Texas State is not the worst team in the conference
On the same day UTEP battled Rice over in Conference USA, the Sun Belt was having its own “Battle for the Basement.”
The Texas State Bobcats traveled to Atlanta to face the Georgia State Panthers, with the two teams currently occupying last place in each of the Sun Belt divisions. Despite a late surge from the Panthers (who scored 21 points in the 4th quarter), the Bobcats came away with the decisive 40-31 victory.
Willie Jones III had a great day, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns, as the Bobcats came together and proved they’re not a lose cause yet. You can read our game recap here.
The Panthers, meanwhile, fall to 2-7 (1-4), and despite amassing 445 yards of offense, will have their final three games against a murderer’s row — Louisiana-Lafayette, at Appalachian State, then finishing the season against Georgia Southern. It looks like fans will have to wait until 2019 to see if Shawn Elliott can turn it around, but so far there have been not many bright spots in 2018 for the Panthers.
A hero rises in the West
The Georgia Southern Eagles received a rude awakening on Saturday. Just one week after defeating Appalachian State and garnering 62 votes in the AP Poll, the Eagles rolled into Monroe and were soundly defeated by the ULM Warhawks, 44-25.
The Warhawks have been a mixed bag this year, defeating Coastal Carolina and C-USA’s Southern Miss, but also having the distinction of being one of two teams to lose to Georgia State. We have no idea what Matt Viator has been telling his team at practices, but it’s paying off in dividends.
Georgia Southern was utterly dismantled, as the Warhawks held the Eagles to only 138 yards rushing, and QB Shai Werts to an abysmal 78 yards passing. That 216 yards of offense paled in comparison to ULM’s 236 yards on the ground, and 337 passing yards from a possessed Caleb Evans, who averaged 15.3 yards per pass and two touchdowns, in spite of two interceptions. For more in-depth analysis, find the game recap here.
At 5-4 (3-2), the Warhawks are in sole possession of the Sun Belt West, and are the only team in the division with a winning conference record. If they can remain consistent and win their showdown against the Red Wolves in two weeks, the division may already be theirs before they face the Ragin’ Cajuns in the season finale.
The East may not be decided until the final week
With the Georgia Southern Eagles falling to ULM, the Troy Trojans suddenly find themselves in sole possession of first place in the East.
The Trojans are 7-2 (5-0), and the final stretch will not be easy— their final three games will be at Georgia Southern, Texas State at home, then on the road again to face Appalachian State.
Troy has been a strong team overall this season, with wins over Nebraska and the current leader in the West, ULM. But the Mountaineers and Eagles are arguably the toughest opponents Troy has faced all season. With those two teams now at 4-1 in conference, it may all come down to the very last week, not just in the East, but for the very first Sun Belt title card, and who gets to host.