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

Sun Belt Conference Football news and notes

From the Sun Belt Conference

ULM Stuns #8 Arkansas in Overtime; ASU, FIU, ULL, MT, NT, USA Win
The eyes of the college football nation were on the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe Saturday night as Todd Berry's squad pulled the come from behind upset over eighth ranked Arkansas.


The win by ULM marks the first time a Sun Belt team has defeated a top-10 ranked opponent.

ULM quarterback Kolton Browning made a name for himself with his impressive all-around performance. The junior was named national player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation in addition to being featured on numerous highlight reels Saturday night.

The win by ULM gives the Sun Belt a marquee victory on the young season and the league now stands at 9-6 overall in non-conference play. Of note, the Sun Belt Conference moved to 2-0 versus Conference USA following Arkansas State's win over Memphis. Additionally, the league has a win versus the Mid-American Conference with FIU's win over Akron. The Sun Belt and the MAC are not scheduled to meet again until the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

In conference play, Louisiana-Lafayette defeated Troy Saturday to notch an early league win and establish themselves as the only team with a 2-0 record in the league. Additionally, Middle Tennessee used a 300-yard rushing performance to defeat Florida Atlantic Saturday night and notch the league win.

Recent Results

 

September 8
#1 Alabama 35, WKU 0 (SEC Network/ESPN3) - 2:30 p.m.
South Alabama 9, Nicholls State 3 (ESPN3) - 4 p.m.
FIU 41, Akron 38 (OT) (ESPN3) - 5 p.m.
* Louisiana-Lafayette 37, Troy 24 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Arkansas State 33, Memphis 28 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Louisiana-Monroe 34, #8 Arkansas 31 (OT) (ESPNU) - 6 p.m.
North Texas 34, Texas Southern 7 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
* Middle Tennessee 31, Florida Atlantic 17 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.

 

Upcoming Games

September 15
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn (SEC Network/ESPN3) - 11 a.m.
Arkansas State at Nebraska (ESPN2) - 11 a.m.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Oklahoma State (Fox Sports Net) - 11 a.m.
FIU at Central Florida (CSS) - 4 p.m.
South Alabama at North Carolina State (ESPN3) - 5 p.m.
Mississippi State at Troy (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Western Kentucky at Kentucky (ESPNU) - 6 p.m.
Middle Tennessee at Memphis - 6 p.m.
North Texas at Kansas State - 6 p.m.
Florida Atlantic at Georgia (CSS/ESPN3) - 6:30 p.m.

 

Friday, September 21
Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe (ESPN) - 7 p.m.

 

September 22
Florida Atlantic at Alabama - 4 p.m. (PPV)
Louisville at FIU (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Southern Mississippi at Western Kentucky (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
* Troy at North Texas (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Alcorn State at Arkansas State (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
South Alabama at Mississippi State - 6 p.m.

 

Week Two Sun Belt Conference Football Players of the Week – As selected by the Sun Belt media panel

 

Offensive Player of the Week

 

Kolton Browning (Louisiana-Monroe, Jr., QB)
Kolton Browning tallied 481 yards of total offense (a new-career high) and his 16 yard run to the endzone in overtime gave the Warhawks their first-ever win over Arkansas and their first-win over a ranked opponent (as a FBS member). Browning set new career-highs in passing yards (412), completions (42) and attempts (67). The junior also registered a total of 83 plays which ranks second in ULM history for a single-game… Browning rushed 16 times for 69 yards in the contest.

 

Defensive Player of the Week

 

Jemarlous Moten (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., DB)
Senior cornerback Jemarlous Moten led the Cajuns with a career-high 12 tackles in the win at Troy, but he turned in the biggest play of the contest in the first quarter when he gathered in a fumble and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to give ULL the lead for good in a 37-24 win. It was the third touchdown of his career (he had two INT returns for TDs in 2011).

