Sun Belt Conference Football Week 12 news & notes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sun Belt Conference Football Week 12 news & notes

From the Sun Belt Conference

Upcoming Games

November 20 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week

Troy at South Carolina (SEC Network) - 11:21 a.m.

Arkansas State at Navy (CBS College Sports) - 2:30 p.m.

Florida Atlantic at Texas - 2:30 p.m.

* North Texas at Louisiana-Monroe - 2:30

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

* FIU at Louisiana-Lafayette - 6 p.m.

 

November 27 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week (2:30 p.m.)

* Arkansas State at FIU (Sun Belt Network) – 2:30 p.m.

* Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee - 2:30 p.m.

* Louisiana-Lafayette at Louisiana-Monroe - 2:30 p.m.

* WKU at Troy - 2:30 p.m.

Kansas State at North Texas (ESPN3.com) - 3 p.m.

 

December 4

* Troy at Florida Atlantic (ESPNU) - 1 p.m.

* Middle Tennessee at FIU - 1 p.m.

 

Recent Results

November 2

* Arkansas State 51, Middle Tennessee 24 (ESPN2) - 6 p.m.

 

November 6 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week

* Florida Atlantic 17, Western Kentucky 16 - 3:30 p.m.

* Troy 41, North Texas 35 - 6 p.m.

* FIU 42, Louisiana-Monroe 35 (2OT) - (Sun Belt Network) 6:30 p.m.

Ole Miss 43, Louisiana-Lafayette 21(ESPNU) -6 p.m.

 

November 13 - Sun Belt Network Wildcard Week

* WKU 36, Arkansas State 35 (OT) - 2 p.m.

* FIU 52, Troy 35 (Sun Belt Network) - 2:30 p.m.

* North Texas 23, Middle Tennessee 17 (ESPN3.com) - 2:30 p.m.

* Florida Atlantic 24, Louisiana-Lafayette 23 - 6 p.m.

#5 LSU 51, Louisiana-Monroe 0 (PPV) - 6 p.m.

 

FIU Rolls into First Place

Led by a punishing and relentless ground game, FIU had its most prolific offensive game ever on its way to a 52-35 victory over four-time defending Sun Belt champion Troy.

 

T.Y. Hilton, Darriet Perry and Darian Mallary all rushed for over 100 yards in the contest, while Wesley Carroll threw for 220 yards and three scores as the Panthers took over first place in the conference standings. The Panthers finished the game with a school-record 668 total yards of offense, including a program-best 448 yards on the ground.

 

On defense, Anthony Gaitor led FIU with eight tackles, and he also shut down Troy's Jerrel Jerrnigan, holding him to 32 receiving yards.

 

The win moved FIU's record to 4-5, but most importantly 4-1 in the Sun Belt. The Panthers find themselves alone in first place with only one loss in the league. In nine previous seasons only once has the Sun Belt Champion finished with more than one loss in conference play (2005).

 

Troy sits in second place by themseleves, but the loss to FIU was full of firsts for the Trojans. It was the first loss in seven meetings with FIU, it was the first loss in 13 Homecoming games, and it was the first home loss for the Trojans since the end of the 2007 season, a stretch of 13 games.

 

Offensive Player of the Week

 

Lance Dunbar (North Texas, Jr., RB)

Dunbar had the best rushing performance in the nation this week, going for 226 yards on 36 carries (6.3 yards per carry) with one touchdown in the 23-17 win at Middle Tennessee. Dunbar had a total of 272 all-purpose yards, adding two catches for 46 yards to his rushing total. Dunbar's total was the best performance in the Sun Belt Conference this season and the 15th-best in the nation this season. With his performance Saturday, Dunbar went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark, making him just the second back in North Texas history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. His average of 126.4 yards in conference games leads the Sun Belt. It was the fourth time in his career and the second time this season he has eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark in a game.

 

Defensive Player of the Week

 

Anthony Gaitor (FIU, Sr., DB)

Against Troy, Anthony Gaitor was matched up man-to-man with the Sun Belt Conference's most prolific all-purpose player, Jerrel Jernigan, and Gaitor all but shut him down. Gaitor limited Jernigan to just 32 receiving yards in helping contain the Troy offense en route to an FIU victory. The senior conrnerback finished the game with eight unassisted tackles, including one for a loss.

