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Three things we learned about the Sun Belt in Week 3

Big wins for Arkansas State and Troy, a fun win for Coastal Carolina, and another devastating loss for Texas State

Troy v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

We begin this week with a special shout-out to Coastal Carolina. It’s not really a “thing we learned” because we already knew it, deep down: The Chanticleers are fearless.

You could make the argument that it was out of necessity, but Coastal Carolina playing even an FCS on four days rest is still pretty impressive. Where plenty of other schools opted to reschedule or cancel their games outright due to Hurricane Florence, CCU figured it would be a better idea to knock that game out with the storm just a few days out, leaving enough time to get players, staff, and fans home safely.

For their trouble, Campbell was able to still get paid for said game, and the Chanticleers not only knocked out a 58-21 win, but now have ten days rest before beginning conference play against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday the 22nd.

On to this week's learning curve:

The Red Wolves are playing the best football in the state of Arkansas

Where the Razorbacks had a record-setting bad day, losing to Conference USA’s North Texas 44-17 and committing six turnovers along the way, their in-state not-a-rival the Arkansas State Red Wolves were playing a road game in Tulsa. While in town, they spent the day beating up a team from the American.

Justice Hansen went 20/33 and threw for 191 yards while also leading the team in rushing with another 80 yards on 14 carries. And for the Red Wolves, this is nothing unusual either, already 2-1 on the season with a probable win over UNLV coming up next week.

Where the Razorbacks had an historically bad day, they still have to face Auburn next week, to say nothing of a full SEC schedule. Arkansas State, on the other hand, stands a good chance to not lose again until at least October, where Appalachian State awaits. When December rolls around, it’s looking more and more likely that the Red Wolves, not the Razorbacks, will finish with the better record this season.

Troy is good, y’all

Yeah, we knew Troy was good already, but after that season-opening smackdown vs. Boise, there was fear that maybe the Trojans had dropped off a bit?

Turns out, not at all. Sure, Nebraska hasn’t exactly been lighting it up the past couple of years, and it’s only Scott Frost’s first year, he needs some time to right the ship. But that should take nothing away from what Neal Brown and his Troy Trojans have accomplished. Bad season or not, this is a Big Ten team with Big Ten resources and Big Ten athletes.

On paper, Troy should not have won this game. The Cornhuskers were not only bigger and badder, they also led in first downs (22 vs. 12), total yards (364 to 253), and time of possession (32:54 to 27:06). The difference, along with some great coaching by Brown, was turnovers. Troy won that battle, 3-2, and was able to capitalize on Nebraska mistakes. You can read full details in our coverage here, but one thing is clear: Next week's opponent ULM should be nervous, and we’re looking forward to the opening of conference play almost as much as the Troy vs. Coastal Carolina match-up the week after.

Same ol’ Texas State

Texas State led most of the way, with the score board reading 17-3 after the first quarter and 20-16 at the half. Neither the Bobcats nor their opponent this week, South Alabama, really had much chance to showcase their talents yet this year as out of their four previous combined games, they faced three Power Five programs and FCS Texas Southern (a 36-20 win for the Bobcats).

As conference play opened, there was perhaps a glimmer of hope for Texas State fans, as they watched their team lead for three quarters in year three of Everett Withers. Maybe he’d turned it around? Was this the year the Bobcats turned that corner?

Well, for one thing, South Alabama is still really good, and has been a giant killer in recent years, taking out Mississippi State and San Diego State as recently as 2016, and going a nearly respectable 3-5 in conference play last year. But in spite of that, and taking that lead into the third quarter, the Jaguars scored 18 unanswered in the 4th, and that was that. For yet another year, it would appear, it’s gonna be a long season for the Bobcats.