 

Special Teams Player of the Week

 

Brett Baer (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., P/PK)
Senior kicker Brett Baer made field goals from 25, 25 and 32 yards to help lead UL to a 37-24 win at Troy, snapping a 21-game losing streak in road openers and ending TU's 25-game win streak in home openers. In the process, Baer broke the Sun Belt Conference record for consecutive field goals made with 17. Baer, who leads the nation with 3.5 field goals per game this year, snapped the old league mark of 17 by ULM's Cole Wilson (2006-07). Baer also had an affect on the game as a punter, averaging 43.3 yards on seven kicks, including a career-long 69-yard effort, with four punts downed inside the 20. His kicks were returned for just 15 yards. In addition, Baer kicked off eight times for a 61.6 average with a pair of touchbacks.

 

ULM's Browning Tabbed Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week
After leading ULM to 34-31 upset of No. 8 Arkansas Saturday in overtime, junior quarterback Kolton Browning has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Offensive Player of the Week. Browning tallied 481 yards of total offense and his 16 yard run to the endzone in overtime gave the Warhawks their first-ever win over Arkansas and their first-win over a ranked opponent (as a FBS member). Browning set new career-highs in passing yards (412), completions (42) and attempts (67). The junior also registered a total of 83 plays which ranks second in ULM history for a single-game.

 Team News and Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves
In recognition of a $5 million contribution by Liberty Bank, the ASU?Board of Trustees announced Saturday that Liberty Bank Stadium is the new name of the football stadium at Arkansas State University. The naming rights to the stadium are for the next 15 years, as announced at the newly-named facility just prior to kickoff of the Red Wolves' home football game against the Memphis Tigers . . . A-State extended its home winning streak to seven games with a 33-28 victory, but returns to the road to face its second Top-25 ranked opponent of the season . . . The Red Wolves posted 619 yards of total offense, the eighth most in school history, against Memphis and have now recorded over 500 yards in each of its first two games to rank seventh in the nation in the stat . . . ASU's defense limited Memphis to 293 yards total offense, which was the fewest by an ASU opponent since FAU recorded 281 last season . . . Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin finished last game with 375 yards total offense, the eighth most in school history, and has now posted over 300 yards in his last five consecutive outings. Aplin is ranked 12th in the nation in total offense . . . Junior running back David Oku led A-State in rushing each of its first two games and recorded his first 100-yard rushing game at ASU against Memphis . . . Junior defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers recorded a career-high 10 tackles last game, becoming the first ASU defensive lineman to post double-figure tackles in a game since Dorvus Woods posted 10 against Middle Tennessee in 2010 . . . Senior linebacker Nathan Herrold narrowly missed his second consecutive game with double-figure tackles, recording nine against Memphis. Herrold now has a team-high 19 tackles to rank tied for 47th in the nation . . . Junior kicker Bryan Davis made two field goals for the second straight game and now has four on the season to rank tied for 10th in the nation in field goals made. He has now made multiple field goals in seven career games.

Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic University's football team opened the Sun Belt Conference season at Middle Tennessee with a 31-17 loss to MTSU. Graham Wilbert started under center for the first time in 2012. The season saw the Owls continue to struggle in the first half, down 7-0. Wilbert led the Owls second half come-back efforts with 17 points. FAU has scored 24 points in 2012, all in the second half. On the night, Wilbert was 25-32-0 for 260 with two scores. He completed his first 11 passes and tied Rusty Smith's passing efforts with a 78 completion percentage. Wilbert found six receivers with William Dukes tallying a career high six catches for a total of 60 yards. Travis Jones also had a career high six catches for a career high 112 all-purpose yards. Damian Fortner led FAU's ground attach with his first start of the 2012 season. Fortner had 43 yards on 13 carries. Defensively, David Hinds turned in his season's second double-digit tackle performance with 11 on the night. Senior Martin Wright had the only tackle for a loss while fellow senior defensive lineman recovered his first career fumble.