 

Special Teams Player of the Week

 

Zach Olen (North Texas, Fr., PK)

Olen was the difference maker in the 23-17 win at Middle Tennessee. His perfect night included 3-for-3 on field goal attempts and 2-for-2 on PAT attempts for a total of 11 points in the victory. He also booted a 53-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, which tied for the seventh-longest field goal in North Texas history and the ninth-longest in the nation this season. Olen was responsible for North Texas' last 10 points of the game, which included field goals from 53, 24 and 38 yards. Since taking over the starting kicking job six games into the season he has made 10 of his 12 field goal attempts.

 

Sun Belt Conference News & Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State had a two-game overall and three-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak snapped with its setback against Western Kentucky in its 2010 home finale . . . The Red Wolves played their first overtime game since the 2006 season and now stands 1-1 in overtime games under head coach Steve Roberts . . . The ASU offense recorded over 400 yards of total offense for the seventh time this season, including the last three games in a row . . . The ASU defense recorded 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks, both season highs, against WKU . . . A-State has now recorded 15 sacks over the last three games . . . Ryan Aplin was responsible for a career-high five touchdowns against WKU, which also ties the sixth most in Sun Belt Conference history for a single game . . . Aplin broke the school records for passing touchdowns (18) and total offense (3,036) during the game against WKU . . . He became just the fifth player in Sun Belt history to record over 3,000 yards of total offense in a single season . . . Dwayne Frampton finished the WKU game with 10 receptions, giving him 62 for the season that ranks as the second most in school history . . . Frampton also recorded his sixth receiving touchdown this year, which ties the third most in ASU history . . . Junior linebacker Elroy Brown recorded eight tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, which were all career highs . . . Sophomore linebacker Nathan Herrold recorded a career-high 14 tackles against WKU, while senior safety M.D. Jennings posted 13 tackles that ties his career high . . . Sophomore punter Dean Gericke averaged a career-high 50.7 yards per punt against WKU . . . The Red Wolves will play their final non-conference game of the regular season Saturday at Navy in the first ever meeting between the two teams . . . ASU can become bowl eligible for the fourth time over the last six seasons with wins in their final two regular-season games at Navy and Florida International.

 

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic University extended its win-streak to three games following a 24-23 victory over the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Saturday night at FAU. The win moved the Owls to 27-15 all-time in games decided by seven points or less which is best in the FBS. The one-point win also marked the third time this season the Owls have won by a margin of one in just four wins. The win also moved FAU to 5-1 all-time versus Louisiana.

 

FAU set the game's tone early by forcing the RaginCajuns to three and out in their first possession. FAU used six plays and drove 57 yards for the first score of the game. UL connected on a 63-yard pass and was knocking on the door at first and goal on the FAU six. A fumble ended the drive and gave FAU the momentum. FAU would end the first quarter up 14-0 and appeared to be in control of the game. UL scored the only points of the second quarter. The two teams traded touchdowns in the third and UL outscored the Owls 9-3 in the fourth but the RajinCajuns were denied victory when the they elected to go for two with less than two minutes remaining. Holding the one-point advantage the Owls recovered the on-side kick and ran the clock out.

 

FAU moved to 7-3 when Alfred Morris runs for 100+ yards. He had 143. Lester Jean moved up to third all-time in career receiving yards. Rob Housler surpassed the 1,000 yard receiving plateau. Yourhighness Morgan recorded a career high 12 tackles. Keith Reaser recorded his first career interception.

 

FIU Panthers

Led by a punishing and relentless ground game, FIU had its most prolific offensive game ever on its way to a 52-35 victory over four-time defending Sun Belt champion Troy, Saturday afternoon in Alabama.

 

T.Y. Hilton, Darriet Perry and Darian Mallary all rushed for over 100 yards in the contest, while Wesley Carroll threw for 220 yards and three scores as the Panthers took over first place in the conference standings. The Panthers finished the game with a school-record 668 total yards of offense, including a program-best 448 yards on the ground. On defense, Anthony Gaitor led FIU with eight tackles, and he also shut down Troy's Jerrel Jerrnigan, holding him to 32 receiving yards. The win moved FIU's record to 4-5, but most importantly 4-1 in the Sun Belt.

 

Darian Mallary's nine-yard run with 11:14 to go in the first half broke FIU's single-season team rushing record. The previous record was 1,429 set in 2007. FIU ended the game with 448 rushing yards, giving the team 1,758 for the season.

