Mountain Home's Brock Barnhill named Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week
NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - Three multi-game win streaks will be on the line this week with major implications on the Sun Belt Championship.
UL-Lafayette, winners of eight straight, hosts rival UL-Monroe Saturday evening and that afternoon Arkansas State, winners of four straight, plays at WKU - winners of three consecutive.
While UL-Lafayette took a break from its win streak with a bye last week, the Cajuns can clinch the outright league title with wins in each of its last two games or clinch a share of the crown with either one win or one Arkansas State loss.
Two-time defending champion Arkansas State has earned every victory in its current four-game winning streak with the Red Wolves either tied or trailing entering the second half. Five of A-State's seven total victories have been claimed under those circumstances. The Red Wolves improved to 5-1 in Sun Belt Conference play to remain in sole possession of second place in the league standings.
Meanwhile, WKU is now 7-4 on the season with a 3-3 mark in the Sun Belt Conference and the Hilltoppers are winners of three consecutive. Like both Arkansas State and UL-Lafayette, WKU is bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.
While the 2013 season wraps up, of note is that future Sun Belt member Georgia Southern swept the headlines around the nation this past Saturday with its win over Florida. The Eagles will join the Sun Belt on July 1, 2014 along with Appalachian State as all sports members. Idaho and New Mexico State will also join the league at that time as football only members.
November 29 * Texas State at Troy - 1 p.m.
November 30 * South Alabama at Georgia State - 1 p.m. * Arkansas State at Western Kentucky - 3 p.m. * UL-Monroe at UL-Lafayette - 6 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
December 7 * UL-Lafayette at South Alabama - TBA (RCN/ESPN3)
December 21 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - 8 p.m. (ESPN)
January 5 GoDaddy.com Bowl - 8 p.m. (ESPN)
All times Central (CT) and subject to change * denotes Sun Belt Conference game
November 23 * WKU 38, Texas State 7 - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network) * South Alabama 36, UL-Monroe 14 - 6 p.m. (Sun Belt Network) * Arkansas State 35, Georgia State 33 - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
November 16 Ole Miss 51, Troy 21 - 11a.m. (ESPNU) * UL-Lafayette 35, Georgia State 21 - 1 p.m. (ESPN3) Navy 42, South Alabama 14 - 2:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) * Arkansas State 38, Texas State 21- 6:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
November 9 Western Kentucky 21, Army 17 - 11 a.m. (CBS College Sports) * Arkansas State 42, UL-Monroe 14 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Sun Belt Conference Players of the Week (as selected by media panel)
Offensive Player of the Week
Antonio Andrews (WKU, Sr., RB) The nation's all-purpose leader and No. 2 rusher, WKU's Antonio Andrews, put himself further ahead with a 226 yard performance at Texas State. Andrews recorded his school-record fifth 200-yard rushing performance, finishing with 204 yards on 21 carries (9.7 YPC) with three touchdowns. He also now has 20 career 100-yard games, the most among active players and second-most in school history. It was his 10th consecutive 100-yard game, the second-longest streak in the country and a school record. Andrews had a pair of touchdown runs going 33 and 47 yards each, while his seven-yarder was set up by his own 22-yard carry the play before. Andrews is averaging 146.5 yards per game, 66.7 yards more than any other SBC running back, and his 15 rushing touchdowns are a league-best. He also leads the league in scoring at 8.2 per game and is the only running back in the nation to have 1,200 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards (1,611 and 420). Additionally, he is the only player in the country to average more than 200 all-purpose yards per game.
Defensive Player of the Week
Cam Thomas (WKU, Jr., DB) WKU junior defensive back Cam Thomas continued his high caliber season with a shutdown night against Texas State. Thomas' stat line for the night included a pair of interceptions, two of four on the night for the Tops, two pass breakups and a pair of tackles. The Bobcat offense made it clear last night that passing plays would go away from the junior all night long. Of Texas State's 30 pass attempts, just five went to Thomas' side and of those five, two were intercepted, two were broken up and one was incomplete. In fact, receivers that lined up across from Thomas to begin the play combined to catch just two passes on the night and both were on plays running away from his side and were switched off to other WKU defenders before the snap. The WKU defense, and Thomas in particular, held Texas State to just 130 yards of total offense, the second-fewest yards allowed to an FBS opponent in school history. With his five interceptions and 15 passes defended on the season, Thomas now leads the conference in both categories.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Brock Barnhill (Arkansas State, Jr., DB) Arkansas State junior defensive back Brock Barnhill came up with his first career punt block at a critical point in the Red Wolves' 35-33 win over Georgia State, knocking down a Matt Hubbard attempt from the Georgia State 25-yard line that was recovered in the end zone by teammate Raziel Valgis to give A-State a 21-17 lead with 11:09 left in the third quarter. Barnhill was credited with a 25-yard punt return on the play, and the touchdown gave the Red Wolves their first lead since going up 7-0 in the first quarter.