Sun Belt Conference News and Notes

Published November 25, 2013

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ARKANSAS STATE: Although it didn't come as easily as they might have hoped at home against a winless Georgia State squad, the Red Wolves escaped with a 35-33 win to extend their winning streak to four games. Down by one late in the third quarter, Michael Gordon scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown, a score which salvaged an otherwise lackluster afternoon (17 carries, 46 yards, TD). The rushing attack as a whole was bottled up to the tune of 138 yards on 45 carries (3.1 ypc), with quarterback Adam Kennedy leading the way with 77 yards. Kennedy was also efficient in his limited opportunities, completing 14-of-19 tosses for 152 yards with two touchdowns. Arkansas State (7-4, 5-1 Sun Belt) was able to overcome a mediocre offensive outing with strong defense and special teams. Sterling Young recovered a fumble and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, and less than three minutes later Raziel Valgis recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown. ASU, still a game behind Louisiana for first place, wraps up the regular season this Saturday at Western Kentucky

GEORGIA STATE: The Panthers very nearly came away with their first win of the season on the road against a strong Arkansas State squad, although it ultimately fell on the wrong side of a 35-33 final. Albert Wilson almost single-handedly lifted his team to victory with an outstanding afternoon. Not only did he catches seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, but he made the most of his two carries by amassing 104 yards and another score. Ronnie Bell completed 13-of-25 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions, although he was sacked four times. Kelton Hill completed his only pass for a 70-yard touchdown to Wilson, and he was also on the receiving end of Bell's scoring strike from 17 yards out. Georgia State (0-11, 0-6 Sun Belt) has just one last opportunity to avoid a winless season, as it plays host to South Alabama on Saturday afternoon.

LOUISIANA: The Ragin' Cajuns (8-2, 5-0 Sun Belt) remained alone in first place during their bye week. They have two games left to clinch the conference championship, the first being at home against ULM this week, followed by a road clash at South Alabama on Dec. 7.

TEXAS STATE: On Senior Night, the Bobcats suffered a disappointing 38-7 setback to the visiting Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 38-7. Tyler Arndt earned the start under center, but he was dreadful in limited action as he completed just 1-of-5 passes for five yards while throwing three interceptions. He was replaced by Tyler Jones, who was at least able to move the ball for 104 yards and a touchdown, but he still only completed 14-of-25 passes and threw a pick. Bradley Miller caught seven balls for 52 passes, and Brandon Smith (two receptions, 11 yards) caught the lone touchdown. The rushing attack, which gains nearly 166 yards per game, was bottled up by WKU to the tune of just 21 yards on 29 carries. Texas State (6-5, 2-4 Sun Belt) will close out the season on the road this Friday at Troy.

SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars managed to snap a three-game losing streak with an impressive road win over ULM, 36-14. Ross Metheny was the catalyst in the victory, as not only did he complete 15-of-26 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns, but he also made a lasting impact on the ground with 128 rushing yards, including a 63-yard scoring scamper late in the fourth quarter to put a stamp on the victory. Shavarez Smith (three receptions, 90 yards), Jereme Jones (four receptions, 41 yards) and Ryan Onkka (one receptions, two yards) were all on the receiving end of Metheny scoring strikes. The defense, which held ULM to just 274 yards, put pressure on ULM quarterback Kolton Browning all game long and finished with a staggering nine sacks. Montavious Williams and Pat Moore both registered 2.5 sacks. South Alabama (4-6, 2-3 Sun Belt) will travel to Georgia State on Saturday afternoon, before ending the season on Dec. 7 at home against first-place Louisiana.

TROY: The Trojans (5-6, 3-3 Sun Belt) were idle over the weekend, and will have their final opportunity to become bowl eligible in their season finale at home versus Texas State this Friday.

ULM: The Warhawks dropped their second consecutive game in disappointing fashion, as they were easily handled by the visiting South Alabama Jaguars over the weekend, 36-14. The offense only managed to muster up 274 yards, with Kolton Browning completing 18-of-26 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, and while he went without a turnover, he was sacked a whopping nine times. Browning also accounted for 22 rushing yards and a score, but it took him 23 carries to get there. Rashon Ceaser was outstanding out wide with nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown, and he now has at least 100 yards receiving and a score in three straight games after not accomplishing either feat during the first eight. ULM (5-6, 3-3 Sun Belt) has just one chance left to become bowl eligible, as it travels to Louisiana for the regular-season finale this Saturday night.

WESTERN KENTUCKY: The Hilltoppers used an explosive rushing attack to lead them to a convincing road victory over Texas State, 38-7, for their third straight win. As usual, they were paced by the efforts of Antonio Andrews, who finished with 21 carries for 204 yards and three touchdowns, and the nation's second-leading rusher (1,611 yards) has now run for at least 99 yards in every game this season. Leon Allen (11 carries, 53 yards, TD) and Anthony Wales (five carries, 46 yards, TD) also saw work out of the backfield in the blowout victory. Brandon Doughty completed 20-of-32 passes for 152 yards, with Willie McNeal (six receptions, 37 yards) serving as his most active receiver. The defense was also outstanding in the triumph, as the unit forced five turnovers and held Texas State to a meager 21 rushing yards. WKU (7-4, 3-3 Sun Belt) will try to further improve its bowl resume' in Saturday's finale against visiting Arkansas State.

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