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3 Things we learned from the Sun Belt: Week 5

Coastal ‘O’, App takes the East lead and a new passing Layne

Appalachian State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

So let’s go down this wormhole, shall we?

Sept. 21: Appalachian State 34, UNC 31.

Sept. 28: UNC loses by one against top-ranked, defensing champion Clemson. App State wins to remain undefeated.

Movement in polls: Up 26 points in AP Poll. Up 1 point in Coaches Poll. No ranking. Not yet.

I understand the transitive property of victories and near-victories is not the bets way to go about promoting your team, but it does not bode well for App State fans with shiny dreams of being the top Group of 5 team.

The good news? App gets a shot at the SEC’s South Carolina to bolster that resume.

Until then, let’s hope poll voters can find some games in Boone soon.

3. Coastal O impressive in L

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Coastal Carolina at Kansas Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Putting up 63 points a week ago against UMass was a nice number, but the opponent’s ineptitude put a rather large asterisk on Coastal’s performance.

Despite the loss to the Mountaineers, tip of the hat to the Chanticleer offense for staying with the high-octane App State machine for much of the game.

The offense had 393 total yards, accounted for 37 points and the Mountaineer first team offense on the field at all times to ensure victory.

Sophomore quarterback Fred Payton, aside from a costly pick-six down the stretch, was impressive going 20-for-31, 240 yards and two scores through the air and another two rushing touchdowns. CJ Marable went for 95 yards and a score on the ground as well.

Yes, it was a loss.

But this offense has to have plenty of reason to think that if they continue to play like this, more W’s will follow.

2. Has App State already won the East?

Appalachian State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Too soon?


Maybe not?

As you are garnering from the previous item, the App State offense looked flat out unstoppable on Saturday.

With Corey Sutton back from suspension, this team is downright dangerous (and as alluded to even earlier in this piece, the type of Top-25 dangerous, I believe.

To make a great Saturday even greater, the action in and around Sun Belt play now has the Mountaineers as the lone 1-0 squad. Everyone else lost their conference opener.

Coaches will tell the players that it’s just one game, sure. But to try and dethrone the king, it has to be an extra mental hurdle to see them sitting atop the Sun Belt East, by themselves... in September.

Plenty of football to go, Sun Belt East team. Have heart. Be brave.

1. Hatcher of Hope

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 17 Cure Bowl - UCF v Arkansas State Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the conference leader in passing goes down, there is reason to worry.

When you’re Arkansas State, you just trot out the next Sun Belt All First Team quarterback nominee, apparently.

Layne Hatcher stepped into his first start in a Red Wolves uniform Saturday, replacing Logan Bonner, who is out for the rest of the season.

Enter: Hatcher.

It went well.

The transfer threw for 440 yards and four touchdowns en route to helping stAte put up 50 points on the Trojans in a key conference win.

He hit Omar Bayless on a 92-yard score on his first play from scrimmage and never looked back.

Speaking of Bayless, what a special September. The wideout caught 10 balls for 213 yards and that score. For the month, he had 36 catches (5th in FBS), 689 yards (tops in FBS) and seven touchdowns (5th in FBS).

Two late interceptions nearly proved costly, but Hatcher looked plenty poised all afternoon long. This bodes well for an Arkansas State offense that seems to be humming along through the air.

It was a big win in the biggest Sun Belt game of the week. The biggest win might have been the peace of mind coming from knowing the Red Wolves backup may not skip a beat as the starter.