Sun Belt Conference Football news and notes

Oct. 24

* Middle Tennessee 62, WKU 24 (Sun Belt Network)

* Troy 50, North Texas 26 (Troy/ISP Network)

* Florida Atlantic 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 29

* Arkansas State 27, FIU 10

Kentucky 36, ULM 13 (Fox Sports Net)

Oct. 31

* FIU 20, Louisiana-Lafayette 17 (OT)

* Middle Tennessee 27, Florida Atlantic 20

* North Texas 68, WKU 49

Louisville 21, Arkansas State 13

* Troy 42, ULM 21

Sun Belt Conference Upcoming Games

Nov. 7

Florida Atlantic at UAB - 1 p.m.

* ULL at Arkansas State (Sun Belt Network) - 2:30 p.m.

* ULM at North Texas - 3 p.m.

* FIU at Middle Tennessee - 3:30 p.m. (ESPN360)

* Troy at WKU - 4 p.m.

Nov. 14

* Arkansas State at Florida Atlantic - 3 p.m.

* WKU at ULM - 3 p.m.

* ULL at Middle Tennessee (Sun Belt Network) - 3:15 p.m.

* North Texas at FIU - 6 p.m.

Troy at Arkansas - 6:30 p.m. (CSS)

Sun Belt Conference Team News & Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Senior quarterback Corey Leonard completed 23 passes for 303 yards, both season highs.  Leonard broke the school record for completions with 565, passing Cleo Lemon (1997-2000).  He threw at least one touchdown pass for the fifth straight game and now has 47 for his career, one short of the school record.  Now with 7,255 passing yards, Leonard also became just the second player in ASU history to throw for over 7,000 yards.

Senior receiver Brandon Thompkins recorded his team-best fourth touchdown reception of the season and has now caught a touchdown pass in four of the last five games.  Thompkins needs one more touchdown reception to tie the fifth most in school history for a single season.  He also finished with a team-high seven receptions and is averaging over five catches per game over the last five games.  Thompkins became the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in kickoff return yards, finishing the Louisville game with three returns for 56 yards that gives him 2,357 yards for his career.

Sophomore linebacker Demario Davis recorded at least one sack for the second straight game and now has three for the season, which ties senior defensive end Alex Carrington for the team high . . . Carrington also finished with a sack against the Cardinals and now has 15.5 for his career, which leaves him just half a sack shy of tying the fifth most in school history.

Josh Arauco became the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in field goals made with 51.  The former record of 50 was held by Troy's Greg Whibbs (2004-07).  He connected on both his field goal attempts and has now made multiple field goals in a game 17 times.  Arauco also took over sole possession of second place for the most points by kicking in Sun Belt Conference history with 254 points.

Florida Atlantic Owls

Quarterback Rusty Smith crossed several monumental milestones on Saturday but the Owls fell short in their only goal of winning the game. Smith threw for 304 yards which place him among just 50 quarterbacks that have thrown for 10,000 yards during their collegiate career. He also entered the game three pass attempts from capturing the consecutive pass attempts without an interception. He surpassed that but saw Middle take two during the game ending his active streak.

The Owls dropped to 2-5 on the year and 2-2 in league play and will prepare of non-conference play this week. FAU will travel to Alabama, the first of two trips in 2009, when the Owls face UAB. FAU captured the only meeting between the two schools in 2008.

Tight end Jason Harmon was named Honorable Mention Tight End of the Week by College Football Performance Awards.

FIU Golden Panthers

A blocked kick by freshman defensive end Tourek Williams in the first overtime period sent the FIU Panthers to a 20-17 victory over the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. As the ball fell short of the uprights, FIU players rushed the field as the Panthers defeated the Cajuns for the first time in program history. The win pushed FIU's all-time overtime record to 2-3. It was FIU's first-ever FBS overtime victory.

On the day, FIU outgained UL 395-380, including 145 to 126 on the ground, marking the first time this year that FIU outrushed an opponent. Senior Daunte Owens led the way for the FIU ground game, racking up 58 yards on just 13 carries. Darriet Perry added 47 yards and Kendall Berry picked up 23 and scored his second TD of the season.

Through the air, Paul McCall completed 22 of 41 attempts for 250 yards. His favorite target was freshman Wayne Times, who had his best game of the season, hauling in 6 balls for 60 yards.

