Welcome back to the Week 10 addition of the Sun Belt power rankings.
1. App State (7-1) (4-1) No Movement: Well, it finally happened, App State is undefeated no more. Many thought that App would continue to roll through the Sun Belt east on their way to the Cotton Bowl, but enter Georgia Southern on a cold and snowy night in Boone, and those dreams of an access bowl slipped away faster than the wind whipping through the mountain air.
Even though App lost, I still think they deserve the number one spot this week. In this loss, QB Zac Thomas was still able to put up 271 yards through the air and find a receiver in the end-zone three separate times. RB Darrynton Evans led the team in rushing with 76 yards on 17 carries. WR Malik Williams led the ‘Neers in receiving with 89 yards on 8 receptions.
App still has plenty to play for this season. With the east division on the line, App’s showdown with GA State next weekend will play a big role in determining the east division champion. However, App will be on the road this week for a big test against SEC foe South Carolina.
2. Louisiana (6-2) (3-1) No Movement: Louisiana was back in action this week and added another win to their record against western division foe Texas State. It seems like a different running back takes control over the offense each week and this week it was Elijah Mitchell. Mitchell had 126 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. QB Levi Lewis contributed as well, with 183 yards through the air and two touchdowns through the air.
Louisiana’s offensive fire-power is proving to be too much to handle for the western division and if they continue to go on the path they’ve been down so far, they’ve all but secured a spot for themselves in the Sun Belt title game this season. Louisiana will be on the road this Thursday for a cross-divisional tilt with Coastal Carolina.
3. Georgia Southern (5-3) (3-1) Up one from No. 4: The Eagles picked up a huge win this past Thursday night against their arch-rival App State in Boone. This game was significant in two ways, the first reason being that this is the first time that Southern has beaten App in Boone since 2007, and the second reason being that the race for the eastern division is beginning to narrow.
The Eagles’ run defense was outstanding, as they held the Mountaineers to 152 yards rushing. RB Wesley Kennedy III also continues to prove that he is the difference maker for the Eagle rushing attack. Kennedy had 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries. QB Shai Werts also helped in the effort, adding a score to the stat sheet and toting the rock for 83 yards on 13 carries.
The Eagles will need to win the remainder of their schedule to have a shot of claiming a spot in the conference title game, and it won’t be an easy task with Troy, Georgia State, Arkansas State, and ULM still left to play. Georgia Southern will be on the road this week at Troy for a 2:30 CT kick.
4. Georgia State (6-2) (3-1) Down one from No. 3: The Panthers are coming off of their bye-week in preparation for a road-trip to Monroe, Louisiana to take on the Warhawks of ULM. ULM should stay weary of dual-threat QB Dan Ellington, as he is the cornerstone of the Panther offense. The Panthers must win this game, and every game for that matter, for the remainder of the season to keep their shot of a conference championship spot alive.
5. Arkansas State (5-4) (3-2) Up one from No. 6: Arkansas State built off of their momentum sustained last week in a win over Texas State, as they picked up another win this week over divisional rival ULM on the road.
QB Layne Hatcher had 307 yards through the air, completing 21 of his 28 attempts, while finding a receiver in the end-zone twice. RB Marcel Murray stood out this week for the Red Wolves on the ground, as he had 175 yards and 3 touch-downs on 24 carries. As usual, WR Omar Bayless led the team in receiving with 98 yards and one score on 6 receptions. Arkansas State will look to continue their recent success next weekend at home against Coastal Carolina on November 16th.
6. Coastal Carolina (4-4) (1-3) Up one from No. 7: The Chanticleers finally picked up their first Sun Belt win this season over the Trojans of Troy at home this past Saturday. RB C.J. Marable was the difference maker in this game, quite literally, as Coastal won on a 2-point conversion. Surprisingly, Marable wasn’t the leading rusher in this contest, RB Jacqez Hairston took up that role. Hairston had 72 yards on 7 carries and 2 touch-downs. No one player really stood out in terms of receiving. Coastal Carolina will have a tough test this Thursday at home for a cross-divisional match-up against Louisiana.
7. Troy (3-5) (1-4) Down two from No. 5: Troy has continued their recent struggles this week in another loss at the hands of Coastal Carolina on the road in Conway, SC. The Trojan defense is going to have to step it up a notch if they want to have a chance to be bowl eligible this season, as the offense is doing everything they can to keep themselves in the games.
QB Kaleb Barker continues to put up big numbers week-after-week, as he had 385 yards through the air and 3 touch-downs, while completing 26 of his 35 attempts. WR Kaylon Geiger led the team in receiving with 145 yards on 12 receptions and one score. Troy is back at home this week for a homecoming match-up against rising-star GA Southern.
8. ULM (3-5) (2-2) No Movement: ULM suffered another close loss to Arkansas State this past weekend at home, 48-41. QB Caleb Evans is really the only thing that the Warhawks have going for them right now. ULM’s problem is that they are extremely one-dimensional and they don’t really have an answer for much, unless it involves their quarterback. ULM will look to bounce back this Saturday at home against GSU.
9. Texas State (2-6) (1-3) No Movement: The Bobcats took another beating this week on the road in Lafayette against Louisiana, 31-3. The Bobcat defense got dominated early in the game and the offense never caught up, this game was really over from the first whistle. However, Texas State has a match-up this weekend with the worst team in the conference in South Alabama. Maybe the Bobcats can pick up their second conference win this weekend against a bad South Alabama team.
10. South Alabama (1-7) (0-4) No Movement: South Alabama is coming off their idle period in preparations for a, “worse against bad”, match-up in Texas State this weekend on the road. For the Jaguar faithful, you can only hope that RB Tra Minter and QB Cephus Johnson will find a groove against a struggling Bobcat defense.