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Three things we learned from the Sun Belt in Week 9

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Turns out the ranked team wasn’t the best the Sun Belt had to offer after all, and the state of Louisiana takes control of the West

Appalachian State v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Georgia Southern controls its own destiny

Statistically, Appalachian State seemed to have this week’s game in the bag; they took their toughest opponent to overtime early in the season, while Georgia Southern suffered a definitive blowout to Clemson.

And yet... and yet this is why we play the game. All bets are off after kickoff, and as the Mountaineers saw their star QB fall to injury early, the Eagles took control of the Sun Belt East with their 34-14 dismantling of Appalachian State.

Georgia Southern is now 7-1 (4-0), tied atop their division with Troy (6-2, 4-0). Those two will meet up in Statesboro on Nov. 10, as the Mountaineers can only look on helplessly. Meanwhile, Appalachian State dropped out of the Top 25 after only a week, and the Eagles are threatening to take their place, picking up 62 votes in the AP Poll this week, with only Washington and Northwestern standing between them and becoming the second ranked Sun Belt team this season.

UL-Lafayette QB Andre Nunez will not be stopped

Through nine weeks, no quarterback in the conference has put up more yards than Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen.

But this week we saw the Ragin’ Cajuns knock off the Red Wolves, 47-43, and Cajun QB Andre Nunez outperformed Hansen, 295 yards to 270 yards, while averaging 11.3 yards a pass and throwing two touchdowns.

On the season, Nunez is now averaging 8.6 yards per pass attempt, and boasts a 157.8 QB rating, second only to Troy’s Kaleb Barker heading into the final month of the season. Thanks in no small part to Nunez, Louisiana now suddenly finds themselves atop the Sun Belt West, and like Georgia Southern, are also in control of their own fate.

The battle for the West will be decided in Louisiana

Thanks to Nunez and the staunch Ragin’ Cajuns defense, along with a strong running game, Louisiana does indeed find themselves atop the Sun Belt West, tied with a very familiar— and local— opponent.

Where the Cajuns now control their own destiny at 4-4 (2-2), the Warhawks of ULM sit right beside them, also at 4-4 (2-2). Both a full game ahead of the Red Wolves (1-3 in conference), it comes down to the local Louisiana talent, two teams who won’t be facing off until the final game of the season.

In the meantime, the Cajuns face a difficult challenge next week against Troy, and the Warhawks will face no small challenge either, as they host Georgia Southern. Both squads do indeed have their work cut out for them, but for this week, both teams from Louisiana sit atop the West, having stiff-armed the division and given fans a reason to be even more optimistic for 2019.