NEW ORLEANS (Dec. 15, 2018) – Quarterback Zac Thomas passed for three touchdowns and caught another to lead Sun Belt Conference champion Appalachian State to a 45-13 victory over Middle Tennessee Saturday night in the 18th annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Thomas, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player, completed 15 of 24 passes for 177 yards and also caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Malik Williams as the Mountaineers posted the largest margin of victory in the 18-year history of the New Orleans Bowl.
Darrynton Evans rushed for 108 yards to lead a 233-yard ground game for App State (11-2).
Middle Tennessee (8-6) led 3-0 after one quarter before the Mountaineers took control with 24 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Two of the three touchdowns in the second quarter came when App State pulled off a pair of trick plays with passes from wide receiver Malik Williams - the 8-yard pass to Thomas and a 30-yard connection to Thomas Hennigan.
Thomas added a 1-yard scoring toss to Henry Pearson with 45 seconds left in the first half before Middle Tennessee executed the two-minute drill to perfection, setting up Crews Holt's second field goal of the half from 33 yards as the clock struck zero.
After scoring on the final four possessions of the first half, App State added touchdowns on the first two possessions of the third quarter. Thomas hit Corey Sutton with a 17-yard touchdown pass and Camerun Peoples broke off a 63-yard scoring run, third-longest in New Orleans Bowl history.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill, who passed for 330 yards in his final college game, finally found the end zone with 5:50 left in the third quarter on a 43-yard pass to Isiah Upton.
App State closed out the scoring with 13:06 remaning on the second TD pass from Thomas to Sutton, this one covering 11 yards.
The Mountaineers outgained the Blue Raiders 448-392, including a 233-62 edge on the ground.
In its 18th year, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and its affiliated events continue to grow and create significant impact in the Greater New Orleans region, generating an estimated economic impact in excess of $20 million annually.
The game took place at 8 p.m. CST and aired on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
About R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Organized in 2001, the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is managed by the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, established in 1988, and whose mission it is to attract, manage and promote sporting events to the Greater New Orleans area for the purposes of economic impact. Visit www.neworleansbowl.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NewOrleansBowl.
About the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation
Organized in August 1988, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (GNOSF) is a non-profit 501(c) (4) organization whose mission is to attract and manage sporting events that have a positive economic impact on the Greater New Orleans area. Throughout its 26-year history, the GNOSF has hosted hundreds of events and turned a $28 million public investment in major events, into a $2 billion economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans area. More information at www.gnosports.com.