The Owls will next travel to the University of Georgia where they will face the first of two SEC opponents this season. FAU will travel to the University of Alabama the following week. The meeting will be the first between both SEC teams but FAU has previously faced Florida (2), Kentucky and Auburn.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. est. The game will air on CSS, ESPN760 AM and www.fausports.com

FIU Panthers
With its 41-38 overtime victory over Akron this past Saturday returned FIU to the win column for the first time since defeating Middle Tennessee in the 2012 regular season finale in Murfreesboro, TN.

FIU officially stands at 4-2 in overtime games all-time and a perfect 3-0 under Head Coach Mario Cristobal.

Senior kicker Jack Griffin, who also handled punting duties on the night, booted the score-tying 30-yard field goal at the end of regulation and a 29-yarder in overtime to win the game. Griffin punted 10 times in the game for 406 yards (40.6 avg.). His longest punt was 58 yards and three were placed inside the 20. For his efforts, Griffin earned Honorable Mention status for Specialists in Week No 2 by College Football Performance Awards.

Sophomore quarterback Jake Medlock helped propel the Panthers to victory by rushing for a game-high 141 yards, while passing for 209. He also scored twice, one rushing and one passing. His 141 yards was the most ever by an FIU quarterback and just the second signal caller to record the 100-yard rushing feat.

Sophomore return man Richard Leonard was named Punt Returner of the Week by College Football Performance Awards, with five total returns vs. Akron for 91 yards, including a 49-yard punt return TD.

FIU, in its 11th season playing football and eighth at the FBS level, are playing a school, UCF, in its 34th year playing football (1979) and 17th FBS season (1996). FIU's first two opponents, Duke and Akron, had 212 collective years playing college football (Duke, 100; Akron 112).

Saturday's game at UCF's Bright House Networks Stadium is the second of a four-game series. The first meeting in Miami last year, on Sept. 17, was a battle from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, and saw the hometown Panthers outlast the Knights, 17-10, to start the series.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Louisiana- Lafayette remains on the road for the second straight week, traveling to Stillwater, Okla. to face Oklahoma State on Saturday, Sept. 15 beginning at 11:00 a.m. CDT in Boone Pickens Stadium. The game will be televised live on the Fox Sports Network.

The Ragin' Cajuns are 2-0 for the first time since 2009 and just the second since 1990 after winning at Troy, 37-24, last week. ULL has won its first three games in a season since winning four straight to open the 1988 campaign. The victory at Troy allowed the Cajuns to snap a 21-game losing streak in road openers that dated back to the 1990 season. The win also ended Troy's 25-game win streak in home openers.

Alonzo Harris rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown to spark the ULL offense against the Trojans. It was his second career 100-yard game. The preseason All-SBC choice and 2011 SBC Freshman of the Year, came off the bench in the season opener against Lamar but regained the starting berth following a season-ending knee injury to Montrel Carter.

Kicker Brett Baer continued his torrid pace, making three field goals at Troy to break the Sun Belt Conference record for consecutive fields goals made. Baer, who has made 18 straight kicks going back to last season, leads the nation with seven field goals in two games this season. He also ranks 10th in scoring with 29 points this season.

The Ragin' Cajuns offensive line is one of 13 teams nationally that has not allowed a sack in the first two games this year.

Sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway came off the bench at Troy to replace an injured Blaine Gautier, completing 10-of-16 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown to lead ULL to the win. He also rushed eight times for 43 yards, including a 32-yard scamper.

Senior cornerback Jemarlous Moten turned in the biggest play of the game at Troy, returning a fumble 56 yards in the first quarter to put the Cajuns ahead for good.

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
When it takes the field at Auburn, ULM will be looking for its first 2-0 start since moving up to the FBS level from the FCS level. The last time ULM was 2-0 to start a season was in 1993, the final year of FCS play. The 1993 squad finished 9-3 overall and made an appearance in the FCS playoffs.

The Warhawks received 23 points in the most recent AP Poll, while the club picked up one point in the USA Today/Coaches' Poll released Sunday, September 9.

