The Sun Belt Conference will take the ESPN2 national spotlight the next two Tuesday nights – starting this week when Louisiana-Lafayette travels to take on Western Kentucky.
Both teams enter the contest with winning records overall and both are currently riding three game win streaks. The Cajuns are 1-0 in league play having won their last contest against SBC opponent Texas State. The Hilltoppers, meanwhile, have split a pair of conference games to this point in the season.
For the Cajuns, this will be the first of two consecutive Tuesday night ESPN2 games. After this week, they will travel to face Arkansas State.
Elsewhere around the conference, the league’s two newcomers will face-off Saturday when Texas State and Georgia State will battle for their first ever Sun Belt Conference win.
In non-conference action, South Alabama will host Kent State on Saturday. A Sun Belt Conference team has played a Mid-American Conference team on only one other occurrence so far this season as Louisiana-Lafayette defeated Akron on September 21.
The 2013 football season has already seen the second highest total of non-conference wins in Sun Belt Conference history. The 15 non-conference wins is second only to the 2012 season total of 19 wins. There are still six regular season non-conference games left in the season and postseason opportunities for additional wins as well.
* Louisiana-Lafayette at Western Kentucky - 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Kent State at South Alabama - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Georgia State at Texas State - 6 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State – 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
* Louisiana-Monroe at Troy - 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
* Western Kentucky at Georgia State - 12 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
Texas State at Idaho - 4 p.m.
New Mexico State at Louisiana-Lafayette - 4 p.m. (RCN/ESPN3)
* Arkansas State at South Alabama - TBA
All times Central (CT) and subject to change
* denotes Sun Belt Conference game
* Troy 35, Georgia State 28 - 2:30 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* Louisiana-Monroe 21, Texas State 14 - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Arkansas State 48, Idaho 24 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
#1 Alabama 45, Georgia State 3 - 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
* Troy 34, South Alabama 33 - 12 p.m. (Sun Belt Network)
* Louisiana-Lafayette 48, Texas State 24 - 6 p.m. (RCN/ESPN3)
* Western Kentucky 31, Louisiana-Monroe 10 - 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennessee 31, South Alabama 24 - 11:21 a.m. (SEC Network)
WKU 19, Navy 7 - 1 p.m. (ESPNews)
Duke 38, Troy 31 - 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
Texas State 42, Wyoming 21 - 6 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Tulane 31, Louisiana-Monroe 14 - 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Missouri 41, Arkansas State 19 - 6:30 p.m. (CSS and CST)
Sun Belt Conference Players of the Week (as selected by media panel)
Offensive Player of the Week
Adam Kennedy (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)
Senior quarterback Adam Kennedy recorded 375 passing yards, 397 yards of total offense and four passing touchdowns – all career highs – in Arkansas State’s 38-24 victory over Idaho. His total offense output was the most by a Sun Belt Conference player this season and his four passing scores tied the most. Additionally, his 375 passing yards were the second most this year among all players in the league and ranked as the sixth most in A-State history. He tied the second most passing touchdowns by a player in school history as well. Kennedy connected on 22-of-32 passing attempts, averaging 17.0 yards per completion. His totals included an 80-yard touchdown pass that stands as the longest in the Sun Belt this season, but he also completed at least one pass to four different players that covered over 25 yards. Kennedy has now thrown for over 300 yards in each of the Red Wolves’ last two games and ranks first in the league in total offense.
Defensive Player of the Week
Isaiah Newsome (Louisiana-Monroe, Sr., DB)
Isaiah Newsome became just the second player in both ULM and Sun Belt Conference history to return two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game… His two interceptions tied a career-high (2, at Florida Atlantic, Dec. 3, 2011)… The Petal, Miss., native finished with 146 return yards as he set two new Sun Belt Conference records in interception return yards (146) and interception return average (73.0)… Newsome’s first quarter interception of 71 yards gave ULM a 7-0 lead with 6:09 remaining… At the time it was the sixth-long interception return (scoring or non-scoring in program history)… In the third quarter, Newsome returned an interception 75 yards for a score to replace his earlier interception as the sixth-longest in program history…. His second interception return for a TD (a career-long of 75 yards) on the night gave ULM a 14-0 lead… Newsome earned a spot on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 for his two defensive scores.
Special Teams Player of the Week
J.D. McKissic (Arkansas State, So., RS)
Sophomore wide receiver J.D. McKissic posted a career-high 125 kickoff return yards, including a 98-yard return for a touchdown, and a career-best 48 punt return yards in Arkansas State’s 48-24 win against Idaho. His 98-yard return, which ties the third longest in Arkansas State history, came at a crucial point in the game as Idaho had scored 17 unanswered points to pull within 31-24 early in the fourth quarter. The return began a 17-0 scoring outburst by the Red Wolves to end the game. It marked the first kickoff return for a touchdown by an A-State player since the 2001 season. McKissic, who finished with a career-high 261 all-purpose yards, averaged 62.5 yards per kickoff return and 9.6 per punt return. His 125 kickoff return yards were the most by an A-State player since the 2010 season.
