WKU returns to Boca Raton Bowl, set to face Appalachian State

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

The Hilltoppers are set to compete in the 2021 RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Dec. 18 on ESPN.

WKU will face the Mountaineers at 10 a.m. CT at FAU Stadium, home to the C-USA rival Florida Atlantic Owls, in Boca Raton, Florida. The Hilltoppers are 4-1 all-time against the Sun Belt program.

The last meeting between the pair was over two decades ago. App State last defeated the Hilltoppers 17-14 in the Division 1-AA playoffs on Dec. 2, 2000.

The Mountaineers, much like the Hilltoppers, are coming off of a loss in their respective conference title game. App State dropped the Sun Belt championship 24-16 to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to finish the regular season with a 10-3 record.

App State utilized a balanced offense to win games, finishing fourth in the conference in passing yards per game (240.7) and fifth in rushing yards per game (187.7). The Mountaineers ranked second in league in total yards with 428.4 per game.

The defense played well too, giving up 19.3 points per game, second-fewest in the Sun Belt. 

WKU is no stranger to the Boca Raton Bowl. The program faced off against Memphis in the 2016 edition of the game and won 51-31 despite missing head coach Jeff Brohm, who had already vacated the job. Interim coach and defensive coordinator Nick Holt led a WKU squad that put up nearly 600 yards of offense to down the Tigers.

The game gives WKU gunslinger Bailey Zappe one more shot at Joe Burrow’s single-season NCAA touchdown record. Zappe sits at 56 TDs and only needs five more to break Burrow’s mark of 60.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.