Thomas is on the run

Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas runs the ball against Louisiana in the 2018 Sun Belt Conference championship game.

BOONE — In college football, Saturday could be any day of the week.

That day for Appalachian State is Wednesday, Oct. 9. That’s when the Mountaineers veer off the normal course of scheduling and play at Louisiana in a rematch of the Sun Belt Conference Championship game.

The game will be televised on ESPN2, which is a rare chance for the Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Sun Belt) to be on national television. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Coaches are not always welcoming of changes in their routines. Appalachian State head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz understands that not every game on the schedule will be on Saturday and will welcome the chance for the Mountaineers to be on national television.

“I’ve played on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (and) Sunday,” Drinkwitz said. “Whenever they tell us we have to play, we love the opportunity to play. It’s a great opportunity to play on TV, so whatever we’ve got to do to play on ESPN, our kids will be excited for it. As long as they put 100 yards out and two teams across of it I’m for it.”

Appalachian State plays on ESPNU when the Mountaineers host Georgia Southern on Thursday, Oct. 31. So far, all of Appalachian State’s games have been on ESPN+, or on RSN, when the Mountaineers played North Carolina.

Playing on a Wednesday means the Mountaineers must adjust their weekly schedule. Drinkwitz said the players had Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 off and got back to practice on Oct. 1. From there, Sept. 9 will be treated like a regular Saturday and Sept. 8 will be a normal Friday.

“We take Wednesday and make it a Saturday and then count backwards,” Drinkwitz said. “Whether you play on Wednesday, Sunday or whatever, on Saturday we have a routine of how to get ready for that. So, we’ll make Wednesday Saturday, we’ll make Tuesday a Friday and we’ll work from that. It changes for fans and all that, but for us we know how to prepare for a game in a seven-day window and that’s what we’ll do.”

The Mountaineers face a Louisiana team that just gave head coach Billy Napier a contract extension, according to the Louisiana website. His contract was extended to 2023 Oct. 1 after the Ragin Cajuns finished 7-7 overall, 5-3 in the Sun Belt Conference and reached the league championship game. Appalachian State won that game at Kidd Brewer Stadium 30-19.

Louisiana is 4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt this season heading into its showdown with Appalachian State, which beat Coastal Carolina 56-37 on Sept. 28. The Cajuns will try to contain an App State offense that has scored a minimum of 34 points in each game this season.

“We’re very familiar with their personnel,” Louisiana coach Billy Napier said. “We had a chance to play them last year and it’s really the same team coming back. They’ve got almost their entire team back. They’re so very athletic. They have great team speed and they have a veteran quarterback. They have four of five offensive linemen back. We’re basically getting ready to play the same team we played last year.”

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