Sun Belt Conference Football news and notes

From the Sun Belt Conference

Final Major Weekend of Non-Conference Games on Tap
A week after matching up in seven non-conference games, the Sun Belt Conference will go up against six more non-conference foes in week five of the college football season. All six games are available for home viewing audiences.

This will be the last major week of non-conference play as the bulk of the remaining schedule will feature head-to-head conference games.

Three teams will be at home as Western Kentucky hosts Navy, Texas State hosts Wyoming and Louisiana-Monroe hosts Tulane. The Warhawks will play in the Sun Belt's last regular season game against a Conference USA opponent. So far this season, the Sun Belt Conference is 3-0 against Conference USA (Week 1 - Texas State defeated Southern Miss; Troy defeated UAB; Week 2 - South Alabama defeated Tulane). ULM defeated Tulane last season by a score of 63-10.

Two road contests will be played at SEC opponents as Arkansas State plays at Missouri and South Alabama plays at Tennessee. Troy travels to Durham, N.C. to play ACC member Duke. The Sun Belt has one win against each of those leagues, with ULM having defeated Wake Forest out of the ACC and WKU having defeated Kentucky out of the SEC.

The AFCA will hold its sixth annual Coach to Cure MD effort with the games of September 28. More than 110 FBS schools will be wearing a Coach to Cure MD patch to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.

All Sun Belt coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999."

All eight Sun Belt schools are participating, even the two idle teams will wear the patches during a different game this season (Georgia State and Louisiana-Lafayette).

Upcoming Schedule

September 28
South Alabama at Tennessee - 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
Navy at Western Kentucky - 1 p.m. (ESPNews)
Troy at Duke - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Wyoming at Texas State - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Tulane at Louisiana-Monroe - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Arkansas State at Missouri - 6:30 p.m. (CSS and CST)

October 3
* Western Kentucky at Louisiana-Monroe - 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

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

Recent Results

September 21

Jacksonville State 32, Georgia State 26 (OT) - 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
#20 Baylor 70, Louisiana-Monroe 7 - 3 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
Memphis 31, Arkansas State 7 - 3:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Akron 30 - 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
#25 Texas Tech 33, Texas State 7 - 6 p.m. (Fox Sports Network)
Western Kentucky 58, Morgan State 17 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Mississippi State 62, Troy 7 - 6:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Network)

September 14
West Virginia 41, Georgia State 7 - 11 a.m. (Root Sports)
Louisiana-Monroe 21, Wake Forest 19 - 11:30 a.m. (Raycom Sports Net)
Louisiana-Lafayette 70, Nicholls State 3 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
* South Alabama 31, Western Kentucky 24 - 6:30 p.m. (ESPN3)

September 12
* Arkansas State 41, Troy 34 – 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

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

Offensive Player of the Week

Terrance Broadway (Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., QB,)
Broadway was responsible for all five Cajuns touchdowns, including a pair of fourth quarter scores that brought the Cajuns back from a 24-21 deficit to claim a 35-30 win at Akron.  Broadway set season highs for attempts (37), completions (25), touchdowns (3) and yards (305) while also rushing 15 times for a game-high 68 yards and two touchdowns.  He scored on runs of 15 and 14 yards, the latter giving the Cajuns the lead for good with 8:07 left.  He came back at the 6:19 mark to throw a 14-yard TD pass to Darryl Surgent to put the Cajuns ahead, 35-24.

Defensive Player of the Week

Xavius Boyd (WKU, Sr., LB)
WKU senior linebacker Xavius Boyd recorded his fourth-straight double-digit tackle performance when he racked up 10 tackles (seven solo) against Morgan State in a 58-17 victory. Boyd has recorded double-digit tackles in each of the Tops' first four games after recording just three double-digit performances all of last season. Additionally, the linebacker picked up three tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks, and forced one fumble, his first of the year. Boyd now leads the Hilltoppers and the conference in tackles for loss (9.5), sacks (5.5), assisted and unassisted tackles (22/23) and total tackles (45). Boyd's 9.5 TFLs are five more than the next closest player in the SBC and rank him third nationally in the category.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Jonathan Dowling (WKU, r-Jr., DB)
Junior defensive back and team captain Jonathan Dowling returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the second quarter of WKU's 58-17 thumping of Morgan State on Saturday. It was the first time a blocked field goal had been returned for a touchdown by the Hilltoppers since they became an FBS member in 2008 and was the second career touchdown for Dowling's career. The touchdown also marked the first special teams touchdown of the season for WKU and first since Antonio Andrews returned a punt 70 yards for the score in the 2012 season opener against Austin Peay.


