Sun Belt Conference Football news and notes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sun Belt Conference Football news and notes

Upcoming Games

October 2

Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (ESPNU) - 11 a.m.

FIU at Pittsburgh (ESPN3.com) - 2:30 p.m.

* Louisiana-Lafayette at North Texas (Sun Belt Network) - 6:30 p.m.

Louisville at Arkansas State (ESPN3.com) - 6 p.m.

Florida Atlantic at South Florida (ESPN3.com) - 6 p.m.

 

October 5

* Troy at Middle Tennessee (ESPN2) - 7 p.m.

 

October 8

Oklahoma State at Louisiana-Lafayette (ESPN2) - 8 p.m.

 

October 9

* WKU at FIU (Sun Belt Network) - 2:30 p.m.

* Florida Atlantic at Louisiana-Monroe - 6 p.m.

* Arkansas State at North Texas - 6 p.m.

 

Recent Results

 

September 25

Maryland 42, FIU 28

Troy 35, Arkansas State 28

Middle Tennessee 34, Louisiana-Lafayette 14

Louisiana-Monroe 21, Southeastern Louisiana 20

South Florida 24, WKU 12

North Texas 21, Florida Atlantic 17

 

Troy starts Sun Belt Title Defense with Win over ASU

Troy began its "Drive for Five" as the Trojans began Sun Belt Conference play with a 35-28 win over Arkansas State Saturday. Troy is in search of its fifth consecutive Sun Belt Conference Championship and has now won 12 consecutive Sun Belt Conference games dating back to 2008.

 

Jerrel Jernigan had a career day for the Trojans in leading Troy to a come-from-behind victory over the Red Wolves. Jernigan set the bar on the third play of the game when he took a pass over the middle from Corey Robinson, split two ASU defenders to race 70 yards for a touchdown. For the game he had 10 receptions for a career-high 209 yards and that one score.

 

Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Louisiana-Monroe also collected wins on Saturday with the Blue Raiders and Mean Green doing so in conference play.

 

Only one Sun Belt Conference game is on the docket for next Saturday with Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas scheduled for the Sun Belt Network game of the week. The Sun Belt Conference will have three showdowns with the Big East on Saturday as FIU travels to Pitt, Florida Atlantic plays at South Florida and Arkansas State hosts Louisville.

 

The league will be highlighted on ESPN2 on Tuesday, October 5 when Middle Tennessee hosts Troy and again when Louisiana-Lafayette hosts Oklahoma State on Friday, October 8.

 

Players of the Week

 

Offensive Player of the Week

Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, Sr., WR)

Had a career day for the Trojans in leading Troy to a come-from-behind victory over the Red Wolves in Sun Belt Conference opener. Set the bar on the third play of the game when he took a pass over the middle from Corey Robinson, split two ASU defenders to race 70 yards for a touchdown. For the game he had 10 receptions for a career-high 209 yards and that one score. He also had two key receptions in the Trojans' game-winning drive, hauling in a short pass over the middle and going 30 yards on the first play of the drive and then, two plays later, making another catch for a 10-yard gain to the 17 to set up the winning touchdown. Hauled in a pass from Jamie Hampton to convert a two-point try for the final 7-point margin of victory in the game. Jernigan had a season-high 311 all-purpose yards in the game. With his performance, Jernigan moved up five spots on the Sun Belt career list for receiving yards and now stands just 28 yards shy of the league mark. He also moved up two spots to third on the league career all-purpose yardage list and stands just 508 yards shy of that record.

Defensive Player of the Week

Jamari Lattimore (Middle Tennessee, Sr., DE)

Lattimore set a school record and tied the Sun Belt mark with four sacks against Louisiana-Lafayette on the road in the Sun Belt opener. He moved into a third-place tie on the school's all-time sack list, needing just one more to tie for second. Lattimore was instrumental in the Blue Raider defense holding the Ragin' Cajuns off the scoreboard in the second half and just 140 offensive yards after halftime. Lattimore finished the game with eight tackles, including seven solo stops, to tie for the team lead. He also forced one of two fumbles on the night. Overall, the Middle Tennessee defense collected seven sacks for a loss of 35 yards, while totaling 10 tackles for a loss of 47 yards.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Alan Gendreau (Middle Tennessee, Jr., K)

Gendreau lined up and nailed the second-longest field goal in Sun Belt and school history with a career-long 55-yarder with just over a minute to play in the first half. He opened the game by connecting on a 40-yard field goal, giving Middle Tennessee the lead it would never relinquish against Louisiana-Lafayette. In addition to his pair of field goals, Gendreau chipped extra points on all four Blue Raider touchdowns to finish with 10 points for the game. His 10 points moved him into ninth place on the school's all-time scoring list with 194 in his career.

