Sun Belt Sizzle Week Six: Rising from the Dead
While the world focused on the Sun Belt Establishment, the ULM Warhawks have quietly (and suddenly) risen to the top of the conference. How did we let this happen?
Before we engage in a rational recap of sizzling, Week 6 Sun Belt action, I think we need to talk about a team that didn’t even play this week: Troy.
If you listened to college football radio or watched college football TV this weekend, you were left with the impression that LSU is a horrible, dysfunctional poop-bucket of a program because it lost to the Troy Trojans. Had the Tigers lost to, say, Nebraska last Saturday, the story would still be that LSU is a poop bucket. But there’d be other storylines, too, like TANNER LEE IS THE NATION’S MOST UNDERRATED QB, or MIKE RILEY IS A GENIUS! and THE CORNHUSKERS ARE BACK, BABY!
Nobody seemed willing to concede that Troy is simply a good team. Nobody wanted sing the praises of Neal Brown or even remotely consider that, possibly, Troy had better athletes than LSU. Instead, the media just focused on LSU’s god-awfulness! How could this happen? Somehow, thanks to commentators seeking to completely overstate LSU’s loss, Troy’s victory would up besmirching the Sun Belt. After all, the Sun Belt is double-super bad! That makes the LSU loss double-super worse!
But by the end of the day, all was right in the world because LSU beat Florida so that incredibly insulting Troy win was just a fluke.
Meanwhile, let me help the media with the right lede: “Troy Takes Care of Business Against Mediocre SEC Team.” It’s not that hard, you guys.
Arkansas State Red Wolves 43,Georgia Southern Eagles 25
The 18-Point win Red Wolves Fans love to hate
The Georgia Southern Eagles are 0-4 for the first time since, since….you know, I don’t know. Just ask any Eagles’ fan, because each and every one of them is building their case for punting Tyson Summers to the curb. Which is kinda too bad, because the Eagles didn’t play poorly against Arkansas State, doubling their season point average and offensive yardage. Furthermore, freshman QB Shai Werts made freshman mistakes, but its easy to see the kid has talent. The Red Wolves didn’t look especially terrific in Statesboro, with normally reliable QB Justice Hansen throwing four picks. Of course, he also threw four touchdowns, which is why Arkansas State is now 1-0 in conference.
Next Up: Arkansas State hosts Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern welcomes New Mexico State
ULM Warhawks 45, Texas State Bobcats 27
Kneel to our new Sun Belt overlords, the Warhawks!
The first quarter was a 20-19 donnybrook, with the Bobcats taking a wild 1-point lead over the Sun Belt leading Warhawks. Texas State wouldn’t score again until the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, QB Caleb Evans (433 yards, 3 TDs, 1 rushing TD) pretty much did whatever he wanted to the Texas State defense, which was by far the best part about the Bobcats. It had no answers for the most potent offense in the Sun Belt. It’s official, y’all: the Warhawks have risen from the dead, and Darth Viator is our daddy.
Next Up: ULM visits Georgia State, Texas State drops in on the Cajuns
New Mexico State Aggies 31, Appalachian State Mountaineers 45
This game lived up to the hype, yo
Well guess who finally showed up to play some Sun Belt pigskin? Jalin Moore! He pounded the Aggies for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a game that got batshit nuts in the 4th quarter. With Jaleel Scott coming up hurt in the first half, Tyler Rogers turned in a Favre-ian performance, tossing 2 TDs on 356 yards – and five picks! Appalachian State QB Taylor Lamb was uncharacteristically terrible (10/21 for 48 yards and two picks), but Aaron Duckworth and the Mountaineers defense was simply too much for a Scott-less Aggies to overcome in Boone.
Next Up: Appalachian State journeys to Idaho, New Mexico State visits Georgia Southern
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 21, Idaho Vandals 16
That Can’t be the real score, right?
Of course, two teams that have no problem surrendering heaps of points turned in a defensive slug-out in Moscow. The Cajuns’ freshman RB Trey Ragas continues to impress, chalking up 76 yards and a score in a game in which neither team broke 300 yards of offense. Cajuns QB Andre Nunez (18/24, 213 and a score), pressed into staring duty over gimpy Jordan Davis, simply outplayed Vandal starter Matt Linhan (13/18, 149 yards no scores). Hudspeth has already named Nunez the starter for Thursday’s game.
Next Up: Cajuns host Texas State, Idaho welcomes Appalachian State
Georgia State Panthers 27 @ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 21
Break up the Panthers, winners of two straight!
Georgia State QB Conner Manning needed an okay game, and he delivered and okay game, hurling for 273 yards, a TD and a pick to go undefeated in conference play. Penny Hart was his usual brilliant, logging 132 yards and a score, but the key for the Panthers was getting a tiny bit of production from the ground game – two TDs! Meanwhile, Chanticleers’s QB Tyler Keane chucked 3 TDs, two of which came in the fourth to nearly lead Coastal to the comeback. No dice, tho. The Panthers defense surrendered 366 yards, but did just enough to seal the victory.
Next Up: Georgia State drops by ULM, Coastal Carolina visits Arkansas 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.