Team News and Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves
A-State continues its non-conference slate Saturday at Missouri, the second SEC opponent on the Red Wolves schedule . . . A-State suffered a 38-9 setback at Auburn in its second game, and now faces Missouri for the third time in school history and the first time since 2005 . . . Coming off a 31-7 setback at Memphis, the Red Wolves have not dropped back-to-back games since dropping its last four games of the 2010 season . . . A-State has two SEC opponents on its schedule for the first time since 2004 (Ole Miss and LSU) . . . ASU is 2-2 through four games for the third consecutive season . . . The Red Wolves defeated UAPB 62-11 in their season opener and are looking for a second non-conference victory for a third straight year . . . Despite being held under 300 yards total offense for the first time this year its last time, A-State is still ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in total offense (472.0 ypg) . . . ASU is ranked 25th in the nation and first in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing yards (240.3 ypg), but face a Missouri defense that is ranked 30th in the nation in rushing defense (115.3 ypg) . . . Although the Red Wolves recorded a season-low two tackles for loss against Memphis, they are still ranked 15th in the nation in the stat with 7.8 per game . . . ASU has recorded at least one fumble in every game this year and has recovered one in the last three . . . Over 50 percent of Arkansas State's scoring drives have taken under two minutes this season . . . Soph. WR Julian Jones has recorded at least six receptions the last three games and now has 21 total over that span. Jones has either led or tied for the team-high in receptions every game this season and is ranked 48th in the nation with 5.8 per game . . . Two A-State players posted a career-high tackles total against Memphis, including freshman LB Xavier Woodson with a team-high nine . . . Soph. WR J.D. McKissic recorded a career-high 82 kickoff return yards against Memphis, which were also the most by an ASU player since 2010.

Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State's overtime loss to Jacksonville State was the Panthers' sixth overtime contest in three-plus seasons (37 games). GSU is 2-4 in overtime games.

Quarterback Ronnie Bell found Albert Wilson for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game, the fourth-longest pass and play from scrimmage in Georgia State history and the fastest score in GSU annals.

Albert Wilson has a hand in the four longest plays from scrimmage in GSU history with receptions of 93, 84, 78 and 75 yards. Add his 100-yard kickoff return against Old Dominion in 2012 and 97-yard kickoff return against Alabama in 2010, and he has been involved in six of the eight longest plays in Panther annals. His 19 career touchdown catches have covered an average of 46.7 yards, including eight TDs of longer than 50 yards.

Albert Wilson's career average of 19.6 yards per catch ranks first among all active FBS players. He has 126 career receptions for 2,470 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Port St. Lucie, Fla., native also ranks fourth among active players with 4,759 career all-purpose yards and sixth in receiving yards per game (72.6).

Albert Wilson achieved the 10th 100-yard receiving game of his career, and his sixth game with at least 200 all-purpose yards. His 158 yards receiving is the third-highest total of his career and third highest in GSU history, while his 280 all-purpose yards are also third-best for him and for GSU.

Punter Matt Hubbard tied his own school record with an 80-yard punt against Jacksonville State. He also blasted an 80-yard last season against South Carolina State. Hubbard has a career punting average of 42.3 (ninth among active FBS punters).

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
After rallying for two fourth quarter touchdowns to come from behind to claim a 35-30 win at Akron last week, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will take the week off before returning to action on Saturday, Oct. 5 when they open Sun Belt play at home against league newcomer Texas State at 6:00 p.m. in Cajun Field.

Quarterback Terrance Broadway was responsible for all five Cajuns touchdowns, rushing for two and throwing for three. He completed 25-of-37 passes for a season-high 305 yards and also rushed 15 times for a game-high 68 yards.

Wide receiver Jamal Robinson was the main target for Broadway, catching a career-high eight passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. It was his fourth career 100-yard receiving game and his third career multi-touchdown game.

