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Sun Belt Weekend Primer

By Jackson Schroeder
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Arkansas State hopes to remain perfect in conference play with a victory over a struggling Georgia State team.

Louisiana-Monroe at Kentucky:

Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Pete Thomas has thrown for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Thomas has led the Warhawks to a 3-2 overall record and a 2-1 conference record. A winning record is no surprise for Louisiana-Monroe, but it is a change of pace for the Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats are 4-1, and suffered their only loss in a triple overtime game against Florida. Kentucky is coming off a 45-38 win over SEC East powerhouse South Carolina. Quarterback Patrick Towles has had his share of success, throwing for 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. This matchup will go in the books as another big win for the soon to be 5-1 Kentucky Wildcats.

Prediction: 35-7 Kentucky

Arkansas State at Georgia State:

Arkansas State is coming off an impressive win last week over conference opponent Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas State is 3-2, and suffered its only losses against Tennessee and Miami (FL), two BCS conference teams. Quarterback Fredi Knighten has thrown for 1,076 yards so far this season, and has, to this point, been the most prominent player on the Red Wolves offense. Georgia State has had a disappointing start to the season. The Panthers are 1-4, and are on a four-game losing streak. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle has been a shining star for this Panther offense, throwing for 1,591 yards and nine touchdowns. Georgia State is ranked 17th in the country in passing yards. Arbuckle and this Panther offense have put up big numbers, but they have had trouble in the game-winning moments. Georgia State won’t need to worry about a game-winning drive this weekend. This game won't be close.

Prediction: 35-17 Arkansas State

New Mexico State at Troy:

This is a matchup between two struggling Sun Belt football programs. New Mexico State stands at 2-4, and has lost its past four games. Quarterback Tyler Rogers has been the most positive player for this team so far, throwing for 1,471 yards and nine touchdowns. New Mexico State should break its losing streak this weekend against 0-5 Troy. Troy, to this point, is the weakest team in the Sun Belt. The Trojans stand at 0-5, and have had very little success on either side of the ball. The Trojan defense is ranked a disappointing 123rd in points against, and is in for another test this weekend against Rogers and this New Mexico State offense.

Prediction: 24-14 New Mexico State

Liberty at Appalachian State:

Appalachian State stands at a disappointing 1-4 so far this season. The Mountaineers have struggled lately, losing their last three games. Appalachian State has had promising moments this season, but the Mountaineers have struggled to win the close ones. App State’s opponent this weekend is 3-3 Liberty. Liberty is a middle-of-the-road Big South football program. The Flames are coming off of a double overtime loss last weekend against Richmond. Appalachian State should get back on the winning track this weekend against a weaker opponent.

Prediction: 34-14 Appalachian State

Idaho at Georgia Southern:

Don’t expect this to be a close matchup. Georgia Southern is 3-0 in the Sun Belt, and it is only its first year in the conference. The Eagles are first in the country in rushing yards. Very few teams have been able to stop Kevin Ellison and Matt Breida in this option offense. The Eagles have already had their hardest games of the season, so don’t expect them to lose again. Idaho, on the other hand, has had its share of struggles so far this season. The Vandals stand at 0-5, and are tied with Troy at the bottom of the Sun Belt. Matt Linehan has been Idaho’s only offensive factor. Linehan has thrown for 1,644 yards and nine touchdowns, but these impressive numbers aren’t important unless they are winning games.

Prediction: 42-14 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.