Sun Belt Conference Football week 10 news & notes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sun Belt Conference Football week 10 news & notes

Upcoming Games

November 2

* Middle Tennessee at Arkansas State (ESPN2) - 6 p.m.

 

November 6 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week

* Florida Atlantic at WKU - 3:30 p.m.

* Troy at North Texas -6 p.m.

* Louisiana-Monroe at FIU - (Sun Belt Network) 6:30 p.m.

Louisiana-Lafayette at Ole Miss (ESPNU) -6 p.m.

 

November 13 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week

* WKU at Arkansas State - 2 p.m.

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

* North Texas at Middle Tennessee (ESPN3.com) - 2:30 p.m.

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

Louisiana-Monroe at LSU (PPV) - 6 p.m.

 

Recent Results

October 23

* Arkansas State 37, Florida Atlantic 16 (Sun Belt Network) - 12 p.m.

* Middle Tennessee 38, Louisiana-Monroe 10 (ESPN3.com) - 3:30 p.m.

* WKU 54, Louisiana-Lafayette 21 - 4 p.m.

 

October 30

Ohio 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 31 - 1 p.m.

* North Texas 33, WKU 6 - 2 p.m.

* Louisiana-Monroe 28, Troy 14 (Sun Belt Network) - 2:30 p.m.

* Florida Atlantic 21, FIU 9 - 3 p.m.

 

ASU, MT set for ESPN2 Showdown

Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State will meet in Jonesboro Tuesday night for an ESPN2 affair. The game is a pivotal match for both teams as they can set their path for the rest of the season.

 

For Middle Tennessee a win would put the Blue Raiders back to .500 – a place this haven't been since starting the season 1-1. For ASU, they could become the first team in the league to hit the four win mark in conference play.

 

This past Saturday was a one of surprises for most prognosticators in the Sun Belt. Troy fell to Louisiana-Monroe for the Trojans first Sun Belt loss since November 1, 2008 – a game that was also played at ULM's Malone Stadium. Since the start of the 2005 season, the Trojans have lost a total of eight games in Sun Belt play, three of those losses have come at Malone Stadium in Monroe.

 

Elsewhere, WKU looked to add to its first league win this past weekend, but North Texas spoiled the Hilltopper homecoming festivities as Lance Dunbar rushed for 215 yards and three touchdowns as NT won 33-6.

 

Coming off a pair of victories to start the conference season, FIU went into Shula Bowl IX looking to keep the winning going and snap a losing streak against the Owls. However, it was not to be as the FIU offense wasn't able to find the endzone and FIU fell 21-9. It was the first time in eight games that FIU did not score a touchdown.

 

Players of the Week

 

Offensive Player of the Week

 

Lance Dunbar (North Texas, Jr., RB)

Dunbar rushed for a season-high 215 yards and three touchdowns to lead North Texas to a 33-6 win at Western Kentucky. The 215 yards was the most by any player in the Sun Belt this season and the third-highest rushing total in the nation this week. It was also the 20th best rushing performance in the nation this year. It was also just the second time this season a Sun Belt player rushed for three touchdowns. Dunbar carried the ball 30 times and averaged 7.2 yards per carry with a long of 40. In a matchup of the league's top two running backs, Dunbar more than doubled the performance of Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey, who was held to 100 yards by the Mean Green.

 

Defensive Player of the Week

 

Darius Prelow (Louisiana-Monroe, DB)

Led by Darius Prelow the ULM defense held Troy to its lowest point total in a Sun Belt Conference game since 2006 and helped the Warhawks snap the Trojans 13-game SBC win streak. Prelow finished the game with six tackles (second most on team as Troy only ran 69 plays and a interception for the Warhawks. ULM held Troy to just 285 yards of total offense and 167 passing yards which is 184.3 yards and 137.2 yards lower than its season average, respectively. The Warhawk defense held Jerrel Jernigan to just 92 all-purpose yards after he entered the game averaging 178.3 yards -- Jernigan was also held to just three catches for 27 yards after entering the game 15th in the NCAA in receptions and 26th in receiving yards.

 

Co-Special Teams Players of the Week

 

Brett Baer (Louisiana-Lafayette, So., K)

Cajuns kicker Brett Baer turned in a special performance on Saturday at Ohio…In addition to his field goal and four extra points, Baer executed two perfectly placed onsides kicks…ULL recovered both onside kicks in the game, one on the opening kickoff of the season half (recovered by Baer himself) and the other with 1:36 remaining in the game.

