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Sun Belt Weekend Primer

By Jackson Schroeder
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The Ragin' Cajuns took a major step towards a Sun Belt title with a win over Arkansas State earlier in the week.

Arkansas State at Louisiana:

This was a high-scoring offensive matchup between two of the top Sun Belt teams on Tuesday night. Louisiana had a total of 521 offensive yards, with running back Elijah McGuire rushing for an impressive 265 yards and four touchdowns. His teammate, Alonzo Harris, rushed for 107 yards and four touchdowns of his own. For Arkansas State, it wasn’t so much the ground game that caught the audience's eye as it was the passing attack. Quarterback Fredi Knighten threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns. This matchup came down to the end, until McGuire sealed the deal with a 54-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds left.

Score: 55-40 Louisiana

Troy at South Alabama:

On paper, this shouldn’t be that close of a matchup. Troy is coming off of a 53-14 loss to a struggling Appalachian State team, and South Alabama is 4-2 overall, and 3-1 in the Sun Belt. Troy, truthfully, has very few strengths and hasn’t found a solution to its problems at any position. The Trojan defense is allowing an average of 40.7 points a game, and the offense is averaging 19.6 points per game. Those numbers are the sign of a struggling program. South Alabama is on a three-game winning streak against conference teams. Dual-threat quarterback Brandon Bridge is playing very well. He leads the team in passing with 1,174 yards and eight touchdowns, and is second on the team in rushing with 294 yards rushing and three touchdowns. South Alabama has its eyes set on a Sun Belt title, and a struggling Troy football team won't even give them a scare.

Prediction: 43-17 South Alabama

Georgia Southern at Georgia State:

This in-state matchup isn’t much of a rivalry yet. Georgia Southern safely controls the state of Georgia in the Sun Belt Conference for now. Georgia Southern is 4-0 in the conference, and is a force to be reckoned with. The Eagles' option offense leads the country in rushing yards. Quarterback Kevin Ellison has 687 passing yards with five passing touchdowns, and 669 rushing yards with seven rushing touchdowns. Ellison is closely matched by his running back Matt Breida, who has 831 rushing yards and eight touchdowns through his first seven games. Georgia State is, similarly, an offensive-driven team. However, it is Nick Arbuckle and the high-powered passing offense that drives the Panthers. Nick Arbuckle has thrown for 2,064 yards and 12 touchdowns so far this season. Unfortunately, the defense has struggled mightily. This Panther defense is allowing an average of 40 points a game, and it is tough to win when you have to rely on your offense to have an amazing performance every week. This game will be a blowout in favor of Ellison and the Georgia Southern offense.

Prediction: 34-10 Georgia Southern

Texas State at UL-Monroe:

This will be the closest conference game of the week. Both Texas State and UL-Monroe stand at 3-3, and both have only one conference loss. Texas State relies on its running game, which ranks 22nd in the country behind the performances of running backs Terrence Franks and Robert Lowe. The Bobcats have a high-scoring offense that averages 33.8 points per game. UL-Monroe, on the other hand, only averages 17.5 points per game, and has struggled offensively. The most prominent offensive player on this Warhawk football team is quarterback Pete Thomas, who has thrown for 1,326 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. UL-Monroe is coming off of a two-game losing streak, and I see them expanding that to three this weekend in a close matchup with Texas State.

Prediction: 14-10 Texas State

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.