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Appalachian State, Western Kentucky to meet in Boca Raton Bowl

Something's got to give between C-USA, Sun Belt champion runners-up
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers QB Bailey Zappe runs in 2021 C-USA Championship game vs. UTSA Roadrunners
Posted at 4:41 PM, Dec 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-05 23:51:38-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Western Kentucky will face off against Appalachian State in the eighth annual Boca Raton Bowl.

The game will be played Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. at FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.

Both teams lost their respective conference championship games.

"We will have an opportunity to see history made in our game this year," Boca Raton Bowl executive director Doug Mosley said. "Western Kentucky comes into this game with the nation's top passing quarterback in Bailey Zappe and he will be looking to set new NCAA single-season passing records in this game. On the other hand, Appalachian State has one of the best pass defenses in the nation. This matchup is going to amazing to watch unfold."

Boca Raton Bowl executive director excited to bring Western Kentucky, Appalachian State to South Florida

The two teams have not previously met.

Appalachian State (10-3) has not lost in its previous six bowl game appearances.

Appalachian State Mountaineers QB Chase Brice and head coach Shawn Clark
Appalachian State head coach Shawn Clark, right, claps next to quarterback Chase Brice (7) after an extra point during the first half of the Sun Belt Conference championship NCAA college football game against Louisiana-Lafayette in Lafayette, La., Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Western Kentucky (8-5) played in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl, defeating Memphis 51-31.

The Mountaineers are No. 2 nationally with 109 tackles for loss while also ranking in the top 20 in scoring defense (No. 16, 19.3 points), total defense (No. 18, 325.5 yards), pass efficiency defense (No. 12, 114.7), interceptions (No. 10, 15), defensive touchdowns (No. 6, four), red zone defense (No. 15, 73.7 percent) and rushing defense (No. 19, 118.8).

Two of Appalachian State's three losses came against No. 16 Louisiana, including a 24-16 loss in the Sun Belt Conference Championship game.

The Hilltoppers, on the other hand, are 7-1 in their last eight games since their 1-4 start to the season.

Western Kentucky ranks second nationally with a 43.1 scoring average. The Hilltoppers also have a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Jerreth Sterns (137 catches for 1,718 yards and 14 touchdowns) and Mitchell Tinsley (80 catches for 1,299 and 12 scores).