstill and the Blue Raiders to get on the same page. At the 5:56 mark of the third he did hit WR Isiah Upton with a 43 yard TD strike, but the Blue Raiders could not overcome their mistakes
It was a huge win for interim coach Mark Ivey. He took over for Scott Satterfield after the coach left for Louisville earlier in the month. He will not get the permanent head coach job, but at the end of the game, the players made their feelings known as they carried their triumphant coach off the field. North Carolina St. offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz will come in and take over next year. He inherits a team that has won the Sun Belt the last three years and a team that has plenty of experience.
Appalachian State led by QB Zac Thomas was just too much for Middle Tennessee to overcome. Hitting WR Corey Sutton for an 11-yard touchdown to extend their lead 45 – 13. Zac Thomas finished 15-24-2, 177 yards three TDs and was the game MVP. Brent Stockstill finished 25-37-2, 330 yards and one TD.