Against, Arkansas QB Kolton Browning set career-highs in attempts (67), completions (42), passing yards (412) and total yards (481). With 42 completions, Browning moved into fourth place in ULM history with 520 completions. He passed Kinsmon Lancaster (509; 2005-08) and moved within 37 completions of taking over third place. Doug Pederson (1987-90) currently owns the number three spot with 556 completions.

WR Brent Leonard recorded a game-high 11 receptions and 112 yards in the victory over Arkansas... His touchdown reception with 47 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 28-28.

The ULM defense surrendered just three points after falling behind 28-7 with 9:42 to play in the third quarter. CB Vincent Eddie and LB DaCorris Ford each recorded an interception against the Razorbacks... Redshirt-Freshman Mitch Lane led the club with nine tackles (2 solo, 7 asst) and had two pass breakups in the endzone in overtime.

Against Arkansas, ULM was 6/7 on 4th down in the game. In 2011 the team finished 12/27 (44%).

ULM's 34 points were the most against a team from a BCS conference since tallying 20 in the season-opener at #2 Texas on Sept. 5, 2009. It was six points shy of the 40 points the club scored in a 43-40 loss at Kentucky (Nov. 18, 2006).

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Seeing his most extensive time at running back agasint FAU, redshirt freshman Jeremiah Bryson filled in admirably for the injured Benny Cunningham. Bryson had 10 attempts for 56 yards, and both were personal bests.

Linebacker Leighton Gasque, who led all freshman nationally last year with 7.0 sacks, recorded his first of the season early in the third quarter against FAU. Gasque now has eight sacks and needs just two more to break into the top ten all-time.

Transfer running back Drayton Calhoun earned his first start tonight and responded with 104 yards rushing on 14 attempts. Both statistics were career highs for the former LSU Tiger and it was the 19th 100-yard rushing game under Rick Stockstill. Calhoun also added a 24-yard reception for his career long.

Senior wide receiver Anthony Amos recorded the second 100-yard receiving game of his career in the win over FAU. Amos finished with four receptions for a career-best 102 yards. It marked the 14th 100-yard receiving game under Rick Stockstill.

Middle Tennessee used a balanced attack in the win over FAU but its ground attack was one of the best in recent memory. The Blue Raiders rushed 55 times for 302 yards. It was the most attempts since having 55 against FAU in 2010 and the most yards since they gained 206 against WKU at home last season.

True freshman Jordan Parker registered his first collegiate 100-yard rushing game by racking up 117 yards on 17 attempts in the win over FAU. Parker and Drayton Calhoun became the first Raiders since Nov. 7, 2009 to both top the century mark in the same game (D.D. Kyles and Dwight Dasher vs FIU).

North Texas Mean Green
With the victory, North Texas won its first home opener since 2006 (vs. SMU). The Mean Green is 56-24-2 all-time in home openers.

Texas Southern rushed for 31 total yards, which are the fewest rushing yards allowed by a North Texas team since it held Abilene Christian to -6 yards in 1992.

NT held Texas Southern to 185 total yards, which are the fewest by a Mean Green opponent since that same Abilene Christian game. NT held ACU to 95 total yards in that game.

In North Texas' seven games at Apogee Stadium, the Mean Green has held four of its opponents scoreless at the half.

RB Brandin Byrd punched in North Texas' first two touchdowns on the day, which gives the junior his first multi-score game.

Antoinne Jimmerson is the first freshman to rush for over 100-yards for North Texas since Evan Roberston rushed for 201 yards against Florida Atlantic in 2006

The Mean Green has now won 30 straight games dating back to 1988 when holding its opponent to 10 points or less. When scoring 30 points or more, the Mean Green has now won five straight games.