 

Zach Olen (North Texas, Fr., K)

Olen connected on both of his field goal attempts, making from 48 and 24 yards to help North Texas in a 33-6 win at Western Kentucky. Olen's 48-yard field goal was the second-longest in the Sun Belt this season and the longest by a North Texas kicker since 2005.

 

Sun Belt Conference News & Notes

Sun Belt Conference Team News & Notes

 

Arkansas State Red Wolves

ASU has won back-to-back Sun Belt Conference games for the first time since the last two games of the 2009 season . . . A-State improved to 3-1 this year at home this year and to 31-11 all-time at ASU Stadium under head coach Steve Roberts with its victory over Florida Atlantic . . . ASU's 21-point margin of victory against FAU is its largest against an FBS opponent since defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 52-21 in its sixth game of the 2007 campaign . . . Sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin took over 4th place for completions (178), 5th place for total offense yards (2,373) and 6th place for passing yards (2,084) during the Red Wolves' game against FAU. He threw one touchdown passing, giving him 13 for the season that ties the seventh most in school history . . . Senior wide receiver Anthony Robinson recorded his first career rushing touchdown and second career receiving touchdown, while posting eight receptions for 88 yards, both career highs, against FAU . . . ASU completed at least one pass to a season-high 12 different receivers and had a season-high 10 players record a rush . . . ASU recorded 408 yards of total offense against FAU, marking the fifth time this season it has posted at 400-plus yards. The Red Wolves have now recorded at least 300 yards of total offense in every game this season, marking the first time since 1996 that A-State has posted 300-plus yards in eight straight games . . . ASU limited Florida Atlantic to 319 yards of total offense, its second fewest allowed this season . . . ASU held an opponent to under 100 rushing yards for the first time since its 2009 season opener, limiting FAU to 92 total yards on the ground . . . ASU forced a season-high three turnovers (2 interceptions, one fumble recovery) and recorded a season-best four sacks . . . Bryan Hall recorded a career-high two sacks, giving him a team-best 5.5 for the season . . . Adrian Hills joined teammate M.D. Jennings as the only two players in the Sun Belt Conference to record multiple interceptions in a game this season. Hills finished with a career-best two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, against FAU . . . Neely Sullivent averaged 45.5 yards per punt, his second highest this season, against Florida Atlantic. Over the last two games, he is averaging 46.2 yards on 10 punts.

 

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic will travel to Western Kentucky University for this Saturday's match-up with the spirits buoyed by the 21-9 victory over in-state and Sun Belt Conference rival FIU. The win improved the Owls to 2-5 on the season and it gave FAU its first SBC victory of 2010. FAU is 2-0 versus the Hilltopers and will use the confidence of a well played game by the offense, defense and special teams. Senior receiver Lester Jean was named FAU's Shula Bowl IX's MVP. While Jean made acrobatic catches and was double-teamed much of the game, he credited the offensive line for his success. Fittingly, offensive lineman Sam McRoy earned the team's offensive game ball. Defensively, the Owls tallied three interceptions with Marcus Bartels grabbing two, his first of the season. The Owls held FIU to just three field goals and continued to be stingy in the red zone as the league leader by denying FIU on 1st and goal. Freshman Randell Johnson led the Owls versus FIU with 13 tackles, his first double digit game. Junior Punter Mickey Groody played a big part in the Owls special teams effort with a career long 73-yard boot. In six punts, just two were returned. The Owls improve to 8-1 versus FIU all-time.

 

Saturday's WKU game will also mark the return of Howard Schnellenberger to his home state of Kentucky where he was an All-American at Kentucky and has been inducted into its Hall of Fame. Schnellenberger was also the head coach at the University of Louisville where he took the team from obscurity to a top-10 national rank. He was also inducted into Louisville's Hall of Fame and the football facility named in his honor.

 

FIU Panthers

Coming off a pair of victories to start the conference season, FIU went into Shula Bowl IX looking to keep the winning going and snap a losing streak against the Owls. However, it was not to be as the FIU offense wasn't able to find the endzone and FIU fell 21-9. It was the first time in eight games (11/21/09 vs. Florida) that FIU did not score a touchdown. All of FIU's points came from the leg of Jack Griffin, who kicked a career-high three field goals against the Owls.

 

The Panthers' D was at it again early on as FIU did not allow any points in the first quarter for the fifth time this year. The Panthers are yet to allow a first-quarter touchdown this season. However, four FIU turnovers were the Panthers' undoing as FAU capitalized to find the endzone three times.

