Sunbelt news and notes for week 9

Sunbelt news and notes for week 9

Week 9 news and notes from the Sunbelt Conference.
ARKANSAS STATE: The Red Wolves fell flat on their home field with first place on the line, as they lost to Louisiana last Tuesday, 23-7, snapping an eight- game conference winning streak in the process. The offense failed to click on any level, gaining just 168 total yards and 10 first downs. Adam Kennedy had his least effective game of the season, completing a mere 11-of-20 passes for 89 yards and an interception, although he did score the team's only touchdown on a three-yard run in the second quarter. The ground game was bottled up as well, gaining a net of only 79 yards on 25 carries (3.2 ypc), led by Michael Gordon's 31 yards. The ASU defense could not get off the field, allowing the Ragin' Cajuns to amass 265 rushing yards which led to more than 42 minutes of possession time. Arkansas State (3-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) hits the road this Saturday for a bout with South Alabama.

GEORGIA STATE: The Panthers offense gained just 244 yards as the team lost at ULM over the weekend, 38-10. Ronnie Bell was inefficient as the starting quarterback, completing just 2-of-9 passes for 22 yards with two interceptions, while replacement Ben McLane (10-of-21, 86 yards, INT) didn't fare much better. Freshman running back Jonathan Jean-Bart was the offensive standout, gaining 60 yards on just seven carries. The team's only touchdown came via the defense, as Robert Ferguson returned a fumble 87 yards for a score early in the second quarter, but that was the lone highlight for a unit that surrendered 533 yards to the Warhawks. GSU (0-8, 0-3 Sun Belt) will try to put an end to its winless campaign this Saturday afternoon when it returns home to take on Western Kentucky.

LOUISIANA: In a battle for first place in the Sun Belt standings, the Ragin' Cajuns toppled Arkansas State last Tuesday, 23-7. A relentless rushing attack was paced by workhorse tailback Alonzo Harris, who carried the ball 29 times for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Elijah McGuire was also explosive out of the backfield with 110 yards on just 10 attempts. With 58 rushing attempts credited to the team as a whole, Terrance Broadway wasn't ask to do much under center, completing 18-of-28 passes for 205 yards with an interception, with most of his tosses aimed at Jamal Robinson (seven receptions, 104 yards). The Cajuns' defensive effort was outstanding, holding a capable Red Wolves offense to just 168 total yards. Louisiana (5-2, 3-0 Sun Belt) steps out of conference this Saturday for its Homecoming matchup with New Mexico State.

TEXAS STATE: In a Homecoming thriller against South Alabama, the Bobcats orchestrated a nine-play, 56-yard drive in the final two minutes and capped it off with a 41-yard field goal by Jason Dann with just four seconds remaining to lift them to a 33-31 victory. Tyler Jones led the TSU offensive attack, completing 15-of-25 passes for 218 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The signal caller also made a lasting impression with his legs, picking up 68 rushing yards. The relentless ground attack, which tallied 234 yards on 53 carries, was paced by Robert Lowe with 89 yards on 15 totes, while Chris Nutall (12 carries, 76 yards) was also effective. Dunn booted a total of four field goals on the night without a miss, three of which came in the fourth quarter. Texas State (5-3, 2-2 Sun Belt) will try to make it three wins in a row this Saturday when it faces Idaho on the road.

SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars put up a valiant fight in a back-and-forth clash with Texas State, even taking the lead with 1:32 left in regulation on a 43- yard touchdown pass from Ross Metheny to Danny Woodson, but they fell victim to a last-second game-winning field goal to lose, 33-31. Ross Metheny pieced together an impressive outing in the near comeback, completing 27-of-43 passes for 300 yards with four touchdowns (one rushing) and an interception. Cris Dinham led the rushing attack with 50 yards on just four carries, while Metheny was also a factor on the ground with 40 yards. Woodson shined as Metheny's top target with five receptions for 118 yards and two scores. Defensively, Pat Moore finished with two sacks and Montell Garner registered an interception. South Alabama (3-4, 1-2 Sun Belt) returns home this Saturday to face Arkansas State.

TROY: Thanks in large part to a key defensive stand, stopping Western Kentucky on a fourth-and-short with less than two minutes remaining, the Trojans captured an impressive 32-26 road victory. Corey Robinson led the charge from under center, completing 20-of-32 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The signal caller hooked up with 10 different receivers on the day, with Eric Thomas (five receptions, 74 yards) and Chris Williams (four receptions, 61 yards, TD) the top beneficiaries. Brandon Burks gained 52 yards on nine carries, and while Jordan Chunn turned seven attempts into a mere 19 yards, he plunged into the end zone on two occasions, including the game- winner in the fourth quarter. Chris Pickett (13 tackles) and Mark Wilson (10 tackles) led the defensive effort with double-digit stops. Troy (5-3, 3-1 Sun Belt) will try to extend its winning streak to four games on Thursday night against ULM.

ULM: The Warhawks managed to pull even on the season following an impressive 38-10 home win over Georgia State. After suffering a quad tear a few weeks back that was expected to end his season, Kolton Browning returned to the field and was outstanding, completing 21-of-30 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 53 rushing yards for good measure. Tavarese Maye was Browning's top target on the day with seven receptions for 49 yards, while Je'Ron Hamm pulled down four balls for 77 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Centarius Donald led the rushing attack with 126 yards and a score on only eight carries. The defense stifled GSU, holding it to a mere 244 yards while registering four turnovers. ULM (4-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) will try to continue its ascent in the standings on Thursday night at Troy.

WESTERN KENTUCKY: The Hilltoppers used a late rally to remain in contention, but it wasn't enough to prevent them from losing their second straight game at home, falling to Troy in a 32-26 final. In outgaining the Trojans, 532-397, it was just another day at the office for Antonio Andrews, who racked up 292 all- purpose yards (144 rushing, 125 receiving, 23 kick return) and a touchdown, and the senior tailback continues to lead the nation in rushing with 1,180 yards. Brandon Doughty was busy, completing 29-of-45 passes for 387 yards, but while he went without an interception, he also failed to throw a touchdown pass. Despite moving the ball well, the WKU offense scored just two touchdowns, having to settle for five field goal attempts by Garrett Schwettman. The Hilltoppers (4-4, 1-3 Sun Belt) will try to end their current slide this Saturday at winless Georgia State.
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