 

Sun Belt Conference News & Notes

 

Arkansas State Red Wolves

A-State entered the Troy game averaging 5.7 plays per game covering 20-plus yards and picked up at least 20 yards on eight plays against the Trojans, giving it 19 for the season . . . Junior running back Jermaine Robertson recorded a career-high 68 rushing yards, including a career-long 36-yard run, against Troy and recorded his second rushing touchdown of the year . . . Sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin recorded a season-high 89 rushing yards against Troy, which is also the second most of his career. Aplin added 237 passing yards to finish with over 300 yards of total offense for the third consecutive game. He also tied his career high with two touchdown passes, giving him six for the season and nine for his career . . . ASU has posted at least 366 yards of total offense in every game this season and over 400 yards in each of the last three games. The last time ASU posted over 300 yards of total offense in four straight games was the last four games of the 2008 season . . . A-State recorded over 200 rushing yards for the second straight game and its 213 yards on the ground against the Trojans was its second most of the year . . . Junior wide receiver Allen Muse recorded a career-high seven receptions for 119 yards and his first career touchdown. He now has two 100-yard receiving games in four outings . . . Junior safety Kelcie McCray and senior linebacker Javon McKinnon both recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Troy, which are also the most by an ASU player this season . . . The Red Wolves posted one interception and one fumble recovery against Troy, giving them back-to-back games with at least one pick and two games this year with a fumble recovery (recorded two vs. Auburn) . . . Sophomore cornerback Chaz Scales posted his first career interception and sophomore defensive back Tausean Holmes got his first career interception last week . . . Redshirt defensive lineman Amos Draper recorded his second sack of the season and a career-high three tackles for loss. His two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss both lead the team . . . Junior Neely Sullivent set new career highs for punting yards (258) and average yards per punt (43.0) against Troy, while also recording three punts inside the opponent's 20 to tie the most of his career . . . Arkansas State will host Louisville Saturday in its 2010 Homecoming game . . . Louisiville will be 54th A-State opponent to ever play a game at ASU Stadium in its 37-year history.

 

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic University fell to the University of North Texas, the first time in program history, Saturday night, 21-17. While the Owls' defense held Lance Dunbar to 72 yards, just the second time in his career to have a game with less than 100 yards, it was James Hamilton who hurt FAU with 122 yards and a score. FAU senior Malik Eugene led FAU with eight tackles and a forced fumble while fellow senior Tarvoris Hill added seven tackles and his second interception in as many games, both in the end zone preventing a would be score. As a team, FAU recorded nine tackles for a loss of 19 yards. It was the program's most total tackles for a loss in a game since the inception. Junior defensive end Kevin Cyrille had two while Yourhighness Morgan and Randell Johnson added 1.5 each.

 

Offensively, senior quarterback Jeff Van Camp was 20-31 with one interception, a score and 273 yards. His touchdown pass was to tight end Rob Housler who had 94 yards in the game, on four passes. Alfred Morris, who had the first score of the game with a one-yard carry, was held to 54 yards. Seniors Jeff Blanchard and Willie Floyd added 14 each.

 

FAU will next travel to face in-state foe USF, 7 p.m. October 2. The two teams have met twice, the Bulls victors in both. The game will be carried on Brighthouse and ESPN360. Audio will be available at www.fausports.com

 

FIU Panthers

The Panthers went up to Maryland in what many expected to be a defensive struggle, but in turn found themselves in a shootout against the Terrapins. FIU ended up on the wrong end of a 42-28 score to drop to 0-3 on the year.

 

The FIU offense had its most productive game to-date, racking up 472 yards of total offense, including 355 through the air. The Panthers ran an FIU-record 98 plays, while holding Maryland to just 55 offensive plays. However, the Panthers were done in by the big play as Maryland had plays of 85, 76, 68 & 56 yards.