 

Hilton's second-quarter touchdown was the 24th of his career, tying him with Rashod Smith for the most ever at FIU. Hilton then broke the record with his 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

 

Darriet Perry's second-quarter touchdown was the 12th of his FIU career, good for second all-time. Perry's 182 rushing yards are a career-high. The 182 yards are the sixth-best single-game total in FIU history. The rushing totals for Hilton (158) and Mallary (118) were also career-highs.

 

FIU's quick-strike offense was in full effect against the Trojans as the Panthers' seven possessions that resulted in touchdowns took a total of 24 plays and 9 minutes 49 seconds of game time.

 

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The Cajuns return home for the first time in a month with Senior Day against Sun Belt-leader FIU (4-5, 4-1). The Cajuns say goodbye to 20 seniors (Tyler Albrecht, Orkeys Auriene, Ian Burks, Jonathan Decoster, Matt Desormeaux, Richie Falgout, Grant Fleming, Seth Guilbeaux, Nasser Jamal, Julian Jones, Daylon McCoy, Marlin Miller, Sharrick Moore, Spencer Ortego, Terrell Richardson, Jermaine Rogers, Jordan Topp, Colin Windsor and Vernon Wolfe).

 

Last week the team dropped a tough 24-23 decision at FAU. The Cajuns missed a two-point conversion with 1:45 remaining in the game instead of kicking a potential game-tying extra point.

 

Sophomore quarterback Blaine Gautier made his first career start under center thanks to injuries to both Chris Masson and Brad McGuire. Gautier is the first Cajuns quarterback to make his debut on the road since Jerry Babb started at South Carolina in 2003. Four other quarterbacks (Michael Desormeaux, Connor Morel, Brad McGuire and Chris Masson) have debuted between Babb and Gautier, all at home.

 

Gautier finished the night 21-of-36 passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 15 rushing attempts for 86 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback rating of 130.38 is the third best for a Cajuns QB making his first career start under Coach Bustle.

 

Ladarius Green led all players with six receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown. Green (1,372) is just two yards shy of the Cajuns career receiving top 10 and can vault up to seventh with 106 yards. He is tied for fifth all-time in school history in TD receptions with 12.

 

The Gautier-led offense outgained the Owls 427-323 and dominated in time of possession 36:19-23:41.

 

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

ULM returns home for the final two games of the regular season with a chance to become bowl eligible for the third time in four years. The Warhawks have won eight of their last nine games at Malone Stadium and are a perfect 3-0 at home this season.

 

LSU's number five ranking in the BCS made the Tigers the fourth-highest ranked opponent for the Warhawks in FBS. ULM played No. 3 Florida in 1998, No. 2 Florida in 2001 and No. 2 Texas last season.

 

Kolton Browning moved into sixth place on the ULM single-season completions list with 199 and he is now just 44 shy of the school record. His consecutive game streak with at least 200 yards passing came to an end at eight games, which ties him with Stan Humphries for the school record.

 

Luther Ambrose moved into 10th place on the ULM single-season receptions list with 54; tied with Darrell McNeal and Jackie Harris. Ambrose's second catch against LSU gave him 100 receptions for his career

 

Brent Leonard, who entered the game second in the NCAA with three catches for a first down on fourth down, picked up his fourth of the season in the fourth quarter

 

The Warhawks find themselves a half game out of third place in the Sun Belt and one game out of second place; ULM has averaged a third place finish in the league over the past six seasons.

 

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Blue Raider quarterback Dwight Dasher became just the 15th player in FBS history to rush for at least 2,000 yards and pass for at least 5,000 yards in a career. He needed 197 passing yards to put his name on the list and had exactly that against North Texas.

 

PK Alan Gendreau hit his 35th career field goal in the second quarter to tie him with Joe Lisle and Keegan Ray for fourth place on the all-time field goals made list. With five points today, Gendreau moved past Ray for eighth place on the all-time MT scoring list. Gendreau now has 216 career points.

 

Middle Tennessee signal-caller Dwight Dasher moved into 10th place on the Blue Raiders' all-time list with 2,182 rushing yards, surpassing Kelverrick Green (1996-99). Next on the list in ninth place is Brigham Lyons (1992-95), who accumulated 2,250 yards at MT.

