Welcome back to the weekly power rankings of the Sun Belt Conference.
Let’s dive into the action from this past week in the Sun Belt.
1. #20 App State (7-0) (4-0) No movement: The Mountaineers continue to roll through the conference, as they picked up another win this week over South Alabama in Mobile, 30-3. In the win, QB Zac Thomas threw for 132 yards with one score, while completing 16 of his 28 attempts.
To my surprise, the leader in rushing on the stat sheet was WR Raykwon Anderson, who had 4 carries for 99 yards and a TD. Junior WR Thomas Hennigan led the squad in receiving with 58 yards on 6 receptions with one TD.
The Mountaineers will have a short week, as they will conduct their annual rivalry with Georgia Southern on Halloween night this Thursday.
2. Louisiana (5-2) (2-1) No Movement: Louisiana is working through the front-end of their bye week in preparation for a match-up with Texas State this Saturday, November 2nd. Louisiana fans should feel good about this match-up.
The Cajuns will introduce the Bobcats to their stout running back core, along with the occasional shot down field form QB Levi Lewis. I would expect nothing less than a win this week from Louisiana.
3. Georgia State (6-2) (3-1) No Movement: GSU continues to prove themselves as they picked up another win over the Troy Trojans at home this week, 52-33. QB Dan Ellington continues to put up consistent numbers, as he went 18 of 25 through the air, with 189 yards and 2 TDs, while giving up an INT.
RB Tra Barnett led the team on the ground with 242 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns on 34 carries. WR Aubry Payne led the team in receiving with 51 yards on 2 receptions and one score.
The Panthers will have a bye-week this Saturday and will return to action on November 9th against ULM on the road.
4. Georgia Southern (4-3) (2-1) Up one from No. 5: The Eagles stepped out of conference this week to take on a struggling 0-7 New Mexico State team in the friendly confines of Paulson Stadium.
This was a game that the Eagle faithful have been longing for all season, a game in which Southern dominated statistically and on the scoreboard, winning 41-7. RB Wesley Kennedy III and J.D. King both put up big numbers. Kennedy rushed for 143 yards on 6 carries and 2 rushing TDs, while J.D. King also rushed for 143 yards on 19 carries with 2 TDs as well.
The Eagle’s defense was notable as well, as LB Rashad Byrd recorded a pick-six and CB Kindle Vildor also added an INT to the stat sheet. Although the Eagles dominated in this match-up, their attention must now turn to App State, who the Eagles will face in a highly anticipated match-up this Thursday night on national television.
5. Troy (3-4) (1-2) Down one from No. 4: The Trojans took a tough loss on the road this week at Georgia State, as they lost 52-33. The most surprising part of this loss to me is how productive QB Kaleb Barker was on offense, yet the Trojans still found a way to lose by 19 points.
Barker’s stats are as follows, 421 yards passing, yes you read that correctly, and completing 34 of his 45 attempts with 2 passing TDs. D.K. Billingsley led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 9 carries with 3 rushing TDs.
The Trojans defense is going to have to take it up a notch if it wants to become bowl eligible this season, as their offense can only do so much. Troy will be on the road this weekend at Coastal Carolina for a 3 pm kick-off.
6. Arkansas State (4-3) (2-2) No movement: Arkansas State found themselves back in the win column this weekend after a win over Texas State at home. In the win, QB Layne Hatcher recorded 158 yards through the air, completing 18 of his 28 attempts and found a receiver in the end-zone twice.
RB Marcel Murray led the Red Wolves in rushing with 114 yards and two TDs on 22 carries. WR Omar Bayless led the team in receiving with 77 yards on 7 receptions, while also recording 2 scores.
Arkansas State will look to continue this positive momentum into this week, as they will face ULM on the road for a 3:30 kick-off.
7. Coastal Carolina (3-4) (0-3) No movement: The Chanticleers are in the middle of their preparations for a home match-up with Troy this weekend that is scheduled to kick-off at 3 pm.
If Coastal’s defense shows up, there is a good chance that the Chanticleers can pick up their first conference win, as Troy has been struggling lately. Look for Coastal to rely on a combo of Bryce Carpenter and C.J. Marable to lead the offense and try to carve out a win against a struggling Troy defense, who allowed 579 yards of total offense against GSU this past weekend.
8. ULM (3-4) (2-1) No movement: I wanted to apologize to any ULM readers of this article. I incorrectly stated that ULM would be playing Arkansas State this past Saturday, October 26th, when in fact they had a bye-week and would not be playing until this coming Saturday, November 2nd.
With that said, ULM will need to rely on more than Caleb Evans’ arm to help the Warhawks win this upcoming match-up with a good Arkansas State offense coming into Monroe this weekend. Hopefully the extra time to prepare will be the difference maker in this game for ULM.
9. Texas State (2-5) (1-2) No Movement: Texas State took another loss this past weekend on the road at Arkansas State. This season looks to be another disappointment for the Bobcats, as I realistically see only one to two more winnable games left on their schedule.
However, the administration made a great hire in Jake Spavital and it will only be a matter of time until Texas State is a force to be reckoned with in the Sun Belt.
10. South Alabama (1-7) (0-4) No Movement: No one expected the Jags to win this game against a nationally ranked App State team coming into town, and this belief came to fruition, as South Alabama lost 30-3. It’s time for USA to start looking towards the future and what they can do to salvage their program that needs to find some success quickly.