Senior Darryl Surgent also set a career receiving best with seven receptions for 83 yards and a score.

Sixth-year senior safety Rodney Gillis celebrated his first start of the season by intercepting a first quarter pass and returning it 28 yards to set up the first Louisiana touchdown of the game. It was his sixth career interception, five of which came in 2012.

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Saturday's contest against Tulane will close out ULM's slate for September as well as its non-conference schedule... The Warhawks are currently 2-1 in the month of September with wins over Grambling State (home) and Wake Forest (away) and a loss to No. 19 Baylor (away).

ULM and Tulane are meeting on the gridiron for the second consecutive season... Last season, the Warhawks claimed a 63-10 win over the Green Wave in New Orleans to earn its first win in the all-time series... ULM dropped the two previous meetings to the Green Wave (L, 9-52, Oct. 5, 2002, Monroe; L, 10-24, Sept. 20, 2008, New Orleans).

Tulane's trip to Malone Stadium Saturday will be the second trip all-time for the Green Wave... Tulane's only other trip to ULM was on Oct. 5, 2002 as the visitors earned a win in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

So far this season, the Sun Belt Conference is 3-0 against Conference USA (Week 1 - Texas State def. Southern Miss; Troy def. UAB; Week 2 - South Alabama def. Tulane).

Following Saturday's contest against Tulane, ULM will have a short turnaround as they welcome Western Kentucky for a Thursday night contest (Oct. 3, ESPNU)... It will be the first of two occurances this season where the Warhawks play on Saturday and then play the following Thursday (Oct. 26, Georgia State; Oct. 31, at Troy [ESPNU]).

With 262 yards of total offense at No. 19 Baylor, Kolton Browning became ULM's all-time leader in total offense as he passed Steven Jyles (2002-05)... Browing currently has 10,323 yards of total offense -- 8,917 passing, 1,406 rushing... Jyles totaled 10,234 yards of total offense during his four-year career (8,987 passing, 1,247 rushing).

South Alabama Jaguars
For the second straight year, the Jaguars visit a Southeastern Conference opponent prior to facing Sun Belt Conference rival Troy; USA dropped a 30-10 decision at nationally-ranked Mississippi State on Sept. 22 last fall in their first-ever match-up with an SEC foe. … USA enters this contest coming off back-to-back wins for first time since the Jags defeated Henderson (Ark.) State and Mississippi Valley State on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3, 2011. … While no Jaguar has ever played at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium, five members of the program's coaching staff have experience in the environment. As players at Alabama, head coach Joey Jones (1980, '82) and assistants Kevin Sherrer ('94) and Freddie Roach ('02 and '04) all took part in games in Knoxville at least once, assistant coach Robert Matthews was part of a Georgia squad that visited in 1997 and graduate assistant Chevis Jackson played in the venue with LSU in '06. … This will be the first of three games for the Jags this fall following an open week (the others are Oct. 19 vs. Kent State and at Navy on Nov. 16) — USA has won five of seven outings the previous four seasons when playing with at least one extra week to prepare. … Jeremé Jones has recorded 30 outings in a row with at least one reception after ending the WKU contest with a team-high-tying four catches for a season-best 68 yards. … OLB Clifton Crews has been credited with at least one assist behind the line of scrimmage in three straight contests, matching the longest streak of his career first set from Oct. 31-Nov. 12, 2009. The senior collected a season-high-tying six tackles against the Toppers. … With a 50-yard completion from Ross Metheny to Shavarez Smith — the longest for the Jaguars this fall — and Pearson's 49-yard interception return, USA has now recorded seven plays of 40 or more yards in 2013. That's the same amount the Jags had in 13 outings a season ago. … USA's final two touchdown marches — the first which tied the contest near the end of the third quarter, the second that provided the final margin of victory with 98 seconds to go — were on opposite ends of the drive chart. When Jay Jones reached the end zone from four yards out for his first career score, it capped the Jaguars' longest drive of the year in terms of both yards (89 in 14 plays) and time (5:36), while Trey Fetner's one-yard scoring run ended their shortest, a 16-yard possession that took just 34 seconds off the clock in four snaps. … Wes Saxton's His 37-yard catch in the second quarter in the WKU game was not only the longest of his career, but one of five gains of 20-plus yards for the junior this year — that equals his total in 13 contests a season ago.

