2018 Sun Belt Sizzle Week 3: Sun Burn
Sun Belt Sizzle keeps y’all woke on what’s hot in Sun Belt football.
Man, I have some hot news for you! As of two weeks, only a single Sun Belt program has a losing record – pick it up, Jaguars! We owe much of that success to Week 2. Despite losing all three power five road games, the conference notched six wins (including three against poor C-USA)
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Yessir, that’s some progress! Last year, the Sun Belt notched 4 wins over FBS programs all year. This week, the Sun Belt has good opportunity to add to the the glory
Wednesday, September 12
Coastal Carolina @ Campbell Wolfpack, 1:00 PM on ESPN3 at Barker-Lane Stadium
(Chants, 95.9% FPI)
Coastal and Campbell were supposed to play on Saturday in Conway, but Hurricane Florence said “nope.” Now the Chants get the Fighting Camels at Buis Creek on Wednesday. Four days rest isn’t great, but maybe four days is all one needs to neutralize camels. I dunno. Go ask a vet.
Anyhoo, great bounce back 47-24 win for the Chants over the Blazers after taking a beating (and an L) against South Carolina in Week 1. Coastal Carolina pounded 5 rushing TDs, including two (plus 140 yards) from RB Marcus Outlow.
Meanwhile, I know nothing about Campbell, except that they’re two and zero and are hosting an FBS team in their stadium this Wednesday afternoon.
Coastal Carolina 28, Campbell 17
Friday, September 14
Georgia State @ Memphis, 6:00 PM on ESPN at Liberty Stadium
(Panthers , 2.9% FPI)
Ah, this is more like it! A meaty, G5-on-G5 fracas on national TV. The Panthers gleaned a lot of tough-love experience this Saturday in a 41-7 loss to North Carolina State. Georgia State actually scored first, but were shut out the remainder of the game while the Wolfpack racked up a whopping 426 passing yards.
Memphis is currently undergoing psychiatric therapy following a heartbreaking 21-22 loss to Navy. A bright spot for the Tigers: junior running back Darrell Henderson, who chalked up 212 ground yards and 3TDs against the Midshipman. The Panthers will want to keep Henderson in check, and keep the Tiger’s air attack grounded. No big.
Georgia State 20, Memphis 14
Friday, September 14
Troy @ Nebraska, 11:00 AM on the Big 10 Network at Memorial Stadium
(Trojans +11.5, 15.2% FPI)
Troy shook off a super-sad effort against Boise State to open the season with a 59-7 nose-breaking of Florida A&M. Trojan quarterback Caleb Barker accounted for five TDs (four passing) while the Troy defense pretty much toyed with the Rattlers all afternoon.
In Lincoln, everybody is still all-chill with Scott Frost despite opening the year with a 33-28 loss to former rival Colorado. Nebraska has a lot to be enthused about in freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, who is a classic dual-threat QB. Taking on Nebraska and 100,000 fans will be a change of pace from pounding on the Rattlers. I’m sure Neal Brown has a plan.
Troy 35, Nebraska 24
Georgia Southern @ #2 Clemson, 2:30 PM on ESPN2 at Memorial Stadium
(Eagles +33.5, 2.2% FPI)
About three hours and a trillion dollars separate the Eagles from the Tigers, though both programs share identical two and oh records. Chad Lundsford and Georgia Southern are off to a good start, having avenged last year’s loss to UMASS last year with a 34-13 pistol-whipping. Quarterback Shai Werts was incredible again, accounting for three touchdowns while giving running back Wesley Fields (141 yards) plenty to room to do his, uh, Wesley Fields thing.
Clemson nearly got Sun Belt Roasted by Troy last season, so Dabo probably ain’t taking chances with Eagles. Still, Lundsford Magic is a real thing, restoring the confounding triple option to Statesboro and unlocking Werts’ super-abilities. That should be enough.
Georgia Southern 28, #2 Clemson 10
Southern Miss @ Appalachian State, 2:30 PM on ESPN+ at Kidd Brewer Stadium
(Mountaineers +15.5, 88.2% FPI)
Man, you’d think the Golden Eagles would have had enough of getting Sun Belt Cooked, having already taken it in the face against ULM. Now they get the Mountaineers, a team that has seen no drop-off in its transition from Taylor Lamb to Zach Thomas, who was awarded Sun Belt offensive player of the week after torching Charlotte for 295 yards and three TDs.
Unless Brett Favre suits up for Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles will likely have all it can handle from the Appalachian State defense, too, who limited the 49ers to 203 total yards.
Appalachian State 28, Southern Miss 16
Arkansas State @ Tulsa, 6:00PM on CBSSN at Chapman Stadium
(Chants -1, 33.5% FPI)
True, the Red Wolves didn’t provide #1 Alabama with much of a challenge (57-7), but they did put some decent rushing numbers on the Crimson Tide’s stout defense and emerged from Tuscaloosa uninjured. Seize victory where where it can be seized!
This week, Arkansas State gets a crack at the Golden Hurricane, who may have managed all of two wins last season, but they would have beaten Texas last week had they managed not to miss three first-half field goals or catch a few critical passes. This one looks to be goooooooooooood.
Arkansas State 41, Tulsa 28
Texas State @ South Alabama, 6:00 PM on ESPN+ at Ladd-Peebles Stadium
(Jaguars -10.5, 74.3% FPI)
Heat on Heat violence is pulling America together! Bobcats versus Jags represents the Sun Belt’s first intra-conference matchup, and I’m not sure if you’d call it a doozy or a humdinger. Bobcats notched a W into the, uh, “W” column with a victory over Texas Southern on Saturday. On the same night, South Alabama was savaged (again) by Oklahoma State 55-13.
Neither team is especially lights out, with both teams ironing out problems on offense. Winner avoids the Sun Belt East cellar.
Texas State 21, South Alabama 28
Louisiana @ #16 Mississippi State, 6:30PM on the SEC Network at Davis Wade Stadium
(Cajuns +33.5, 1.1% FPI)
The Cajuns really took it to Grambling in Week 1! Running back Trey Ragas looks pretty stout after his breakout freshman campaign, and senior quarterback Andre Nunez (19/22, 184 yards) was spooky accurate against the Tigers. So bring on the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State already has set of blowout wins over Kansas and Stephen F. Austin, but the Cajuns might be their toughest opponent to date. Louisiana will need a game plan for sophomore running back Kylin Hill, who already has a trio of TDs on the year.
Louisiana 45, Mississippi State 35
ULM @ Texas A&M, 6:30 PM on the SEC Network at Kyle Field
(Warhawks +26.5, 2.9% FPI)
While Georgia Southern gets Daba, the Warhawks get Jimbo. Bingo! Really, this is he bulk of my analysis. Bingo!
ULM 17, Texas A&M 14
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.