Around the Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Success in 2012
There is no question that the Sun Belt Conference is a league on the rise in football. After all, the conference finished with its most non-conference wins in league history in 2012 and also sent a record four teams to bowl games. The conference also finished the 2012 season with its best ever average computer ranking – finishing ahead of Conference USA and the Mountain West. The league also had two wins over top-25 ranked opponents and Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State won their respective bowl games. All four Sun Belt Conference institutions that went to bowl games in 2012 return for the 2013 season.
Sun Belt Conference Bowl Games
The Sun Belt Conference maintains tie-ins with the GoDaddy Bowl and the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and come 2014, the Sun Belt will also send a team to the newly formed Camellia Bowl. A team from the Sun Belt Conference has played in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl since its inception in 2001. The SBC has won four consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl games and six out of the last seven. The GoDaddy bowl, meanwhile, has a four-year agreement in place with the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference to provide teams for the game. The Camellia Bowl will match-up the Sun Belt Conference against the Mid-American Conference (MAC) beginning in December 2014. The game will be played yearly at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., before the Christmas holiday and be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2.
Sun Belt Membership
The Sun Belt Conference will contest the 2013 football season with eight members – Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky University. UALR and UT Arlington compete as non-football members. Come the 2014 season, the Sun Belt will have four new members in the league as Appalachian State and Georgia Southern were added as all-sports members and Idaho and New Mexico State have been added as football playing members. Both Appalachian State and Georgia Southern bring with them highly successfully football programs and each team will begin the process of transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) immediately. The 2014 Sun Belt football season will mark the debut of both in the league schedule and standings. Additionally, both the Mountaineers and Eagles will be able to compete for the league championship in football for the 2014 season. Both teams will first be eligible to compete in a spot for a postseason bowl game come the 2015 season. Idaho and New Mexico State are familiar partners of the Sun Belt Conference, having been football members from the league’s inaugural year of football in 2001 through the 2004 season. Both members played an integral part of forming the Sun Belt Conference for football and now add strength to the league. Both teams will be immediately eligible to compete for the Sun Belt football championship and also for a spot in postseason bowl games.
WKU Tops Kentucky For Second Consecutive Season
Keshawn Simpson ran for a pair of 3-yard touchdowns and Antonio Andrews added his own 3-yard score as Western Kentucky beat Kentucky 35-26 making coach Bobby Petrino a winner in his debut. The Hilltoppers also beat their in-state rival for a second straight year, though they didn’t need overtime like they did last year in this win over the Southeastern Conference program. They outgained Kentucky 487-419 in total offense and held the ball for 35 minutes. WKU becomes the third program to make the FBS transition since 1987 and defeat two SEC teams within its first five seasons (WKU beat Kentucky 2012-13; ULM beat Kentucky 1994, Mississippi State 1995; MTSU beat Vanderbilt 2001-02).
Georgia Southern Football Featured on NBC Nightly News
As Georgia Southern Football practice held its first full-contact practice August 5th, there were more than just Xs and Os discussed on the banks of “Beautiful Eagle Creek.” An initiative from Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel after the National Institutes of Health awarded a grant to study concussions led to the installation of the Helmet Impact Telemetry System (HITS) technology to measure and record helmet impacts during practices and games. NBC Nightly News dispatched a broadcast crew to Statesboro to cover the story on the adoption of this technology as Georgia Southern is the only collegiate football program in the state of Georgia to use HITS. The feature aired during the Sunday, August 11th.
Troy’s Robinson Sets Elite Records in Win Over UAB
Troy senior quarterback Corey Robinson broke an NCAA record, three Sun Belt records and two Troy records in Troy’s dramatic 34-31 season opening victory over UAB. Robinson completed 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards and a touchdown; his 93.8 completion percentage broke Steve Sarkisian’s record of 91.2 percent set in 1995 for quarterbacks with at least 30 completions. Robinson broke the Sun Belt career passing yardage and completions records held previously by Ryan Aplin. Robinson tied Troy’s mark for consecutive completions with 20 and set the school mark for completion percentage in a game.
