This past weekend was one of the craziest in the college football world in quite some time, and the Sun Belt was no different. We saw the top team get shocked at home, the second best steal one on the road, and the hottest team in the league was thumped in their backyard.
We had to do some shuffling, but it’s starting to become very clear that the conference crown is Appalachian State’s to lose. Could we see another monster upset as the season moves along?
1.) Appalachian State Mountaineers (4-2, won at Idaho 23-20)
Last Week: 2
For the second consecutive road game, the Mountaineers barely escaped with a victory. After being outplayed by Texas State a few weeks ago, Scott Satterfield’s club was outplayed by Idaho. However, in the end, App State made just enough plays as they scored 23 unanswered points to close the game. The Mountaineers only had 276 yards of total offense but it was the play of the defense that saved the day. Senior linebacker Eric Boggs came up huge for App State as he had six tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack, and a fumble recovery.
2.) Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-2, beat Coastal Carolina 51-17)
Last Week: 3
Arkansas State’s high-octane offense continued on Saturday as the Red Wolves dropped a 50 burger on the newest Sun Belt member. Justice Hansen threw for five touchdowns in the blowout win as the Red Wolves rolled up 475 yards of total offense. The defense still gave up a ton of yards, but they were able to get some timely stops.
3.) Troy Trojans (4-2, lost to South Alabama 8-19)
Last Week: 1
How did we not see this letdown coming a mile away? The Trojans crashed down to earth in embarrassing fashion as they lost to their heated rivals from Mobile. The Trojans only ran for 30 yards and coughed up four turnovers that ruined numerous scoring opportunities. The defense continues to play well, but with running back Jordan Chunn likely to miss some time this passing game needs to step up the production.
4.) New Mexico State Aggies (3-4, won at Georgia Southern 35-27)
Last Week: 4
The Aggies picked up their second road win of the season as they went to Statesboro and knocked off the winless Eagles. After a shootout broke out in the first half, NMSU held Georgia Southern to only three points in the second half as their offense rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense. Tyler Rogers threw for over 300 yards for the sixth time this season but interceptions remain an issue. The Aggies now enter a much needed bye week.
5.) South Alabama Jaguars (2-4, won at Troy 19-8)
Last Week: 9
We should honestly expect it at this point, but for the third consecutive season the Jags went on the road and pulled off a huge upset. South Alabama dominated the Trojans and a lot of that credit goes to defensive coordinator Kane Wommack. The Jags produced four takeaways and held their opponent to 299 yards of total offense. This offense still has major issues, but this could be a season changing win.
6.) Georgia State Panthers (3-2, won at ULM 47-37)
Last Week: 8
The Panthers picked up their third consecutive win away from home as their offense set all kinds of school records against ULM. Conner Manning threw for over 400 yards and the Georgia State ground game had over 200 yards rushing. The defense got lit up in the second half, but overall that was an impressive win for Shawn Elliott. Now the Panthers return home and will be hosting Troy in Georgia State Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Can they get back-to-back big wins?
7.) ULM Warhawks (3-3, lost to Georgia State 37-47)
Last Week: 6
After the 3-0 start in conference play, the Warhawks laid an egg as their defense was absolutely shredded by Georgia State. A quarterback change in the second half gave ULM a spark, but otherwise this was a total beatdown. The defense has a ton of holes that coordinator Mike Collins must get fixed as the Warhawks hit the road to take on South Alabama this Saturday.
8.) UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (3-3, beat Texas State 24-7)
Last Week: 7
Andre Nunez got the start at quarterback and played pretty well, throwing for 232 yards and one score. Freshman running back Trey Ragas continues his strong play as he scored two touchdowns on the ground. The story of this one, however, is the improved play of the defense as they held their second consecutive opponent under 20 points. This defense, however, will be seriously tested when they head to Arkansas State this week.
9.) Idaho Vandals (2-4, lost to Appalachian State 20-23)
Last Week: 7
It was a heartbreaking loss for Idaho at the Kibbie Dome as the Vandals blew a 20-point lead in the loss to Appalachian State. It was an excellent effort by their defense and Aaron Duckworth ran for over 100 yards for the second time this season. It’s becoming highly unlikely that the Vandals will make another bowl appearance.
10.) Texas State Bobcats (1-6, lost at UL-Lafayette 7-24)
Last Week: 10
The Bobcats have now lost six consecutive games as Everett Withers is now 3-16 as the head coach in San Marcos. The defense has been improved this season, but the offense is really struggling. The Bobcats made the move to true freshman Willie Jones III at quarterback and the young guy played pretty well. Texas State gets a much needed bye week before hosting a very winnable game against Coastal Carolina on October 28th.
11.) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (1-5, lost at Arkansas State 17-51)
Last Week: 11
The Chants are really struggling at the moment as they gave more than 50 points for the third time this season. The defense is sputtering but the offense is showing signs of life. Coastal’s passing attack is starting to get it going a bit and it was a great sign that Osharmar Abercrombie recorded his first 100-yard rushing game since the opener. The schedule continues to be brutal as the Chants will be heading to Appalachian State this weekend.
12.) Georgia Southern Eagles (0-5, lost to New Mexico State 27-35)
Last Week: 12
Georgia Southern’s winless season continues as the Eagles dropped a winnable home game to New Mexico State. Now it appears Shai Werts could be out this weekend as Georgia Southern heads to UMass. The defense has been the biggest disappointment as the Eagles have given up over 30 points to each team they’ve faced. It’s going to be a long year for Tyson Summers.