FIU also won the battle of hidden yardage, as punter Carlos Munera averaged 48.3 yards per punt despite punting seven times. His longest kick of the day was a whopping 65 yards, and he pinned the Cajuns inside their 20 three times.

Trailing by seven with just 10 seconds to go, Paul McCall found Greg Ellingson in the back of the endzone for the game-tying touchdown. In the first overtime period, FIU had to settle for a FG attempt that Dustin Rivest banged through the uprights. When the Cajuns took over the ball, FIU linebacker Tyler Clawson took over the game. The senior made three stops, one for a one-yard gain, one for no gain and one for a two-yard loss to force the FG attempt for the Cajuns.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State will meet for the 38th time, with the Cajuns holding a slight edge (19-17-1).  ULL is 7-9-1 in Jonesboro, although the home team has won every game in the series dating back to 1998.  Five of the Cajuns seven wins in Jonesboro came between 1990-97.  Coach Bustle is 4-2 vs. ASU, but 0-2 in Jonesboro - falling 39-36 in 2005 (Cajuns led that game 29-14 after three quarters) and 52-21 in 2007 (Cajuns trailed just 31-21 at the half).

ULL tight ends have combined for 47 receptions this season, while the wide receivers have combined for 66 total catches.  A tight end has led the team in receptions in five of eight games this season.

The Cajuns had 18 penalties for 170 yard over their first five games, but committed 24 penalties for 196 yards in the last three games.

The Cajuns have 11 interceptions this season, becoming the first team to collect double figures in interceptions since 2003.  That '03 team included four players who would eventually sign NFL contracts (C.C. Brown, Antwain Spann, Wendall Williams & Michael Adams).

The Cajuns have put together 17 drives greater than 60 yards this season.  Fourteen of those drives resulted in a touchdown, while one other ended in a field goal.

ULM Warhawks

Redshirt freshman Cody Wells made his second collegiate start at quarterback.  Wells' three touchdown passes set a new career-high.

Wide receiver Darrell McNeal extended his consecutive games with a reception steak to 30 games - it ranks as the 13th longest active streak in the NCAA.

Running back Frank Goodin moved within 244 yards of fourth place on the ULM career rushing list after totaling 94 yards on 20 carries

ULM held Troy to just three rushing yards on 13 carries in the opening half and 50 yards on 25 carries for the game.

Aaron Morgan's interception in the second quarter was the first of his career.

Cardia Jackson moved within 21 tackles of becoming the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leading tackler. He finished the game with 12 tackles - his fourth straight game with 10+ tackles.

LaGregory Sapp has 25 catches for 454 yards over the past five games - 90.8 yards per game

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Sophomore D.D. Kyles, who made his second career start today, registered the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and the first by a Blue Raider since Phillip Tanner had 159 yards against North Texas last year. Kyles rushed 13 times for a career-best 140 yards and a touchdown with 97 of his yards coming in the second half. It went down as just the sixth 100-yard rushing game under Rick Stockstill and two of those have come against FAU.

QB Dwight Dasher recorded his second career 100-yard rushing game against FAU. The junior rushed 14 times for 108 yards, including the go-ahead fourth quarter touchdown. Dasher's 74-yard TD run was the longest of his career and the longest by a Blue Raider since Phillip Tanner went 79 yards in 2007 against Louisville for a score.

SaCoby Carter raced in to block an FAU punt in the first quarter that walk-on Sherman Neal picked up and sprinted 29 yards to the endzone for a touchdown. In the Blue Raiders' last visit to FAU, Jeremy Kellem blocked a punt that was returned for a score by Michael Cannon. The block was the first of Carter's career and the 29th for the Blue Raiders in the FBS era. The team added its 30th later in the quarter.

Senior Desmond Gee recorded 123 all-purpose yards against FAU to move up further on the all-time list at Middle Tennessee. Gee passed Vince Hall for seventh and Brigham Lyons for sixth as he ran his career total to 3,903 yards. He needs only 13 more yards to catch Mike Moore for fifth place.

Senior Marcus Udell turned in one of the best games of his career against FAU. Udell blocked an FAU field goal in the second quarter for his first career block, then on the next FAU possession, he intercepted a Rusty Smith pass to break Smith's streak of 187 attempts without a pick. Udell later added an interception in the fourth quarter to give him a team-best four for the year.

North Texas Mean Green

North Texas scored 68 points in the win over Western Kentucky, setting a new school record.

