Cajuns preparing for Appalachian State after losing twice to them last season

Nick Fontenot
Special to the Advertiser
Cajuns Head Football Coach Billy Napier speaking with media during the Football media day. Aug. 1, 2019.

Coaches will say it’s just another game — and players may agree.

But the Appalachian State game next Wednesday night in Cajun Field is one of the biggest games of the season. And it’s against a team Cajuns coach Billy Napier and the Cajuns are all too familiar with.

“We know this team,” Napier said. “We know their players and personnel, and there’s lots of familiarity and similarities they have. It’s a veteran team coming back. They were picked on their side of the division and to win the conference. They’re respected nationally with the type of program they have. It’s a team we are all familiar with.”

The Cajuns dropped two games to Appalachian State last season, including the conference championship game in Boone, North Carolina.

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Those were two terrific football games,” Napier said. “The first one in particular. We kinda realized after that game we were different. It led to a string of improvement. I was proud of how we competed in the championship game. It didn't go the way we wanted to, but all that’s in the past and will have nothing to do with what happens in this game.”

Cajuns linebacker Jacques Boudreaux admitted that last season’s tough losses to the Mountaineers are something you really never get over.

“I don't think you ever stop thinking about things like that,” said Boudreaux, who was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week for his performance last weekend against Georgia Southern.

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“We went into the championship game with the confidence that we could win, and they came out on top. They're a good football team. They have a lot of weapons and they can be dangerous, but I like to think the same about us. We just have to move forward and keep playing football.”


Despite dropping both games last year, the Cajuns were never down on themselves and never doubted their ability to compete at the highest level, according to Boudreaux.

“We know what we are capable of,” Boudreaux said. “We just had a question mark, like, are the guys that much better than us? I think last year allowed us to see that we can play with these guys. We can play with anybody, and every game is a statement. 

“This is a big game, but every game has to be a big game, and we have to make a statement every game. Going into it, you have to be mindful that this could be your last game. That is something that as a team we do well.”

Napier said he is very impressed with what he has seen of Appalachian State thus far on film. He said the Cajuns have a game plan, but with the Mountaineers having a new coaching staff, you never know what kind of transition phase they’ll be in compared to last season’s team.

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“We are digging into the film night now and there’s always transition,” Napier said. “Think about our team last year. No matter what you inherit, there’s going to be an adjustment period. We are looking forward to playing these guys again.

“There is something that goes into playing a team twice and losing both games. We are going to put everything we have into preparing for this game.”