South Alabama Jaguars
Senior PK Michel Chapuseaux accounted for all of USA's scoring in its 9-3 win over Nicholls State, converting on a career-high three field goals from 19, 21 and 34 yards out. It was the first time since the program's debut against Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy on Sept. 5, 2009, that the senior has converted multiple field goals in the same contest, as he has already matched his previous season high of four set that same fall. … Pat Moore set school game records with 3½ tackles for loss and 2½ sacks against the Colonels while making his first start. … Junior Scott Garber averaged 43.6 yards per kick while tying a career high with seven punts in the NSU contest, the fourth time in the last nine outings dating back to last year that he has posted a figure of 43 yards or higher. That total included his first two punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line this fall, with the first coming on a career-long 69-yard effort midway through the opening quarter. … Senior ILB Jake Johnson paced the Jags for the second straight week with eight total tackles. He was credited with 2½ stops behind the line of scrimmage — an assist away from tying a career high — while posting his first sack since last year's game at Texas-San Antonio on Oct. 8. … The only other change in the lineup on defense for the NSU contest came at free safety, where Terrell Brigham also made his first career start. The sophomore matched a career high with three total tackles, was credited with his first-ever stop for loss and picked off his first pass midway through the fourth quarter to help the Jags preserve their six-point lead. … USA's 14 tackles for loss set a school game standard, while the six sacks of Colonel quarterback Landry Klann were the most against an NCAA Division I foe and the second-highest total ever in a game. That effort helped the Jaguars limit the Colonel's to just 118 yards of total offense, the fewest allowed by the unit since the 2010 season opener and the lowest total ever posted against USA by an NCAA Division I opponent. … Saturday's win marked the first game in the program's three-plus seasons of competition that the Jaguars have scored less than 10 points and been held without a touchdown. … For the second time in as many years, the Jags will visit Raleigh for their first road contest of the season. As part of the three-game series with North Carolina State, the Wolfpack will visit Mobile on Sept. 5, 2015. … The Jaguars are playing on natural grass for the first time this year — in fact, this will mark just the third occasion since the start of the 2009 season that USA is not on artificial turf.

Troy Trojans
Quarterback Corey Robinson moved into first place on Troy's career passing yard list with 485 yards in the game, he now has 7,786 career passing yards, Robinson also moved into fourth place on the Sun Belt career passing yards list with 7,786 career passing yards, set a Troy school record with 485 passing yards, passing the mark of 477 yards set by Levi Brown against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 21, 2009 ... Robinson had 485 passing yards against ULL, marking the 14th 300-yard performance in his 27 career games and the second 400-yard performance of his career; he set career highs with 46 completions, 70 attempts and 485 passing yards ... Robinson also set a Troy school record with 46 completions, breaking the previous record of 40 set by Levi Brown against North Texas on Oct. 25, 2008. ... Robinson moved into first place in Troy history with 1103 career passing attempts ... Robinson's 70 attempts in the game moved him past Brock Nutter (1997-2001) who had 1,037 career attempts ... Robinson became Troy's career leader in total offense with 474 yards in the game (485 pass, -9 rush). He now has 7,591 yards in his career, surpassing the mark of 7,373 yards set by Sim Byrd (1966-68) ... Wide receiver Eric Thomas moved into 15th place on the Troy career leaderboard with 85 career receptions; Thomas caught nine passes against ULL ... Thomas surpassed the 1,000 receiving yard milestone in the first quarter with his four-yard catch; he entered the game with 999 career receiving yards and finished with 1,054 after picking up 55 on nine catches ... Wide receiver Chandler Worthy recorded 154 receiving yards, marking the second different Trojan to eclipse the 100-yard mark in two games this season. Chip Reeves recorded 125 yards last week at UAB ... Troy hosts Mississippi State this Saturday; the Bulldogs visit to Veterans Memorial Stadium is the first ever by a SEC school.

WKU Hilltoppers
WKU dropped a 35-0 decision to #1 Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa. It marked the second time in the last five games that the Hilltoppers have faced off against the #1 team in the country. They took on LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 12 of last season before ending the year with a pair of conference games.