Texas State Bobcats
Texas State enters the Wyoming game looking to win its second straight home game and open the season with three wins in its first four games this season.

The Bobcats enters the Wyoming game ranked fourth nationally and leading the Sun Belt Conference in rushing defense after surrendering an average of 62.0 yards in their first three games.

Texas State also ranks third nationally and leads the SBC in turnover margin with an average margin of 2.78 per game. The Bobcats also rank sixth nationally and are the SBC leader in fumbles recovered with five. Texas State has forced 10 turnovers this season and that ranks eighth nationally and leads the Sun Belt Conference.

Texas State's defense also ranks eighth nationally and leads the SBC in red-zone defense with a percentage of .571 through its first three games.

Texas State had three interceptions against Texas Tech to mark the second time this season the Bobcats have intercepted two or more passes in a game. Xavier Daniels, Justin Iwuji and Germod Williams had interceptions against the Red Raiders. David Mayo opened the season with two interceptions at Southern Miss.

David Mayo led the Bobcats with nine tackles after recording eight tackles against Prairie View A&M and six stops at Southern Miss.

Xavier Daniels, who moved to cornerback this season after playing his first three years as a free safety, also led the team with seven solo tackles and recorded a career-best 2.0 tackle for losses of five yards against Texas Tech. He enters the Wyoming game ranked sixth nationally with 2.0 passes defended per game.

Michael Orakpo leads the nation in forced fumbles with an average of 1.0 per game. He forced two fumbles against Southern Miss and another against Prairie View A&M.

Troy Trojans
Jim Teknip caught his first pass of the season in the first quarter, becoming the first tight end to have a reception since November 19, 2011, against FAU (also Teknip). It was also the 10th longest play of the season for the Trojans … Brandon Burks ran for 26 yards late in the first quarter, the longest rush of the season for the Trojans and the 12th longest play of the year overall … Eric Thomas caught his sixth touchdown of the season in the first quarter, giving him at least one touchdown in five consecutive games. He also now has at least one reception in 29 straight games. He now has sole possession of second place in Sun Belt history with 23 career touchdown receptions, just one behind T.Y. Hilton … Jed Solomon took the extra point for the Trojans following the touchdown in the first quarter, giving him his first career point … Brandon Burks rushed for a career-high 43 yards … Jordan Chunn's 25 receiving yards is a career-high … Rishad Goode set a career-high with five tackles … Joe Lofton set a career-high with four tackles … Martrez Townes had his first career forced fumble … Ryan Kay had his first career punt … Chandler Worthy's 13-yard kickoff return in the second quarter moved him into sixth in school history in kickoff return yards (1204).

WKU Hilltoppers
WKU's 58 points scored against Morgan State on Saturday were its most in the FBS era and the most since scoring 87 against West Virginia Tech on Sept. 8, 2007

WKU's 588 yards were a season high and the third time the Hilltoppers have racked up 400 or more yards this season. - WKU has tallied at least 393 yards in every game this season.

Senior running back Antonio Andrews finished with 213 rushing yards on 17 carries and five rushing touchdowns. The five rushing touchdowns set a new WKU single game record and tied the SBC single game record in that category

With his 291 all-purpose yards on the night, Andrews now leads the nation in all-purpose yardage with 222.5 yards per game.

Senior linebacker Xavius Boyd tallied his fourth straight double-digit tackle performance after having only three of those games last season. He leads the SBC and WKU in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. His 9.5 tackles for loss are third most nationally per game (2.4) and lead the nation overall.

The Hilltoppers host Navy this week in a 1 p.m. nationally televised game on ESPNews. Navy carries a 2-0 record over WKU heading into the game.

Appalachian State Mountaineers (Coming in 2014)
Appalachian State opened its final Southern Conference campaign with a 31-21 win at Elon.

Appalachian State raced out to a 24-0 lead in the first half and set season highs for points (31), total yards (599), passing yards (404) and rushing yards
(195) in the win at Elon.

Appalachian State avoided its first 0-3 start since 1993. The Mountaineers also avoided three-straight losses in the same season since '93.

