NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - With three teams sitting at five wins and two more teams having four wins on the year, the Sun Belt could very well be looking at having five or more bowl eligible teams this season. A year ago the league set its all-time high for bowl eligible teams with five.
A handful of intriguing matchups in the next several weeks will not only push teams toward bowl eligibility, but will be crucial in the Sun Belt championship race.
Football fans across the country will be in for a real treat on Halloween night when Troy hosts UL-Monroe in a nationally televised ESPNU affair. The Trojans currently stand at 5-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play, while the Warhawks have been reenergized with the return of quarterback Kolton Browning and are 4-4 overall and 2-1 in SBC play. The quarterback matchup in this game will feature two of the Sun Belt's all-time best in Browning and Troy signal caller Corey Robinson.
On the strength of its defense and running game, UL-Lafayette sits atop the Sun Belt standings with a 3-0 mark and an impressive 5-2 overall record. The Cajuns, winners of five straight, are coming off of back-to-back wins in front of an ESPN2 national audience. Viewers have been treated to an impressive ground attack as the Cajuns lead the Sun Beltin rushing and rank 17th in the nation averaging 229.3 yards per game.
The Cajuns host New Mexico State on Saturday in one of the league's five remaining regular season non-conference games. New Mexico State will be a member of the Sun Belt for football beginning next season.
The remaining non-conference games are critical for Sun Belt teams now as the league has already established its second highest non-conference win total of all-time with 16 wins and has those five regular season opportunities to catch last year's record of 19 total non-conference wins.
* UL-Lafayette at Georgia State - 1 p.m.
South Alabama at Navy - 2:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
* Texas State at Arkansas State - 6:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
Troy at Mississippi - TBA
All times Central (CT) and subject to change
* denotes Sun Belt Conference game
* Troy 32, Western Kentucky 26 - 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Texas State 33, South Alabama 31 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
* UL-Monroe 38, Georgia State 10 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
* UL-Lafayette 23, Arkansas State 7 – 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
South Alabama 38, Kent State 21 - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Texas State 24, Georgia State 17 - 6 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* UL-Lafayette 37, Western Kentucky 20 - 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
* Troy 35, Georgia State 28 - 2:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* UL-Monroe 21, Texas State 14 - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Arkansas State 48, Idaho 24 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Kolton Browning (UL-Monroe, Sr., QB)
Browning had a stellar day in his first game back from injury, throwing for 224 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-30 passing as the Warhawks earned a 38-10 victory over Georgia State. The senior found four different receivers for scores and also added 37 yards on 11 carries on the ground. It was his first action since going down against Tulane on Sept. 28 and he wasted no time in working back into his groove as ULM's all-time leading passer. Browning connected with Tavarese Maye for 18 yards on just his second attempt of the night and found Rashon Ceaser in the second quarter for a game-long 34-yard connection. The senior finished his night with seven completions of 15 yards or longer, the highlight coming on a 24-yard strike to Harley Scioneaux in the back of the end zone for his final touchdown toss of the night.
Defensive Player of the Week
Ryan Carrethers (Arkansas State, Sr., DL)
Arkansas State senior nose tackle Ryan Carrethers recorded the most tackles in the nation this season by a defensive lineman with a game-high 16 during the Red Wolves game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Not only were his 16 tackles a game high, they were also a career high and tied the most by a Sun Belt Conference player this season. The last time an A-State player posted 16 or more tackles was Oct. 13, 2012, when former linebacker Nathan Herrold recorded 17 against South Alabama. Carrethers has now posted double-figure tackles in three career games. His 16 tackles against the Ragin' Cajuns pushed his season total to 54, which ranks sixth in the Sun Belt Conference and first among all defensive linemen in the league.
Special Teams Player of the Week