The announced crowd of 101,821 was the largest a WKU football team has ever played in front of, topping the previous high of 98,761 at Tennessee on Sept. 5, 2009.

Senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes moved into third place on WKU's career list for total offensive plays. Now with 1,164, he moved past current head coach Willie Taggart on the list. Jakes finished the game 20-for-31 passing for 178 yards. That fell just two completions shy of his career high.

Senior defensive end Quanterus Smith registered a career-high 3.0 sacks in the game for a total of 27 yards lost.

The Hilltopper defense registered six total sacks in the game. It also had six in an overtime win at Louisiana-Monroe last season. In all, WKU recorded eight tackles behind the line for a total of 60 yards. Six different players accounted for those eight tackles for loss.

The Hilltoppers were shut out for the first time since a 14-0 loss to Western Illinois on Sept. 14, 2002. That ended a streak of 120 straight games with a least one score.

Tight end Jack Doyle led the Hilltoppers in receptions for the second straight game with seven grabs. That came on the heels of a five-catch performance last Saturday against Austin Peay.

WKU held the Alabama offense to 103 fewer yards than it put up in last Saturday's 41-14 win over Michigan.

Georgia State Panthers (Coming in 2013)
Georgia State returns home to host UTSA Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in a matchup of two fledgling programs in the first year of the two-year transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Both programs will also move to new conferences in 2013, with Georgia State, which began its program in 2010, going from the CAA to the Sun Belt Conference next fall and UTSA, which started play in 2011, moving from the Western Athletic Conference to Conference USA in 2013. Both will be fully eligible for conference titles and postseason bowl games in 2014-15.

The game also features the matchup of veteran head coaches with GSU's Bill Curry facing UTSA's Larry Coker, who won a national championship at Miami in 2001.

Georgia State (0-2) is looking for its first victory of the season following last week's 51-13 loss at Tennessee. Despite the score, the Panthers showed positives in every area. UTSA (2-0) opened the season with a 33-31 win at South Alabama-GSU's future conference foe in the Sun Belt-and then defeated TexasA&M-Commerce, 27-16.

Georgia State's third ever game against an FBS team resulted in a 51-13 loss at Tennessee, but despite the margin, the Panthers' play showed promise. GSU trailed just 7-3 at the end of the first quarter and stayed within 14-6 with five minutes to play in the first half.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ben McLane showed much improvement from his first collegiate game to his second. Despite playing without two of his top three receivers, McLane passed for 176 yards on 18 completions and converted three fourth downs with runs, including a 12-yard touchdown run on fourth and seven. On defense, the Panthers' young defensive line forced two turnovers as noseguard Terrance Woodard recovered a fumble and freshman Joe Lockley grabbed an interception on a tipped ball.

Texas State Bobcats (Coming in 2013)
The Bobcats enter their next game on Sept. 22 looking to win their sixth straight game and eighth victory in nine games against the Lumberjacks.

Texas State is 1-1 for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Bobcats opened the 2012 season with a 30-13 victory at Houston on Sept. 1 before dropping their last game against Texas Tech. The win at Houston marked the first time in school history the Bobcats opened a season with a win over an FBS team.

The Bobcats played its home opener at Texas Tech in front of a crowd of 30,006 at Bobcat Stadium to set a school attendance record of 16,600 that was set against Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1981.

Texas State scored all 10 of its points against Texas Tech in the second quarter when junior quarterback Tyler Arndt threw his first touchdown pass of the season with a 25-yard touchdown pass and Will Johnson added an extra point and a 38-yard field goal. Those 10 points give the Bobcats a combined 23 points in the second period during their first two games. Texas State also scored 13 points at Houston to open the season.

Johnson's field goal against Texas Tech was his fourth field goal of the season. He has made all three of his attempts inside the 40-yard line in 2012 after beginning is collegiate career making just four of eight field goal attempts inside the 40 last season.

 

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