Appalachian State's Scott Satterfield earned his first win as a head coach.

In the first start of his career, true freshman running back Marcus Cox amassed 308 all-purpose yards (149 receiving, 159 rushing) and scored three touchdowns, one on a three-yard run and the others on 50- and 73-yard receptions.

Appalachian State employed a two-quarterback system in the win at Elon. Playing the primarily in the first and third quarters, senior Jamal Londry-Jackson completed 16-of-21 passes for 205 yards and one touchdowns. Playing primarily in the second and fourth quarters, sophomore Kameron Bryant completed 9-of-12 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

Appalachian State returns home this week to face 4-0 Charleston Southern. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Georgia Southern Eagles (Coming in 2014)
After its first of two bye weeks in the 2013 season, Georgia Southern (2-1) plays host to Southern Conference rival Chattanooga, Saturday, Sept. 28th. Kickoff at Allen E. Paulson Stadium is set at 6 p.m. and the game is part of the festivities for Family Weekend.

The Eagles lead the series with the Mocs 22-4 and have won the last two meetings. Georgia Southern won last year's game at Finley Stadium in a triple-overtime thriller 39-31. Both teams are coming off a bye week with Chattanooga defeating Austin Peay in a non-conference game 42-10 and Georgia Southern falling in a conference contest at Wofford 30-20. During the Monken era, the Eagles are 7-0 at Paulson Stadium during the month of September.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Ellison, who started for the Eagles at quarterback with senior Jerick McKinnon in the backfield, earned the SoCon Freshman of the Week award with 102 yards of rushing, averaging a team-best 7.3 yards per carry. Ellison posted a career-long rush of 53 yards to set up the Eagles' first touchdown and threw a career-best six completions, five coming in the final touchdown drive for Georgia Southern.

McKinnon, the Eagles' top rusher with 243 in 2013 and 3,092 total, is just 120 yards from tying Georgia Southern great Tracy Ham (3,212) for seventh place on the all-time career rushing list. Junior running back Dominique Swope, with the Eagles' best per-game rushing average, moved into the career rushing top 10 list in 10th place, surpassing Gerald Harris (1983-85). Ellison, second on the team in total rushing yards, leads Georgia Southern in total offense per game. Georgia Southern's linebackers senior Kyle Oehlbeck and junior Edwin Jackson are have 25 and 24 total tackles, respectively, as the leaders on the defensive side.

In the NCAA statistics, Georgia Southern, with a 407.7 per game team rushing average, would lead the FBS ahead of Navy (398.0), would rank sixth on the NCAA chart for scoring at 52.0 points per game and 15th for total offense (542.3).

Idaho Vandals (Coming in 2014)
Idaho is at home next week against Temple. Kickoff for the annual Homecoming game is 2:05 p.m. PT.

This is the first time Idaho and Temple have played.

The Vandals fell to 0-4 after a 42-0 loss at Washington State last Saturday.

New Mexico State Aggies (Coming in 2014)
The NM State football team welcomes the San Diego State Aztecs to Las Cruces this coming weekend, Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. (MT) at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies and Aztecs last met in 2010, with San Diego State winning the game, 41-21. The series between the two schools is led by the Aztecs at 8-1-1.

AggieVision will produce and distribute the game. The game will be televised live on Comcast New Mexico, CW-El Paso, Altitude, FS-Arizona Plus and KASY-Albuquerque. The game will be broadcast tape delayed on CSN-Houston (9/29).

The series between the Aggies and Aztecs dates back to 1936. The game was played in Las Cruces and finished in a tie, 7-7. The Aztecs lead the all-time series with NM State, 8-1-1, while the Aggies only win coming in 1955, a 26-6 win in Las Cruces.

Only three of the nine games in the series have been played in Las Cruces, as the Aggies hold a 1-1-1 record in those games. NM State is 0-7 against San Diego State in games played in San Diego. All the games in the series have been decided by 20 points or more with the exception of the 7-7 tie in 1936 and the 34-17 decision in 2009.

The Aztecs currently hold a six-game winning streak over NM State. Saturday's game is also the second meeting between the two schools in the month of September. The Aggies and Aztecs have met six times in October and three times in November.