Drinkwitz shares thoughts ahead of Sun Belt Championship against Louisiana

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Drinkwitz shares thoughts ahead of Sun Belt Championship against Louisiana

App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz speaks postgame after the Mountaineers beat UNC 34-31 in Chapel Hill on Sept. 21.

App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz speaks postgame after the Mountaineers beat UNC 34-31 in Chapel Hill on Sept. 21.

Silas Albright

App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz speaks postgame after the Mountaineers beat UNC 34-31 in Chapel Hill on Sept. 21.

Silas Albright

Silas Albright

App State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz speaks postgame after the Mountaineers beat UNC 34-31 in Chapel Hill on Sept. 21.

Connor Davidson

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App State football is preparing for its Sun Belt Championship matchup against Louisiana on Saturday. Last Friday, the Mountaineers defeated Troy 48-13 which put their final regular season record at 11-1 — the best record since joining the FBS in 2014. On Saturday, Louisiana secured their 10th win of the season with a 31-30 win over ULM, making the Sun Belt championship game the first matchup between two 10-win teams in conference history.

This is the second time App State and Louisiana will play this season, but head coach Eliah Drinkwitz isn’t focused on the last time these two teams played when App State defeated Louisiana 17-7 on Oct. 9 in Lafayette. 

“We’re not really looking at the last game all that much,” Drinkwitz said. “We played Week 5, and so there’s been a lot of transition from those periods to where we’re at now, so we’re trying to create a new opportunity and not really look back on it that much.”

Drinkwitz also said that both App State and Louisiana have both improved since the first meeting.

“I think they’ve improved tremendously since the first time we played,” Drinkwitz said. “To assume that the game will be similar in nature to the one we played previously would be a false narrative going into the game. I think both teams have changed whether it’s due to injuries or whatever the season has brought about.”

This time, App State will have to play without junior wide receiver Corey Sutton who tore his ACL in the second quarter against Texas State two weeks ago. Drinkwitz said this will open up the opportunity for others to fill that void.

“Well, you never get to replace a player the caliber of Corey Sutton,” Drinkwitz said. “But what you try to do is spread out the opportunities to the rest of the team, and see if other people can step up.” 

One of those opportunities went to junior wide receiver Thomas Hennigan who set career highs with 11 receptions and 140 yards in the win over Troy. 

The Mountaineers are looking to win their second straight Sun Belt Championship game, and fourth straight conference championship overall. App State beat Louisiana 30-19 in Boone last year in the conference’s inaugural championship game.

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 12 p.m. in Kidd Brewer Stadium, and the game will be aired on ESPN right after College Gameday.