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Sun Belt Weekend Recap

By Jackson Schroeder
SouthernPigskin.com
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Georgia Southern clinched the Sun Belt title with a win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday evening.

Navy at South Alabama:

South Alabama played very well during this matchup, and put up a tremendous fight offensively. South Alabama jumped out to an early 17-7 lead after the first quarter, but they struggled throughout the second and third, being outscored 28-3 in those respective quarters. Coach Joey Jones must have given the Jaguars a good talking to before the fourth quarter, because South Alabama almost made the big comeback, scoring 21 points in the final 15 minutes. It was surprising that Navy, after blowing out the Sun Belt champion Georgia Southern Eagles, would go and almost lose to a middle-of-the-conference team. The Midshipmen ended up pulling out the close win thanks to quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns, and fullback Noah Copeland, who rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns. South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge almost led his team to a comeback win, throwing for 172 yards and four touchdowns in the matchup.

Score: 42-40 Navy

Louisiana at Troy:

Troy put up a good first half fight against Louisiana on Saturday, outscoring the Ragin’ Cajuns 23-21. The Trojans, however, must have fallen asleep in the locker room because Louisiana went on to score 21 unanswered in the second half. For Louisiana, running back Elijah McGuire had a tremendous game, rushing for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Troy’s offensive success came from quarterback Brandon Silvers, who threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns in the matchup. This served as a good bounce-back game for Louisiana after losing to Appalachian State last week. The 8-4 Ragin’ Cajuns now have the chance to make a decent bowl game. Troy, on the other hand, will call this a rebuilding season and look to Silvers to lead the Trojans to a winning season in 2015.

Score: 42-23 Louisiana

Idaho at Appalachian State:

Appalachian State is debatably the hottest team in the Sun Belt right now. And as presumed, a struggling Idaho team did not get in the Mountaineers' way on Saturday. Although Idaho was the first to score, Appalachian State was up by nine at the half and didn’t turn back. The Mountaineers controlled this game from start to finish. Appalachian State quarterback Taylor Lamb threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Running back Marcus Cox performed as expected, rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. For Idaho, quarterback Matt Linehan threw for 208 yards and one touchdown. Things didn't go as planned for Idaho this season, but the Vandals can look forward to having a good young quarterback returning next season.

Score: 45-28 Appalachian State

Texas State at Georgia State:

After Georgia State started off the game with a first quarter field goal, Texas State scored 34 unanswered, and that was enough to put away a struggling Georgia State football team. Georgia State attempted a fourth quarter comeback, but the Panthers could not hold Texas State on defense. Bobcat running back Robert Lowe rushed for 146 yards, and his teammate, Terrence Franks, rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown in the win. Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle performed as expected, throwing for 356 yards and four touchdowns in the game. Arbuckle has really been the only offensive star for this Panther team. For Georgia State to improve, the Panthers need to focus on recruiting defensive players to work on their 128th ranked defense.

Score: 54-31 Texas State

New Mexico State at Arkansas State:

The first quarter of this game ended with a score of 7-7. After that, the New Mexico State defense must have left the field. Arkansas State put up a total of 61 points in the last three quarters. The Aggies stuck around in the first half, only being down by a score of 27-21 at halftime. After that, Arkansas State’s team completely turned it around and started dominating. Red Wolves quarterback Fredi Knighten threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Michael Gordon rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns, and even had himself a receiving touchdown as well. New Mexico State quarterback Tyler Rogers performed well, throwing the ball for 314 yards and four touchdowns. After starting off the season 2-0, the Aggies have now ended their season losing a disappointing ten straight.

Score: 68-35 Arkansas State

UL-Monroe at Georgia Southern:

Georgia Southern did end up winning this game, and, therefore, winning the Sun Belt, However, it did not go as smoothly as expected. ULM really gave the conference champs a run for their money on Saturday. The Warhawks were up by a score of 13-9 going into the fourth quarter. Georgia Southern then scored two straight touchdowns to go up by a score of 22-13. ULM could not fully come back from that deficit, only being able to score a field goal with 2:04 left in the game.  It was star quarterback Kevin Ellison that led the Eagles offensively, passing for 136 yards, and rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown. For ULM, quarterback Pete Thomas did all he could do, throwing for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, this was a great win for the Eagles, who clinched a conference championship in their first season in the FBS.

Score: 22-16 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.