Not much became clearer in Week 12 with regards to the Sun Belt title picture, but the weekend provided some exciting football, as always.
Coastal Carolina and Virginia were scheduled to play, but the game was ultimately cancelled as Virginia’s program attempts to heal from the tragic murder of three Cavalier football players earlier this month.
Louisiana were outplayed in Tallahassee against #19 Florida State. James Madison just barely beat Georgia State to keep the Panthers out of the postseason. Appalachian State cruised to a two-score win over Old Dominion. South Alabama and Texas State won closely contested games over Southern Miss and Arkansas State, respectively. Troy maintained control of the SBC West with a win over ULM. Finally, Marshall were firmly in control against Georgia Southern.
Here were the things that caught our attention in the penultimate week of the season.
Carlton Martial Discusses His Career Tackles Record
Troy had little trouble downing the ULM Warhawks this week by a score of 34-16. They achieved that feat without Carlton Martial, who broke the FBS career tackles record two weeks ago against Army. Per Jon Sumrall, Martial had a lower leg injury that kept him out of practice this week, but should be ready for Troy’s regular season finale against Arkansas State this week.
Martial joined CBS’ Jim Rome this week to discuss his collegiate achievements.
App State Are One Win Away From Being Bowl Eligible Again
The Mountaineers kept Old Dominion from scoring until there were seven minutes remaining in the game on Saturday. By that time, they had already built a lead that was insurmountable for the Monarchs. Chase Brice completed 15 passes on 21 attempts for two touchdowns and 291 yards. Ahmani Marshall also carried the ball 19 times for 137 yards and a touchdown.
App State totaled 498 yards of offense, including 291 through the air and 207 on the ground. It was the most total yards against a Sun Belt foe this year and the fifth time over 200 rushing yards this season.
For the fifth time this season, App State held the opposing offense to two touchdowns or less.
Shawn Clark’s squad have improved to 6-5 on the season. They need one more win to improve to 7-5, which will mark the eighth consecutive year that they have been bowl eligible. App State need a seventh win to be bowl eligible because two of their victories came against FCS programs. Clark dedicated the win to the Virginia football players who lost their lives in the aforementioned tragedy.
Plenty To Play For In The Last Week
Sometimes in football, the last week of the regular season can be something of a throwaway as the better teams save their best effort for the postseason and the lesser teams are depleted and playing for pride. That’s not the case with the last week of the Sun Belt regular season here.
Coastal Carolina already have the SBC East clinched. But, with the postseason-ineligible James Madison Dukes in town, JMU have the opportunity to pick up a win and get the same conference record as the Chants. That could be an interesting indicator of JMU’s potential as a Sun Belt member moving forward.
South Alabama and Troy have games against conference opponents where they are favored to win by multiple scores. Troy currently leads the SBC West with a head-to-head win over South Alabama, but they have the same conference record. If South Alabama win against Old Dominion and Troy somehow lose to Arkansas State, South Alabama are headed to the league title game.
Meanwhile, Southern Miss, Louisiana, Appalachian State, and Georgia Southern are all one win away from bowl eligibility with contests that Vegas predicts will be decided by a touchdown or less. Get your popcorn ready.