 

Offensively the Panthers were led by Wesley Carroll, who had a record-setting day for FIU. Carroll completed 35 of 58 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns, setting a record for most attempts and completions by an FIU quarterback. The 355 passing yards are the third-highest total for a Panthers' signal-caller. At one point in the game, Carroll completed 12-consecutive passes; he also completed a pass to 12 different receivers, both of which are FIU records. Although Carroll did throw two interceptions in the ballgame, only one of them can be attributed to him as on his first pick the ball bounced off a receiver's hands and into the arms of the Maryland defender.

 

Defensively the Panthers were once again led by all-conference cornerback Anthony Gaitor. The senior defender led the team with 10 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He also broke up a pass.

 

Up next for FIU is a trip to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face the Pitt Panthers. The game is set for a 3:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff and can be seen on ESPN3.com

 

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The Cajuns travel to North Texas for a 6:30 p.m. contest on the Sun Belt Network. The Cajuns have won the last three meetings vs. the Mean Green, including a 59-30 win in Denton in 2008. The Cajuns have scored at least 38 points in each of the last three meetings.

 

The Cajuns were downed by Middle Tennessee by a final score of 34-14. The Blue Raiders shutout the Cajuns in the second half for the second straight season. The Cajuns have been outscored 55-7 in the second half this season. Quarterback Blaine Gautier capped a scoring drive with a two-yard touchdown run, his second career rushing score.

 

Chris Masson has tossed a TD pass to Ladarius Green (Mackey Watch List) in each game this season. Green leads the Cajuns in receptions (14), receiving yards (222) and touchdowns (3).

 

The Cajuns have not thrown an interception in their last 62 passing attempts and Chris Masson has been INT-Free over his last 64 passes.

 

The Cajuns are 7-1 in games in which quarterback Chris Masson appeared under center and did NOT throw an interception. Conversely, the Cajuns are 1-9 in games where Masson throws a pick (Beat K-State despite one INT).

 

Dwight "Bill" Bentley collected his first interception of the season, fourth career, in Saturday's game vs. MT.

 

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

ULM defeated Southeastern Louisiana 21-20 last week to win its home opener for the third straight season. The Warhawks improved to 26-7 all-time in their Malone Stadium opener.

 

Kolton Browning led the Warhawks with 75 yards rushing -- he rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries at Arkansas State last week. It marked the first time since 2004 that a ULM quarterback led the team in rushing in back-to-back games. Steve Jyles rushed 60 yards against Wyoming (Oct. 2) and 66 yards against Idaho (Oct. 9)

 

Tavarese Maye's 47-yard touchdown reception was the first of his career and the longest play from scrimmage for the Warhawks this season. His three receptions were a career-high

 

ULM held Southeastern Louisiana to 54 rushing yards. The Warhawks have now held eight of their last 14 opponents under 100 yards rushing and 11 of their last 14 opponents under their season average

 

The Warhawks put together a remarkable 19-play, 89-yard drive against SLU...it helped the Warhawks finish with 38:11 possession time in the game

 

ULM will be looking to continue an impressive streak against schools from automatic qualifying conferences when they take on Auburn this weekend. The Warhawks have forced three turnovers in three of their last four games against such teams (Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas)

 

The Warhawks will looking for their first points in the first quarter when they travel to Auburn.

 

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Middle Tennessee's win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday night was its 39th Sun Belt Conference victory which leads the league in its 10th year. The Blue Raiders are now 39-25 all-time in league play.

 

Quarterback Logan Kilgore rebounded from a three interception game against Memphis to set personal highs in passing yards, completions, and attempts against ULL. Kilgore completed 21 of 36 passes for 207 yards to go with a career long 62-yard TD strike to Malcolm Beyah. Kilgore is the fifth different signal-caller under Rick Stockstill to throw for more than 200 yards in a game.

 

Middle Tennessee put together six scoring drives against ULL and five of them were less than two minutes in possession time. In fact, three of the six scores actually occurred in less than one minute against the Ragin' Cajuns. For the year, the Blue Raiders have scored 20 times and 10 of those have been less than two minutes in possession time.

 

Junior Alan Gendreau nailed a career long 55-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half to give MT a 20-14 halftime advantage over ULL. The 55-yard kick was the second longest in school history and the second longest in 10 years of the Sun Belt Conference. The Middle Tennessee record is held by Kelly Potter who hit a 57-yarder against Tennessee Tech in 1982 and the conference record is owned by North Texas' Jason Ball who hit a 57-yarder in 2001 against Arkansas State.

