It was another crazy weekend with some upsets and close calls. Currently, there are four teams with one loss or less in Sun Belt action so this conference race is still wide open. It should be a wild last four weeks of the season as we figure out who is king in 2017.
There were a lot of storylines from this past Saturday, but here are the ones worth mentioning.
Problems are real in Boone
For the second week in a row, App State hit the road and suffered an upset. This week, it happened in Monroe as the Warhawks outlasted the Mountaineers in a shootout.
After taking the lead with under a minute left on a Taylor Lamb touchdown pass to Ike Lewis, the Warhawks would score just a few plays later when Caleb Evans connected with RJ Turner for a 50-yard score.
The ground game continues to struggle as App State only ran for 169 yards against one of the worst rush defenses in the country. Now the problems have creeped to the other side of the football as ULM rolled up 569 yards of total offense and dropped a 50-burger on the Mountaineers.
Senior quarterback Taylor Lamb has been awesome for App State this season but at this point he is not getting much help. The defense has fallen apart and are really no help unless they are getting turnovers. The ground game has brutally underperformed all season.
The Mountaineers are still in line for another conference title, but if they don’t fix these problems quickly that will go out the window.
UL-Lafayette’s bowl hopes are still alive
Entering 2017, Mark Hudspeth had taken the Ragin’ Cajuns to bowl games in five of his six seasons and this was a big reason why he was the highest paid coach in the league. But we all knew it was going to be hard for the Cajuns to get back to the postseason as they were breaking in a new quarterback, had two freshmen running backs, a new offensive coordinator, and a brutal schedule.
Saturday was a must win if the Cajuns were going to become bowl eligible and they pulled it off.
UL-Lafayette knocked South Alabama off in Mobile by a score of 19-14 on Saturday behind freshman quarterback Levi Lewis. Lewis provided a run element behind center that was much needed as he led the team with 129 rushing yards. It was another impressive performance by the defense after a brutal start to the season where they gave up at least 45 points in their first four games.
The Cajuns will take on their second SEC opponent of the season on Saturday, but after that the slate is very manageable. UL-Lafayette gets New Mexico State, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State to close the season. A six-win season is definitely a real possibility.
Coastal Carolina keeps fighting
It’s been a rough year for the Chants, but they have not quit. This past weekend Coastal took Arkansas to the wire in Fayetteville where the Hogs would need two fourth quarter touchdowns to erase a 13-point deficit.
Head coach Jamey Chadwell used two quarterbacks as both Kilton Anderson and Tyler Keane received snaps. The duo combined to throw three touchdowns. The ground game struggled, but the Hogs had no answers for receivers Chris Jones and Malcolm Williams.
The defense continues to get blasted but this team keeps fighting. With remaining games against Idaho and Georgia Southern, the chance for their first Sun Belt victory is still there.