 

The Panthers running game had another strong game, gaining 150 yards on the ground, led by freshman Kedrick Rhodes' 100 yards. Rhodes is the first Panther to rush for over 100 yards since the late Kendall Berry ran for 103 against Middle Tennessee on November 7, 2009.

 

With 124 receiving yards in the game, junior wide receiver T.Y. Hilton became the third Panther ever to go over 2,000 receiving yards for his career. He now has 2,067. This was also Hilton's sixth-career 100-yard receiving game.

 

Next up for FIU is their homecoming game as the Panthers welcome the ULM Warhawks to FIU stadium at 7:30 p.m. The game is the Sun Belt Network Game of the Week and marks the sixth time this season that the Panthers will be on TV.

 

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The Cajuns stay outside SBC play and travel to Mississippi for a SEC tilt with the Rebels. UL is 0-36 all-time against members of the SEC. The game will air on ESPNU.

 

The Cajuns led 14-10 at the half and 17-16 after three quarters, but fell 38-31 at Ohio. ULL is now 0-4 all-time in road games at MAC-member schools.

 

The Cajuns return to SBC play when they travel to Florida Atlantic. FAU (2-5) is 1-1 in Boca Raton this season.

 

The Cajuns streak of getting an INT was snapped vs. WKU at eight consecutive games. ULL rebounded with four picks at Ohio. The Cajuns have 13 interceptions in 2010 by nine different players and boast 29 picks since the start of 2009.

 

Since becoming a starter two games ago, wide receiver Vernon Wolfe has nine receptions for 152 yards. Last season, Wolfe made eight catches for 71 yards.

 

Brad McGuire filled in admirably for injured starter Chris Masson at Ohio. McGuire threw for 384 yards on 25-of-39 passing with two TD's. His passing yardage is the fifth most in a game in school history, overtaking the 371 yards by Jake Delhomme on Nov. 4, 1995 vs. Louisiana Tech.

 

Daryl Surgent led ULL with 110 yards receiving on four catches, while Ladarius Green made six grabs for 107 yards. The duo become the ninth set of Cajuns teammates to each record 100 yards receiving in the same game.

 

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

ULM held Troy to its lowest point total in a Sun Belt Conference game since 2006 as the Warhawks limited the Trojans to just 14 points after they entered the game averaging 34.8 per game. ULM held Troy to just 285 yards of total offense and 167 passing yards which is 184.3 yards and 137.2 yards lower than its season average, respectively. The Warhawk defense held Jerrel Jernigan to just 92 all-purpose yards after he entered the game averaging 178.3 yards -- Jernigan was also held to just three catches for 27 yards after entering the game 15th in the NCAA in receptions and 26th in receiving yards.

 

Kolton Browning threw for 226 yards in the game to extend his consecutive game streak with over 200 yards passing to seven games -- it is the longest streak since Robert Cobb's seven-game streak in 1993. His 1,741 passing yards are the most through eight games since Raymond Philyaw had 1,762 in 1996. Browning has thrown a touchdown pass in seven of ULM's eight games this season; the Warhawks are 4-3 in those games.

 

The Warhawks have won four of their last six games and are just two wins away from becoming bowl eligible for the third time in the last four seasons.

 

ULM scored 21 points combined in the first and third quarters against Troy after having scored just 14 points all season combined in the first and third quarters. The Warhawks two touchdowns in the first quarter against the Trojans were the first touchdowns of the season in the first quarter for ULM.

 

ULM has intercepted a pass in seven of eight games this season and it has forced at least one turnover in 18 of 20 games under defensive coordinator Troy Reffett.

 

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Senior Rod Issac recorded his second career touchdown when he returned an interception in the first quarter 70 yards against ULM. It was Issac's first score since picking up a fumble and going 42 yards against Arkansas State in 2007. The 70-yard return went down as the seventh longest in school history.

 

With 66 rushing yards against ULM, senior Dwight Dasher joined the 4,000-yard passing and 2,000-yard rushing group. Dasher is just the 19th player in FBS history to be in the prestigious club. Dasher entered the game today with 4,438 career passing yards and 1,938 rushing yards. He raised the totals to 4,657 passing and 2,004 rushing after today's outing.

 

With two touchdown passes against ULM, Dwight Dasher ran his career total to 36. Dasher is now tied for fourth on the all-time list with former star Kelly Holcomb.

