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Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week Seven

ULM is a contender.

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Memphis
Evans had another impressive performance on Saturday.
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Week six was a great one as we had a slate full of conference games and we got to see our first edition of hump day football this year.

We saw App State get a really nice win and ULM continues to impress in Matt Viator’s second season. The bottom of the league is starting to take shape as the top remains the same.

Here’s how the league sits after the first weekend in October.

1.) Troy Trojans (4-1, Idle)

Last Week: 1

Troy had this past Saturday off as they get ready for a Wednesday night game with South Alabama. ESPN will be in town for the Battle for the Belt and it should be a crazy atmosphere at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Troy leads the all-time series by a count of 3-2 and will be a heavy favorite to knock off a South Alabama squad that is struggling.

2.) Appalachian State Mountaineers (3-2, beat New Mexico State 45-31)

Last Week: 2

The App State rushing attack came alive on Saturday afternoon as the Mountaineers collected 350 yards on the ground as Jalin Moore finally broke out of his slump. The junior had rushed for 136 in four games entering Saturday, but he finally got loose as he posted 241 yards on 19 carries. App State would drop four touchdowns in the fourth quarter as they pulled away from NMSU. The defense was able to pick off Tyler Rogers six times and Saturday’s win was their most impressive game of the season.

3.) Arkansas State Red Wolves (2-2, won at Georgia Southern 43-25)

Last Week: 3

The Red Wolves got the win at Georgia Southern, but Blake Anderson’s squad did not play very well. Justice Hansen threw four interceptions and only completed 12 passes on the night. However, four of those did go for scores as Arkansas State hurt Georgia Southern with the deep ball. The defense still has some major issues and we’ll see if the long week can result in improvement as the Red Wolves host Coastal Carolina this weekend.

4.) New Mexico State Aggies (2-4, lost at Appalachian State 31-45)

Last Week: 4

It was another impressive offensive performance by the Aggies, but their run defense was exposed against App State and the defense has played really poorly the last two weeks. Rogers continues to post huge numbers, but his interceptions haunted NMSU in Boone. The Aggies travel to Statesboro this week in what is a near must win game if NMSU is going to get to the postseason.

5.) ULM Warhawks (3-2, won at Texas State 45-27)

Last Week: 5

Caleb Evans had another monster game as he passed for 433 yards and three touchdowns as the ULM offense had another monster performance. The sophomore has been responsible for 14 touchdowns on the season and is emerging as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. The defense continues to give up points, but the offense has been really, really good since league play started. The Warhawks have a chance to get off to a 4-0 Sun Belt start when they host Georgia State on Saturday.

6.) UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (2-3, won at Idaho 21-16)

Last Week: 10

The Cajuns were our biggest movers of the week as their defense came alive in Moscow. UL-Lafayette was able to hold Idaho to 279 total yards and the Vandals were only able to score one touchdown. The offense did just enough and now Mark Hudspeth’s squad has some momentum going into a home contest against Texas State.

7.) Idaho Vandals (2-3, lost to UL-Lafayette 16-21)

Last Week: 6

Idaho dropped in our rankings for the third week in a row as Paul Petrino’s team appears to be trending in the wrong direction. The offense has been a huge disappointment as senior quarterback Matt Linehan has been very average this season. The Vandals have a huge opportunity on Saturday when they host Appalachian State.

8.) Georgia State Panthers (2-2, won at Coastal Carolina 27-21)

Last Week: 9

The Panthers have been playing good football since the embarrassing loss to Tennessee State to the open the year and Shawn Elliott’s squad picked up their second road win of the season. Penny Hart had his second consecutive 100+ yard receiving outing and the Panthers are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. We’ll find a lot about Georgia State this weekend as they hit the road to take on a very hot ULM squad.

9.) South Alabama Jaguars (1-4, Idle)

Last Week: 8

The Jags had the week off and on Wednesday they’ll be traveling to Troy to take on the Trojans. This is a big game for Joey Jones as the Jags will be looking to even the series with the Trojans. The schedule is a lot more manageable for South moving forward, but there is no question Jones desperately needs some big wins in the second half of the season.

10.) Texas State Bobcats (1-5, lost to ULM 27-45)

Last Week: 7

Texas State’s slide continues as they dropped their fifth game in a row as they were smashed by ULM at home. The bottom has fallen out for their defense and the offense just has not been doing enough to keep them in games. Things are beginning to get ugly as Everett Withers is now 3-15 as the head coach in San Marcos.

11.) Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (1-4, lost to Georgia State 21-27)

Last Week: 11

The Chants lost their third one possession game of the season as they are taking their lumps in their first season as an FBS program. Tyler Keane threw for three touchdowns and played very well for the second week in a row. However, the running game has fallen on its face and this has stunted this offense’s growth. The defense is playing a ton of young players and the Chants are not getting stops. They head to Jonesboro on Saturday and they’ll need a special effort to have a chance at the upset.

12.) Georgia Southern Eagles (0-4, lost to Arkansas State 25-43)

Last Week: 12

Southern’s offense flashed signs of life for the first time this season, but the defense gave up way too many big plays that took the Eagles out of the game against Arkansas State. Shai Werts is getting better, but turnovers remain a huge issue. Southern is back at home this Saturday when they host New Mexico State.