Sun Belt Autopsy Week Seven: It’s Alive
Week Seven proved an ancient college football maxim: nothing can be predicted in the Sun Belt. You’re a fool to even try.
You may (or may not) recall that last week I devoted this section of Sun Belt Autopsy to lambasting the AP Top 25 for choosing a number of undeserving Group of Five programs over Troy, who had just knocked off #25 LSU and was obviously the finest G5 program in the universe. The AP was clearly comprised of fools for favoring Navy, who hadn’t played anyone of note! It was a conspiracy to hamstring the Sun Belt!
I really went to bat for you Troy. My principals! My journalistic integrity! My reputation! All on the line for you! And in true Trojan fashion, the South Bama Jags rolled into Troy inside a wooden horse and flat out destroyed all of the Sun Belt’s hopes and dreams for cracking the AP Top 25. Making the bitterness more, er, bitter was G5 competitors like Navy and San Diego State also tanking, leaving room for Troy to slide right on in. But nope! NOPE!
South Alabama Jaguars 19, Troy Trojans 8
How is this even a real football score?
On the day the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm committee released its Top 20, naming Trojan QB Brandon Silvers among its nominees, Silvers turned in a sloppy 24/46, one pick and no TD performance at home against the Jags. If you checked in on ESPN2 Wednesday night, you likely wondered what dark sorcery or sinister deal with Beelzebub enabled Troy to best LSU the week before. From overthrowing open receivers to repeatedly missing makable field goals, Troy did everything but personally buckle The Battle of the Belt belt on Joey Jones’ waste. Congrats to the Jags, tho, who made me look like the ass I am.
Next Up: Troy gets Georgia State, South Alabama drops in on ULM
Texas State Bobcats 7, Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 24
Some things go according to plan
The Cajuns have a new QB (Andre Nunez) and a new two-game winning streak after knocking off the Texas State Bobcats, who haven’t won a conference game since November 19th, 2015. Nunez and freshman RB Trey Ragas (72 yards, 2 TDs) have provided a stable offensive spark, but the renewed interest in defense (holding opponents to an average of 12 points the las two games) is what makes Mark Hudspeth’s crew dangerous as conference play heats up.
Next Up: Cajuns meet the Red Wolves, Texas State takes the week off to contemplate this FBS football thing
Appalachian State Mountaineers 23, Idaho Vandals 20
Football is four quarters, Paul. FOur!
Good God, Vandals, what will it take for you to close out an opponent in the fourth quarter? In Week 3, Idaho allowed an 18-0 run in the fourth quarter to blow a nine point lead to Western Michigan. This Saturday, leading 20-0 headed into the fourth, the Vandals surrendered 23 unanswered points to the Mountaineers, who apparently needed 3 quarters to rest after its 2,500 mile trip to Moscow. Tyler Lamb, who had seemed completely neutralized by the Vandal defense, ended up throwing 3 TDs in the comeback victory. The drop to the Big Sky can’t happen for Paul Petrino and his Vandals soon enough.
Next Up: Mountaineers host Coastal Carolina, Idaho punishes itself against Missouri
Georgia State Panthers 47, ULM Warhawks 37
See, I told you Conner Manning wasn’t bad
Ever since I named Conner Manning a Top 5 QB in the Sun Belt, Conner Manning hasn’t been very good. Sorry, Conner Manning! But then Manning totally redeemed himself with a 446 yard, 4 TD performance against conference leader ULM (who can’t make up their minds between Caleb Evans and Garret Smith). Penny Hart gobbled up three of those Manning touchdowns, and the Panthers even found a bit of ground game with Kyler Neal chipping in 65 yards and a score. Now Georgia State is 2-0 in the Sun Belt, and maybe we start treating them as serious contenders?
Next Up: Georgia State takes on Troy, ULM visits Trojan-killing South Alabama
New Mexico State Aggies 35, Georgia Southern Eagles 27
The Eagles Have CratereD
Georgia Southern entered the fourth quarter with an 8 point lead and its first victory of the season in sight. Sadly, Tyler Rogers and New Mexico State was having none of that, rallying with a pair of TDs in the 4th quarter (an exclusive Sun Belt theme) to execute the comeback. The excellent Georgia Southern pass defense continued to shine, as Monquavion Brinson intercepted Rogers twice. But Rogers still managed to put up 382 yards and a trio of TDs, with super-stud Jaleel Scott catching two.
Next Up: Winless Georgia Southern takes on equally-as-winless UMASS, New Mexico State takes a week off
Arkansas State Red Wolves 51, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 17
You Chant Not Win!
Osharmar Abercrombie opened the game with a 55 yard run for the Chanticleers. The effort resulted in a missed field goal. It was that kind of night for Coastal Carolina, who saw staring QB Tyler Keane and his replacement, Dalton Demos, both go down in the first half with injuries. Meanwhile, Justice Hansen (the Sun Belt’s other Golden Arm nominee) casually threw 5 touchdowns on 286 yards while leading the Red Wolves in rushing with 68 lumbering yards. The Monster Defense chipped in three sacks, and concluded the evening with a scoop and score. As usual, Arkansas State somehow bounces into championship form just in time for conference play.
Next Up: Red Wolves host the Cajuns on Thursday night, and Coastal gets them some Appalachian State
A former notary public, Jeremy Harper is a professional writer and Chief Instigator for Storm the Castle Creative. He spends much of his free time staring blankly into space.