1. Troy (Last Week: 1)
Last week: Won 12-7 vs. Texas St.; This week’s game: Saturday at Appalachian St.
No touchdowns, no worries, right?
The Trojan defense forced six turnovers to keep the Bobcats from stealing an upset on a day the offense just didn’t have it.
They better find it. Fast.
Go ahead and call Saturday’s game the official Sun Belt East Championship. The Trojan offense needs to find some traction to have a shot.
2. Appalachian State (LW: 2)
Last week: Won 45-17 vs. Georgia St.; This week’s game: Saturday vs. Troy
The opening drive of the second half, capped off by a one-yard Zac Thomas touchdown run increased the Mountaineer lead.
A Desmond Franklin pick-six on Georgia State’s following possession all but put this one away.
Someone bring a decibel meter to Boone on Saturday.
Their showdown with the Trojans will be for the right to not only play in but host the conference championship.
3. Georgia Southern (LW: 3)
Last week: Won 41-17 at Coastal Carolina; This week’s game: Saturday at Georgia St.
That felt better.
The Eagles halt a two-game losing streak on the back of 409 yards rushing for the option attack.
The defense holding the Chanticleers under 200 total yards from scrimmage gave the Eagles plenty of solid field position all day.
No title game possible for GS despite the sterling season, but a chance to beat up on in-state rival Georgia State is not a bad consolation prize.
4. Louisiana (LW: 5)
Last week: Won 48-38 vs. South Alabama; This week’s game: Saturday at UL Monroe
Elijah Mitchell has been a star this season.
The sophomore put up 104 yards and three touchdown runs on only 12 carries on Saturday. Fellow backfielder Trey Ragas is only a sophomore as well. Lots of talent for years to come in Lafayette.
Junior Ja’Marcus Bradley scoring all three times he caught the ball was impressive as well.
Louisiana will need all of these weapons Saturday. Win, and they will head to the inaugural title game.
5. Arkansas State (LW: 6)
Last week: Won 31-17 vs. UL Monroe; This week’s game: Saturday at Texas St.
It was not the 67-50 video game that was last year’s contest, but it was another huge win for stAte down the stretch of this season.
Ronheen Bingham registering 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, as well as a pair of interceptions (and one pick-six) for Justin Clifton provided the needed defensive lift.
The Red Wolves need to fend off a much feistier-looking group of Bobcats and then become big Warhawk fans and hope for a UL Monroe victory to advance.
6. UL Monroe (LW: 4)
Last week: Lost 31-17 at Arkansas St.; This week’s game: Saturday vs. Louisiana
The ground game was held to 58 yards and Caleb Evans threw three interceptions to ground Monroe.
Destiny no longer sits with the Warhawks.
They will need a win against the rival Cajuns and an Arkansas State loss to the Bobcats to get to the Dec. 1 championship game.
7. Coastal Carolina (LW: 7)
Last week: Lost 41-17 vs. Georgia Southern; This week’s game: Friday at South Alabama
So much for trying to jump on the Eagles when they are down.
The offense started well, jumping out with 10 points and 132 yards in their first two drives. The rest of the day? Only seven points and 57 yards on the final 10 possessions.
A Black Friday win would mean the brightest day for the Chanticleers in earning their first dose of bowl eligibility.
8. Texas State (LW: 8)
Last week: Lost 12-7 at Troy; This week’s game: Saturday vs. Arkansas St.
What else is a defense to do?
The Bobcats held the top team in the conference without a touchdown, watched their offense make six turnovers and still kept the team in the game until the bitter end.
With Everett Withers now officially out the door, the last game of the season will be interesting to see if the players are rallied to show up.
If they do, they could ruin stAte’s season.
9. Georgia State (LW: 9)
Last week: Lost 45-17 at Appalachian St.; This week’s game: Saturday vs. Georgia Southern
Dan Ellington can put up numbers.
He threw for 132 yards and ran for another 113 in Saturday’s loss to Appalachian State.
The Panthers will need more on Saturday.
An otherwise underwhelming regular season will feel a whole lot better if they can dismiss the Eagles.
10. South Alabama (LW: 10)
Last week: Lost 48-38 at Louisiana; This week’s game: Friday vs. Coastal Carolina
Give senior Cole Garvin and the Jaguar offense some love for the best offensive showing this season.
Garvin racked up over 300 yards of total offense and a couple scores to keep South Alabama competitive.
They out-gained the Cajun offense, but a few costly turnovers were the difference.
One last chance to break out of the basement Friday against Coastal.