 

Phillip Tanner scored his eighth and ninth career touchdowns against North Texas when he ran one in from 51 yards out in the second quarter and 21 yards away in the third. Tanner now has 30 career touchdowns to tie Gerald Anderson for fifth on the all-time TDs list. Tanner now has 28 rushing touchdowns, a receiving score and a touchdown on a kickoff return. His 28 rushing scores move him past Walter Dunson and Gerald Anderson for fifth place all-time.

 

With 279 yards of total offense today against UNT, Dwight Dasher moved past Kelly Holcomb and Clint Marks for second place on the all-time list. Dasher now has 7,182 career yards of total offense but is well behind all-time leader Wes Counts who had 8,181 yards from 1998 to 2001.

 

North Texas Mean Green

Junior running back Lance Dunbar became just the second player in North Texas history to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. Dunbar went over the 1,000-yard mark in the win at Middle Tennessee and now 1,149 yards for the season which is the seventh-best single-season performance with two games yet to play. His 2,705 career rushing yards ranks him fourth in Mean Green history.

 

North Texas has gone over 400 yards of total offense in all three games under interim head coach Mike Canales after only eclipsing that mark three times in the first seven games this season before he took over.

 

North Texas is +5 in turnover margin in the three games since Mike Canales took over as interim head coach. In the seven games prior to Canales taking over, the Mean Green was -6 in the turnover margin.

 

The Mean Green has increased its scoring average from 16.9 points per game to 30.3 points per game and has increased its total offense from 348 yards per game to 426 yards per game since Mike Canales took over as interim head coach three weeks ago.

 

North Texas quarterback Riley Dodge threw the team's first interception in the last five games. The Mean Green had not thrown a pick since Dodge was intercepted by Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 2.

 

Troy Trojans

While this is the third meeting between the Trojans and Gamecocks, Troy will be making another trip to the Palmetto State top open the 2011 season. The Trojans will travel to play Clemson for the first time in the season-opener next Sept. 3.

 

The loss last week to FIU was full of firsts for Troy. It was the first loss in seven meetings with FIU, it was the first loss in 13 Homecoming games, and it was the first home loss for the Trojans since the end of the 2007 season, a stretch of 13 games.

 

Troy is 7-0 all-time in games played on Nov. 20. The Trojans last played on this date in 2007, dropping Middle Tennessee 45-7. Head coach Larry Blakeney is 5-0 on this date.

 

The game against South Carolina will mark the 101st anniversary of the first football win in Troy history. Troy downed the Edgar School 6-0 on this date in 1909. Troy has an all-time football record of 506-351-27.

 

Coach Larry Blakeney has posted a 43-25 record during his career in games played in November and he is 67-66 overall in his career in road games.

 

The Trojans will face a nationally-ranked opponent for the first time since playing at then No. 1 Florida early in the 2009 season.

 

Troy QBs have completed passes to 16 different receivers through the first nine games of 2010. The Trojans completed passes to 15 players during the 2009 season.

 

WKU Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers needed a last-second score, and a two-point conversion in overtime, but were able to escape Jonesboro with a 36-35 win over Arkansas State on Saturday. Kawaun Jakes hit Willie McNeal with a seven-yard scoring pass as time expired to force the extra session, and after a Bobby Rainey touchdown in overtime, Derrius Brooks scored on a reverse for the game-winning conversion.

 

Bobby Rainey rushed for 154 yards on a career-high 37 carries, and also scored two touchdowns for the sixth time in a game this season. It was the seventh time in 10 games that Rainey has hit the 100-yard mark, and the fifth time he has gone over 150.

 

The Hilltopper defense forced five Arkansas State turnovers – three fumbles and two interceptions. That was the most takeaways by WKU since forcing seven turnovers in an 87-0 win over West Virginia Tech on Sept. 8, 2006. Jared Clendenin was part of all three fumbles – forcing one and recovering two.

 

Derrius Brooks picked off both passes for WKU, making him the first Hilltopper to intercept two passes in a game since both Antonio Thomas and Marion Rumph had a pair of INTs at Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 18, 2004.

 

WKU played its first overtime game since a 23-20 loss to Northern Iowa on Nov. 5, 2005. The Hilltoppers' last overtime victory came earlier in the ‘05 season with a 37-34 win at Illinois State on Oct. 8.

 

The Hilltoppers had the ball for 40:47 in the contest, including 23 minutes of possession in the first half.

 

WKU ran for a season-high 237 yards in the game, led by Rainey's 154. Antonio Andrews rushed for 43 yards on seven carries, while Kawaun Jakes picked up 39 rushing yards and a running score.

 

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