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Three things we learned in the Sun Belt: Week 11

This title race is wide open.

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-South Alabama vs Air Force
Joey Jones and South Alabama find some Mobile magic once again.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It was another wild weekend in the Fun Belt and this conference continues to deliver great football and excellent storylines.

With only three weeks remaining, here’s what we’re taking away from this past weekend.


Anybody’s game

No conference in the entire FBS is more wide open than the Fun Belt as four teams in the league have one conference loss as we enter the last three weeks of the season.

Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia State, and Troy all have a shot at being the king of the Sun Belt in 2017. It’s been a wild season to this point and it looks like we’re set for a crazy ending.

To know one’s surprise, this conference’s big three (App State, Arkansas State, Troy) are at the top. However, not many people saw Georgia State having this kind of success in Shawn Elliott’s first season. The Panthers, after a slow start, are now sitting at 5-1 in Sun Belt play and are off this week before hosting Appalachian State on Thanksgiving Saturday for the biggest game in program history.

This is going to be a fun ending.

Mobile Magic

The reason there is a four-way tie for first place in the conference is because of what happened in Mobile. Entering Saturday as a double-digit underdog, the Jags pulled off some magic again as they upset Arkansas State.

South Alabama was limited to negative-three yards rushing, but turnovers and quarterback play came were the difference. The Jags forced six takeaways as they picked off Justice Hansen four times and recovered two fumbles. Cole Garvin, meanwhile, played the best game of his career as he tossed for 343 yards on 45 attempts with two touchdowns.

For the second year in a row, the Red Wolves dropped a road game in November as a big favorite that will cost them an undefeated record in conference play. This is now South Alabama’s fifth upset as a double-digit underdog in the last three seasons.

The Jags are giant killers, but they’ll need to win out to secure bowl eligibility in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

Mountaineers bounce back

It wasn’t pretty, but App State got back to physical football as they dominated Georgia Southern on Thursday night. The Mountaineers ran for 256 yards and held the triple option attack to only 111 rushing yards in the 27-6 home victory.

This performance is one we thought we’d see from App State all season as they leaned on their defense and ground game. Taylor Lamb was very efficient in the cold weather as two of his seven completions went for touchdowns. The defense, meanwhile, was in cruise control all night as they held the Eagles to 191 total yards.

This was a nice morale boosting win for App State as they’ll now enter an open week before the huge matchup with Georgia State in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Saturday.