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Three Things We Learned About Week Four Sun Belt Conference Football


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

1. Like Taylor Swift, we are never ever ever getting back together...

With the MAC for a non-conference game. Holy crap.

Arkansas State was an absolute hideous wreck against Toledo. They fumbled the kick return after Toledo's opening score, then punted, then managed to start a drive at the Toledo six yard line and come away with zero points. Their only touchdown was on a J.D. McKissic kickoff return for 92 yards. James Tabary completed his very first pass of the game for 36 yards, and after that he was 17-for-34 for 187 yards and three INTs. He had two of those interceptions occur in a span of three pass attempts. Oh, and he fumbled four times (though only one was recovered by Toledo.

Help us Fredi-wan, you're our only hope.

Meanwhile, South Alabama was an even more hideous train wreck against North Carolina State. I actually sat through the first three quarters of this one, on purpose, and was proud that I stayed until it was about to become 56-13. Cody Clements completed a 47-yard pass on the Jags opening play from scrimmage. He had two other completions of 35+ yards, yet he barely cracked 200 yards passing for the game. That touchdown drive turned out to be the highlight. Clements has now completed a mere 52% of his passes and looks worse now than he did playing at UAB.

Louisiana was either just as bad or worse against Akron, depending on your perspective. Turning first-and-goal at the Akron one yard line into zero points when they trailed only 14-7 didn't help matters, but letting the Zips open the second half by gaining 154 yards on only seven plays just finished off the follies. Brooks Haack looked bad, and Jalen Nixon wasn't any better. This lack of quarterback controversy is definitely not helpful heading into conference play.

2. Matter of fact, let's just never play out of conference

Texas State scored 14 points on the road, and yet did literally nothing right in their loss to Houston. I do mean literally. I fear for the safety of my assistant manager's liver and kidneys if the Bobcats keep playing like this (198 points allowed in four games).

Louisiana Monroe on the other hand... do I even need to talk about their game other than the fact that they played Alabama on the road? I think my favorite part of this game was the post-game press conference where Todd Berry threw his players under the bus. Essentially the biggest complaint he had was that the younger players, coming out of a bye, didn't handle the pressure of playing on the road at Alabama very well.

Are you serious? And how, exactly, does going for it on fourth and four from your own 26 yard line help that cause? Again, this is freaking Alabama you are playing. In Tuscaloosa. That play call would be a bad idea at home against Idaho.

To make matters worse, Rashon Ceaser is injured, and we don't know when he will be back but it won't be soon. So an offense that was already struggling features a list of dependable wide receiver options that includes... Ajalen Holley. That's it.


3. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State looked great, so there's that

Old Dominion fumbled on their 20th play from scrimmage, and the Mountaineers took it for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead. At that point the Monarchs had been out-gained 148-56 despite running only three fewer plays. That only got worse as App State ran 13 more plays for another 124 yards and two scores, while Old Dominion's best drive of the half involved stalling out at the 12 yard line and then missing a field goal. That was their highlight - either that or reaching the 12 one more time and getting no points again. This conference is quickly becoming a two team race.

Georgia Southern, meanwhile, let Idaho hang around for an entire half, in large part due to their cracking the Vandal 20-yard line three times (including a drive that started at the Idaho six yard line) and only coming away with nine points. The second half looked more like the right Eagles team, as they ran the ball at will. Literally.

Next week promises even more ugly football, so hang onto your hats, folks.