College Football

Western Kentucky Tops Appalachian State in the 2021 Boca Raton Bowl


Boca Raton, Fla. (Dec. 18, 2021) – Western Kentucky had a record-breaking performance to win the eighth Boca Raton Bowl defeating Appalachian State, 59-38, on Saturday at FAU Stadium.

Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe had a standout game and was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player after totaling a Boca Raton Bowl record six touchdowns and 422 yards on 33-of-47 passing. With those six touchdowns, Zappe surpassed LSU quarterback Joe Burrows all-time single season passing touchdowns record (60 touchdowns in 2019). Zappe first broke the yardage record, which was held by former Texas Tech quarterback B.J. Symons. The historic moment came on a 42-yard pass to Jerreth Sterns late in the second quarter.

Zappe finished with 5,967 passing yards on the season.

Jerreth Sterns tied the Boca Raton Bowl most touchdowns receiving record with three and 184 yards on the day.

“Our main goal was to come into this game, no matter my records or his (Sterns) records, was to get this championship – and we were able to do that, and also break those records so it makes it that much better,” Zappe said.

The Boca Raton Bowl announced three MVP awards at the end of the game.

· Bailey Zappe – Most Valuable Offensive Player
· Antwon Kincaid – Most Valuable Defensive Player
· John Haggerty III – Most Valuable Special Teams Player

“(It was) just a great day to be a Hilltopper and a great win for our football team,” Western Kentucky head coach Tyson Helton said. “To have the game that we played and to be able to break those records with Bailey on our team, we couldn’t write a better story.”

The Hilltoppers came into the game ranking second in the FBS in scoring and total offense, while leading the nation in passing offense.

The Mountaineers had one of the best defenses in the country allowing just over 19 points a game before the matchup against the Hilltoppers.

The teams traded back-to-back scores throughout the 1st half as WKU led 31-24, but the Hilltoppers pulled away in the second quarter. Western Kentucky outscored the Mountaineers 21-7 in the third quarter. The lone score for App State came from a 62-yard pass from quarterback Chase Brice to Malik Williams. Western Kentucky and App State traded a single touchdown in the fourth quarter. The two-time Boca Raton Bowl Champion, Western Kentucky, handed App State its first-ever bowl game loss (previously 6-0).

For more information about the Boca Raton Bowl visit or follow on social media via Facebook (, Twitter (@BocaBowl), and Instagram (@BocaBowl).

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