The win snapped North Texas' six game losing streak, and is the Mean Green's first over a Sun Belt opponent since Oct. 13, 2007 - a span of 15 games. The win also snapped an eight game home losing streak.

Lance Dunbar rushed for 227 yards, giving him five straight games over the century mark. His 71-yard touchdown scamper was a career long and the longest play from scrimmage by North Texas this year.

Dunbar has now rushed for over 200 yards in two of his last three games. The sophomore has now run for 961 yards through eight games this year.

Quarterback Riley Dodge scrambled for touchdown runs of 18, 3 and1 yards. The efforts gave the freshman his first career multi-rushing touchdown game.

On top of the three rushing scores, Dodge also threw for four touchdowns. The seven touchdowns rank second in school history for the most touchdowns responsible by a North Texas player. The last player with more was Giovanni Vizza (8 touchdowns) in the Navy shootout loss on Nov. 10, 2007.

Eddrick Gilmore recorded the first safety by a North Texas player since Nov. 4, 2006 (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette), when he tackled Kawaun Jakes in the endzone in the fourth quarter.

James Hamilton plunged into the endzone for his first touchdown of the year on the game's opening drive. The score was the second of his career.

Troy Trojans

With the win over ULM on Halloween night, the Trojans improved to 8-3-1 all-time against the Warhawks. Troy also improved to 6-2-1 all-time on Halloween.

Trojans coach Larry Blakeney posted his 150th career victory in the win over ULM. Blakeney now stands just 23 wins behind his coaching mentor, Ralph "Shug" Jordan for third among all collegiate coaches in Alabama. Blakeney improved to 56-17-1 in his career during the month of October, a .757 winning percentage for the month. The Trojans also improved to 57-1 all-time under Larry Blakeney when scoring at least 35 points.  In his 19 seasons at Troy, Blakeney is 82-12-1 at Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium, an .863 winning percentage.

Troy improved to 23-3 vs. Sun Belt Conference foes over the last three-plus seasons with the victory over ULM. The Trojans' .884 winning percentage in league games going back to 2006 ranks as the fourth best in the nation over that time, trailing only Boise State (26-1), BYU (25-3) and Ohio State (27-3).

QB Levi Brown continues to climb the career passing charts at Troy. With his performance against ULM, Brown moved to within 820 yards of Omar Haugabook for third in career passing yards with 4,556. With a career-high four TD passes against ULM, Brown moved into a sixth in TD passes with 29, just one behind Mike Turk for fifth place.

Junior receiver Jerrel Jernigan moved up to seventh on the Troy career list with 1,739 yards. Jernigan has 147 career receptions, good for fifth all time, just eight behind Gary Banks for fourth.

Junior running back DuJuan Harris scored a touchdown in the win over ULM, moving him to within two scores of Trojans defensive coordinator Jeremy Rowell of  fifth place on the Troy career list. Harris now has 18 career rushing touchdowns.

WKU Hilltoppers

Thanks to a season-high nine catches at North Texas, senior wide receiver Jake Gaebler now sits at 148 career receptions - just one away from tying the school record, and two from breaking Curtis Hamilton's mark of 149 set during his time on the Hill between 2004-07.  After missing nearly three full games due to an injury, Gaebler has made up ground the past two games, combining for 15 catches and 158 receiving yards against Middle Tennessee and North Texas.  His team-high 58 receiving yards against UNT also moved him into seventh on the career receiving yards list with 1,652.

Two Hilltopper receivers hauled in their first career touchdowns last week at North Texas.  Tight end Jack Doyle - who had been WKU's top receiver most of the season - hauled in his first score on a three-yard pass.  Marcus Vasquez also found paydirt for the first time on the Hill with a 13-yard TD reception.

The 117 combined points scored by WKU and North Texas last week were the most in a game involving a Hilltopper team.  The previous total was 104 on Sept. 24, 1994 when Central Florida defeated WKU 59-45.  The only other game with 100 or more combined points was a 52-50 triple-overtime win against Murray State on Sept. 6, 1997.

For the first time this season, and second time in his career, senior running back Marell Booker rushed for over 100 yards as he went for a career-high 104 on eight carries last Saturday against North Texas.  It was the third 100-yard rushing performance of the season by a Hilltopper.  Brandon Smith ran for 105 yards against South Florida, and Bobby Rainey went for 115 on 19 carries against Louisiana-Lafayette.