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Sun Belt Weekend Primer

By Jackson Schroeder
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There are nothing but conference games on the slate in the Sun Belt this weekend.

South Alabama at Appalachian State:

This matchup between middle-of-the-conference Sun Belt football programs should be a good one. The Jaguars come into the game at 2-2, wishing to improve upon that record this weekend. The Jaguars have two talented senior running backs in Jay Jones and Kendall Houston, who both wish to lead their team towards the top of the Sun Belt in their final year. The first step of this process is beating a talented Appalachian State football team. The Mountaineers stand at 1-3, but could very easily be 2-2. Sophomore running back Marcus Cox has been a very prevalent player so far for the Mountaineers. If South Alabama wants to improve to 2-1 in the Sun Belt, than it will need to get past a dangerous Appalachian State team on Saturday.

Prediction: 24-17 South Alabama

UL-Monroe at Arkansas State:

UL-Monroe stands at the top of the Sun Belt through its first four games. The Warhawks are 2-0 in the conference, but they have played arguably the two worst teams in the Sun Belt, Troy and Idaho. Senior quarterback Pete Thomas has thrown for an impressive 978 yards so far this season, and has led his team to a 3-1 overall record. It will be interesting to see how UL-Monroe plays against its hardest in-conference opponent yet. Arkansas State is 2-2, but has had a much harder schedule than UL-Monroe. Arkansas State has lost its two games to Tennessee and Miami (FL). Red Wolves quarterback Fredi Knighten is a dual-threat player who can really tear up a defense. He will be the key in leading Arkansas State to a victory.

Prediction: 38-21 Arkansas State

Georgia State at Louisiana:

Georgia State has won one of its past 16 games, and, frankly, doesn’t yet know how to win. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle is doing all he can, carrying the offense and leading the Sun Belt with 1,315 passing yards and nine touchdowns. Georgia State has had some very close, high-scoring games, but the defense struggles greatly, allowing an average of 41 points per game. Louisiana was the top Sun Belt team last year, and was predicted to be the same this year. So far the Ragin’ Cajuns haven’t played up to their expectations. However, get ready to see them turn around starting with this game on Saturday. Star quarterback Terrence Broadway has had his struggles this season, but he is still a strong dual-threat quarterback. The Ragin’ Cajuns are going to get the job done this weekend on the gridiron.

Prediction: 33-21 Louisiana

Idaho at Texas State:

For Idaho, last week's 34-10 loss to South Alabama proved the Vandals won't compete in the Sun Belt this season. Freshman quarterback Matt Linehan has done all he can up to this point for the Vandals. He has already thrown for 1,278 yards and nine touchdowns in his first four games.  Idaho ranks 20th overall in the country for passing yards, and, coming from a freshman quarterback, that is very impressive. Texas State stands at 2-2 and is coming off of a triple overtime win over Tulsa. Quarterback Tyler Jones has dual-threat capabilities and has already thrown for 1,073 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns. This will be a tough matchup for Idaho, and don’t expect to see the Vandals coming out with a victory in this one.

Prediction: 38-21 Texas State

Georgia Southern at New Mexico State:

Georgia Southern has been very impressive this year. The Eagles are tied for first in the Sun Belt, and it is only their first year in the conference. Dual-threat quarterback Kevin Ellison has been very successful in both aspects of the position, but the most impressive offensive stat for Georgia Southern is that the Eagles are first in the country in rushing yards. New Mexico State is coming off a 63-7 loss to LSU last week. The Aggies stand at 2-3, and quarterback Tyler Rogers has been the star player up to this point. Rogers has thrown for 1,142 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season, and if they are going to try to beat a strong Georgia Southern team, he needs to play at the top of his game.

Prediction: 34-17 Georgia Southern

Jackson Schroeder - Jackson Schroeder is a huge sports fan who intends on staying in the sports broadcasting and journalism field. He is an undergrad journalism major at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and a graduate of Savannah Country Day School in Savannah, Georgia. At Savannah Country Day, Jackson played three sports: football, baseball, and wrestling. He has decided to not pursue any sport in college, and take the academic route. Jackson will cover the Sun Belt Conference for Southern Pigskin.