 

Senior Phillip Tanner recorded his 25th career rushing touchdown when he went 26 yards for a score in the second quarter against Louisiana. Tanner ranks ninth all-time in rushing scores at MT and needs one more to move into a tie for seventh. Tanner has a team-leading five rushing TDs this season.

 

North Texas Mean Green

North Texas defeated Florida Atlantic for the first time in school history. The Mean Green was 0-6 all-time versus the Owls coming into this game. This was also the first victory in the state of Florida since 2005 and the first in Florida for head coach Todd Dodge.

 

North Texas starts the Sun Belt season 1-0 for the first time since 2005 when it won a road game at Middle Tennessee 14-7 to begin the conference season.

 

North Texas' 54 rushing attempts against FAU was the most in a game since it rushed 55 times against Florida International in 2006.

 

Backup running back James Hamilton had a career night against Florida Atlantic, rushing for a career-high 122 yards. He also had his career-long rush when he went for a 32-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to help seal the victory.

 

North Texas kicker Trent Deans missed his first field goal attempt of the season when he was short on a 42-yard try in the third quarter. Deans was 2-for-2 coming into the game.

 

FAU scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game, making it the fourth North Texas opponent in as many games this season that has scored a touchdown on its opening possession.

 

Darius Carey caught his second touchdown of the season when he was on the receiving end of a 23-yard Riley Dodge pass. It was Dodge's first touchdown pass since the Army game last season.

 

Troy Trojans

The Trojans had played four consecutive games, going back to the 2010 GMAC Bowl, that were decided by three points or less prior to Saturday's game against Arkansas State. The game with the Red Wolves, however, ran the streak to five straight games decided in the final minute of playing time.

 

The Trojans and Red Wolves sat through a weather delay late in the second quarter that lasted 105 minutes. After the delay, the teams played the final three minutes of the second quarter, took a two-minute television timeout, and then teed it up again for the third quarter, in what was likely the shortest halftime in the history of college football.

 

A total of five players made their first career starts for Troy in the game against Arkansas State. Offensive lineman Nate Newland stepped in for Jacob Creech and started at right tackle. On defense, the Trojans had three first-time starters on the line and one in the secondary. Tackles Sidell Corley and Tony Davis both made their first starts, as did linebacker Jacoby Thomas, who started at defensive end.

 

Sophomore Chris Anderson scored his first collegiate touchdown for the Trojans in the second quarter on a four-yard run. Junior D.J. Taylor came close to getting his first score as well, making his first career reception but being downed at the ASU one. The Trojans were stopped on third and fourth down after the Taylor catch and turned the ball over on downs at the 1.

 

In addition to his move up the Sun Belt career lists for receiving and all-purpose yards, senior Jerrel Jernigan moved to within six receptions of the school record for career receptions, which was set in 1969 by Danny Grant. Jernigan has 209 career receptions, which leaves him 20 shy of the Sun Belt mark of 229 held by Casey Fitzgerald of North Texas.

 

WKU Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers starting defensive secondary consisted of two true freshmen at cornerback (Tyree Robinson and Arius Wright), a redshirt freshman at strong safety (Kareem Peterson) and a sophomore at free safety (Kiante Young).

 

Kiante Young's second-quarter interception was the first of his career, and the first for the Hilltopper defense in 2010. In fact, it was the first pick for WKU in seven games – the last time coming when the defense intercepted two passes at Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 14, 2009.

 

Bobby Rainey threw his first career touchdown, hooking up with Quinterrance Cooper on a five-yard pass. That extended WKU's streak of games without being shut out to 99.

 

It was Cooper's first touchdown catch since Nov. 1, 2008 against North Texas.

 

Rainey was held below 100 rushing yards for the first time in 2010, finishing with 64 yards on 21 carries.

 

Jack Doyle hauled in a career-high seven catches for a career-best 94 yards, and also caught his first touchdown of the year.

 

Kawaun Jakes completed 19 of a career-high 37 passes for a season-high 221 yards. It was the most passing yards for Jakes since throwing for 276 at Navy on Sept. 26, 2008.

 

WKU gave up a season-low 283 yards of offense, while posting a season-high 314 yards on offense.

Sun Belt Conference

www.sunbeltsports.org

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