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Sun Belt Weekend Recap

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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It was a disappointing weekend in the Sun Belt, as the conference went 0-10 in non-conference action.

Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech:

This game was a rollercoaster. There were moments, such as going into halftime with the Yellow Jackets up by 25 points, when Eagle fans wanted to turn off their TV set. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas put together an impressive performance with four touchdown passes. The Eagles came back to lead by three in the fourth quarter, led by quarterback Kevin Ellison and running back Matt Breida. However, they blew that lead with 23 seconds left with a Georgia Tech touchdown pass from Thomas to Deon Hill. This matchup almost resulted in an upset. And while Georgia Southern is off to a 1-2 start, the Eagles are a lot better football team than what their record shows.

Score: 42-38 Georgia Tech

Air Force at Georgia State:

This was the third straight game where Georgia State’s offense has been impressive, while the defense has been pitiful. In three games, the Panthers have given up 119 points. Air Force quarterback Kale Pearson had a big day, throwing for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and averaging 14.3 yards per pass. Air Force running back Jacobi Owens had an equally impressive game, rushing for 122 yards and two scores. This game was truly an all-offensive matchup. Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns. If you enjoy watching explosive offenses, follow these two teams this year.

Score: 48-38 Air Force

Arkansas State at Miami (FL):

Miami jumped out to an early lead against Arkansas State and never backed down. This matchup went completely as expected, with a blowout win in favor of the BCS conference team. Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya passed for 342 yards and four touchdowns, and connected with wide Receiver Phillip Dorsett for 201 of those yards and two scoress. While this game went as expected, this was not a terrible loss for Arkansas State. Putting up 20 points against a strong ACC contender is a good day for a Sun Belt football team.

Score: 41-20 Miami (FL)

Louisiana at #14 Ole Miss:

Ole Miss is a very strong team with a very difficult schedule this year. This week, though, was practically a bye for the Rebels. Putting 56 points up against a good Sun Belt team is not something Ole Miss would have done the past few years. If this Rebel team, led by quarterback Bo Wallace, makes it through its challenging SEC West schedule, they will have a decent chance at making the playoffs. In this matchup, Wallace had no problem picking up 316 passing yards and four touchdowns. There was no leading component on the Louisiana side, as Terrance Broadway, Louisiana’s star quarterback, was picked off three times.  Louisiana, being the projected number one team in the Sun Belt, has had its share of problems in the first three games.

Score: 56-15 Ole Miss

Western Michigan at Idaho:

This week’s matchup between MAC and Sun Belt Conference teams went in favor of the MAC. This was a high scoring offensive battle with both offenses putting up over 30 points. Quarterback Zach Terrell threw for three touchdowns, while his fellow Western Michigan teammate Jarvion Franklin ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Idaho played well offensively as well, led by quarterback Matt Linehan, who generated 362 yards passing and three touchdowns. These two teams both seem to be middle-of-the-conference teams that will win some and lose some this year.

Score: 45-33 Western Michigan

Mississippi State at South Alabama:

This game was not an even matchup. Mississippi State is off to a very hot start, as the Bulldogs are 3-0 and haven’t yet fallen out of contention in the SEC West. South Alabama is yet another .500 Sun Belt football team. Jereme Jones was the Jaguars' standout player in this matchup with seven catches for 76 yards. While there was not much offense in this game for South Alabama, that was not the case for Mississippi State. Bulldog quarterback Dak Prescott rushed for 139 yards in the win, and the Bulldogs feel very confident putting the ball in his hands.

Score: 35-3 Mississippi State

Abilene Christian at Troy:

This was a matchup this weekend against two struggling football programs. The Wildcats are off to a 1-2 start, and they gave Georgia State its first win in 13 games. Troy is 0-3, and lost this past weekend against a very weak team. The Trojans broke out with an explosive start, scoring 21 in the first half. However, they played a disappointing second half, allowing 31 points on defense. Abilene Christian quarterback Parker McKenzie threw for 342 yards in the win, and hit wide receiver Cedric Gilbert three times for 84 yards. This would be considered a rebuilding year for these two programs, so don’t look for much excitement this season from either team.

Score: 38-35 Abilene Christian

UL Monroe at #10 LSU:

LSU handed UL Monroe its first loss in a 31-0 shutout Saturday. The Tigers seem to have a very impressive defense this season, coming off their second straight shutout win.  The Tiger offense, while strong against teams such as UL Monroe, is the only thing that could hurt LSU this season. Quarterback Anthony Jennings threw for a mere 139 yards. The thing that LSU is very good at is spreading the ball around. They don’t rely on only a few star players. There were very few offensive stats for UL Monroe this game, as quarterback Pete Thomas threw for only 77 yards. This game on Saturday night went as expected, and it shouldn’t slow UL Monroe down too much.

Score: 31-0 LSU

New Mexico State at UTEP:

UTEP seemed to be the dominant team throughout this entire game. The Miners jumped out to a 11-point lead going into halftime, and didn’t slow down from there. Running back Aaron Jones led the Miners on his feet with 168 yards and two touchdowns. The most prominent element of the Aggies team Saturday was their quarterback, Tyler Rogers, who threw for 324 yards. UTEP and New Mexico State are programs that will be successful this year in their respective conferences.

Score: 42-24 UTEP

Navy at Texas State:

Navy jumped out to a big first half lead of 28-7 going in to halftime. However, the Midshipmen allowed Texas State to generate a second half comeback. Quarterback Tago Smith did a good job replacing the injured starter Keenan Reynolds. He generated 202 yards of offense and four touchdowns. Quarterback Tyler Jones for Texas State had an impressive game as well, passing for 231 yards and rushing for 82.  Texas State proved that it is able to compete with talented teams, but the Bobcats knew they weren’t going win this one going into it.

Score: 35-21 Navy

The Sun Belt Weekend Recap was written by Jackson Schroeder.