A Cajun, Hilltopper, & Trojan take Sun Belt weekly honors

NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - Three teams earned Sun Belt wins this past week as Troy slipped past South Alabama in an instant classic, WKU used a strong second half to surge past ULM on Thursday night, and Louisiana-Lafayette served notice that there is a reason why they were picked as a preseason favorite in the league.

For Troy, Eric Thomas caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Corey Robinson with seven seconds left in the game to lift Troy to a 34-33 victory over South Alabama on Saturday. Thomas, who had five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, became the Sun Belt Conference all-time leader in touchdown receptions (26).

Over in Lafayette, Terrance Broadway tied a career-best with four touchdown passes as Louisiana-Lafayette welcomed Texas State to the Sun Belt Conference with a 48-24 defeat Saturday night. Broadway was 18 of 23 for 335 yards while connecting with ten different receivers.

On ESPNU this past Thursday, Antonio Andrews ran for 155 yards on 27 carries and had two touchdowns to lead Western Kentucky to a 31-10 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

This upcoming Saturday will feature two conference games, as Georgia State will play its first ever Sun Belt game when they host Troy in a Sun Belt Network affair and Texas State will host its first SBC game when ULM comes to San Marcos. Arkansas State will play host to future Sun Belt member Idaho on Saturday.

Of note, the 2013 football season has already seen the second highest total of non-conference wins in league history. The 14 non-conference wins is second only to the 2012 season total of 19 wins. There are still seven regular season non-conference games left in the season and postseason opportunities for additional wins as well.

Upcoming Schedule

October 12
* Troy at Georgia State - 2:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* Louisiana-Monroe at Texas State - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Idaho at Arkansas State - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)

October 15
* Louisiana-Lafayette at Western Kentucky - 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

October 22
* Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State – 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

October 31
* Louisiana-Monroe at Troy - 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

November 2
* Western Kentucky at Georgia State - 12 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
Texas State at Idaho - 4 p.m.
New Mexico State at Louisiana-Lafayette - 4 p.m. (RCN/ESPN3)
* Arkansas State at South Alabama - TBA

All times Central (CT) and subject to change
* denotes Sun Belt Conference game

Recent Results

October 3

* Western Kentucky 31, Louisiana-Monroe 10 - 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

October 5
#1 Alabama 45, Georgia State 3 - 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
* Troy 34, South Alabama 33 - 12 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* Louisiana-Lafayette 48, Texas State 24 - 6 p.m. (RCN/ESPN3)

September 28
Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24 - 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
WKU 19, Navy 7 - 1 p.m. (ESPNews)
Duke 38, Troy 31 - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Texas State 42, Wyoming 21 - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Tulane 31, Louisiana-Monroe 14 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Missouri 41, Arkansas State 19 - 6:30 p.m. (CSS and CST)

Sun Belt Conference Players of the Week (as selected by media panel)

Offensive Player of the Week

Eric Thomas (Troy, Sr., WR)
Troy wide receiver Eric Thomas became the Sun Belt's all-time leader in touchdown catches and put on a dazzling performance in Troy's victory over South Alabama. Thomas had five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, including one with seven seconds with defenders draped all over him left to give Troy the victory. His first touchdown catch gave him 25 for his career which passed FIU's T.Y. Hilton for the most in league history. Thomas has caught a touchdown in seven straight games, which leads the country and already has nine touchdown receptions in just six games.

Defensive Player of the Week

Xavius Boyd (WKU, Sr., LB.)
WKU senior linebacker Xavius Boyd continued his stellar year for the Hilltoppers with yet another double-digit tackle performance on Thursday at ULM. Boyd, who is tied for nation's lead in tackles for loss at 12.5, finished with 10 tackles and turned in his fifth double-digit tackle performance in six games this year. It was the seventh game in a row the senior backer led the Hilltoppers in tackles. Boyd contributed a pair of assisted tackles for loss to add to his total and his 6.5 sacks on the year are No. 2 nationally. Four of Boyd's 10 tackles came on the ULM opening drive to set the defensive tone for the game.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Brandon Smith (Texas State, So., WR/RS)
Brandon Smith averaged 70.3 yards and scored two touchdowns on three kickoff returns at Louisiana-Lafayette … his 211 yards in kickoff returns are a national single-game high… Smith became the first player in Texas State history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a game, single season and career with the two touchdowns against the Ragin' Cajuns … he also became the first player in Louisiana-Lafayette history to score two touchdowns in a single game versus the Ragin' Cajuns … Smith scored Texas State's first TD in the game with his 92-yard return with 3:39 in the third quarter … he also recorded a 100-yard return in the fourth quarter … his 100-yard return is the second-longest return in school history and longest since 1950 … Smith also led the Bobcats in receiving with three catches for 22 yards against the Ragin' Cajuns.