 

Known for always being around the football, senior Jeremy Kellem had been shutout of creating turnovers until Saturday against ULM. Kellem collected his ninth career interception when he grabbed a ball that bounced off of teammate Arness Ikner in the second quarter. Kellem has now been responsible for 24 turnovers in 43 career games played.

 

For only the second time in school history, the Middle Tennessee defense forced a team into negative yards on the ground, as ULM accumulated -4 yards on 28 carries.

 

Middle Tennessee's win over ULM Saturday marked the 40th Sun Belt Conference win for the Blue Raiders in its 10th year in the league. The Blue Raiders are now 40-26 all-time in SBC games and the 40 wins are more than any team in league history.

 

North Texas Mean Green

North Texas interim head coach Mike Canales became just the seventh coach in North Texas history to win the first game of his career.

 

The North Texas defense stopped Western Kentucky on the Hilltoppers first possession – making it the first time this season that a Mean Green opponent didn't score a touchdown on its first possession of the game.

 

True freshman kicker Zach Olen kicked a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter to give North Texas a 10-3 lead. It was the longsest field goal by a North Texas kicker since Nick Bazaldua kicked a 50-yarder against LSU in 2005.

 

North Texas' 10-3 halftime lead was just the second time this season that the Mean Green held a lead at the break. The three points allowed by North Texas in the first half was the fewest points allowed by a Mean Green defense in a half since it held a 7-3 lead against Army last season.

 

Lance Dunbar eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the 12th time in 16 games as a starter. Dunbar rushed for a season-high 215 yards and three touchdowns, it was the third-most rushing yards of his career.

 

The six points allowed by North Texas was the fewest by a North Texas opponent since it defeated SMU 24-6 in 2006 and the first time since 2003 that it held an opponent without a touchdown.

 

Troy Trojans

The Trojans saw their win streak against Sun Belt Conference foes come to an end at 13 straight. The loss at ULM was the first for Troy in league play since the Trojans' last visit to Monroe, which came on Nov. 1, 2008. Since the start of the 2005 season, the Trojans have lost a total of eight games in Sun Belt play, three of those losses have come at Malone Stadium in Monroe.

 

With a 23-yard kickoff return in the first quarter at ULM, Troy senior Jerrel Jernigan became just the third player in Sun Belt Conference history to surpass 5,000 all-purpose yards in a career, joining Tyrell Fenroy (5,231) of ULL and Patrick Cobbs (5,222) of North Texas. Jernigan finished the day with just 92 all-purpose yards, leaving his 5,054 for his career.

 

Jernigan's second quarter touchdown run improved his career total to 22 touchdowns, tying his for eighth with Demontray Carter and Arrid Gregory on the Troy career list.

 

Troy senior running back DuJuan Harris did not play against ULM because of an ankle sprain suffered Oct. 16 against ULL. It was the first game Harris has missed for the Trojans in his career, snapping a streak of 44 consecutive games played.

 

The Trojans were shut out in the second half on Saturday at ULM, marking the first time since the 2009 season-opener at Bowling Green that Troy has failed to score in a half.

 

Troy freshman quarterback Corey Robinson saw his streak of games passing for at least 200 yards snapped at six. Robinson completed just 16-of-38 pass attempts against ULM for just 167 yards.

 

WKU Hilltoppers

Coming off their first win of the season, the Hilltoppers stumbled in their 2010 homecoming game, dropping a 33-6 decision to North Texas. WKU is still winless in four chances against the Mean Green.

WKU was held out of the end zone for the first time since a 27-3 loss at Florida International in the finale of the 2008 season.

 

WKU place kicker Monte Merrick connected on his first two career field goal attempts against North Texas on Saturday, accounting for the Hilltoppers' only points against the Mean Green. The redshirt freshman was good from 37 yards and 46 yards for WKU's six points in the game. He also averaged 64.7 yards on three kickoffs.

 

Junior Bobby Rainey rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries Saturday, marking his fifth 100-plus yard performance in eight games this season. He also caught five passes for a team-high 57 receiving yards. Rainey enters next week's game with 938 rushing yards on the season, leaving him just 62 shy of his first

1,000-yard season. Rainey has rushed for no less than 64 yards in a game this season.

 

The Hilltoppers host Florida Atlantic on Saturday, marking the only time in the 2010 season that WKU will play back-to-back home games.

 Sun Belt Conference

www.sunbeltsports.org

 

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