NCAA Announces Tighter Targeting Rules to Take Effect
A new football rule going into effect this season requires that players who target and contact defenseless opponents above the shoulders will be ejected. The change increases the on-field penalty for targeting by adding the automatic ejection to the existing 15-yard penalty. The rule, passed by the Football Rules Committee in February and approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel in March, addresses the committee’s concern about player safety by taking more measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, out of the game. The rule in football means that discipline for players flagged for violations will mirror the penalty for fighting. If the foul occurs in the first half of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game. If the foul occurs in the second half or overtime of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next contest. In an effort to address concerns when one of these plays is erroneously called on the field, the ejection portion of the penalty will be reviewable through video replay. The replay official must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field. Additionally, a postgame conference review remains part of the rule, and conferences retain their ability to add to a sanction.
Robinson Named AT&T All-America Player of the Week
Troy University senior quarterback Corey Robinson was named the AT&T All-America Player of the Week following a nationwide fan vote after the first week of the season. Robinson broke numerous records in Troy’s 34-31 victory over UAB, including a 17-year old NCAA mark. Robinson completed 30-of-32 pass attempts for 319 yards and a touchdown as the Trojans won their 22nd home opener in 23 years under legendary head coach Larry Blakeney. His 93.8 completion percentage set Troy and Sun Belt Conference records and erased Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian’s name for the NCAA record book. Sarkisian, who played at BYU, held the NCAA’s record for completion percentage (minimum 30 completions) after he completed 31-of-34 passes (91.2 percent) against Fresno State in 1995.
WKU’s Andrews Selected as Week Four Paul Hornung Award Honoree
Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews, a Paul Hornung Award Finalist in 2012, had five scores and 291 all-purpose yards leading the Hilltoppers to a 58-17 victory over Morgan State and was slected as a Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll Selection exemplifying his versatility on the field. Andrews had 17 carries for 217 yards and five touchdowns, one kick return for 19 yards and four punt returns for 58 yards. Andrews is the only player in the nation to record five rushing touchdowns in a single game this season and recorded his fourth 200-yard rushing game of his career.
WKU’s Andrews Selected as Week Five Paul Hornung Award Honoree
Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews carried the ball 32 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers downed Navy 19-7. In the last two games, Andrews recorded 395 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. It was the sixth time in his career he ran for more than 150 rushing yards and was his second-highest career game in terms of carries. He has now run for at least 100 yards in 14 of his last 16 games. He finished with five catches for 35 yards; it was his 18th straight game in which he caught a pass. Andrews also returned one punt and two kickoffs in the game for a total of 252 all-purpose yards.’
Antonio Andrews Watch
WKU’s Antonio Andrews has more than double the number of yards of any other running back in the Sun Belt Conference so far this season. Most impressively, through five games Andrew’s leads the nation in All-Purpose Yards, Rushing Touchdowns and Rushing Yards. He is second in rushing yards per game. Against Navy Andrews rushed a season-high 32 times for 182 and scored both of the Hilltoppers’ touchdowns on the day. Andrews also added 35 yards on five catches, second on the team, with 33 yards in kick returns and two yards on a punt return.
Franchione Wins 200th Career Game
Texas State’s game against Wyoming was memorable for many reasons. There was Tyler Jones’ first start, the defense having another outstanding performance, dominating victory by the Bobcats, or what looked to be the story of the night, the three hour rain delay. Through it all, a significant milestone was reached as head coach Dennis Franchione earned his 200th career victory with the win.
Sun Belt Sends Four to Bowl Games
For the first time in the Sun Belt Conference’s 12 years of football the league sent four teams to postseason bowl games. Louisiana-Lafayette played in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, WKU headed to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Louisiana-Monroe traveled west to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl and league champion Arkansas State returned to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
ASU Claims Second Consecutive Outright Sun Belt Title With 45-0 Win over MTSU
The Arkansas State football team claimed its second straight Sun Belt Conference championship with a 45-0 victory over Middle Tennessee in front of a Liberty Bank Stadium record crowd of 31,243. The Red Wolves capped off a 9-3 regular season with a victory over a Middle Tennessee team that was receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. A-State completed its Sun Belt title run with seven straight victories to finish 7-1 in the league.
Harsin Named Arkansas State Head Coach
Arkansas State Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir announced at a press conference that Bryan Harsin, a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator, has been named the Red Wolves’ 29th all-time head football coach. Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State’s head coach. Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns. Harsin served the last two seasons as Texas’ co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after spending the previous 10 on the Boise State staff, including the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach as well. During his tenure at both schools, he guided offenses that consistently ranked among the nation’s best in almost every statistical category.
Bobby Petrino Named 18th Head Coach in WKU Football History
Western Kentucky University has named Bobby Petrino its 18th head football coach in school history, WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart announced. Petrino brings a wealth of coaching experience and success to WKU, owning a 75-26 career record as a collegiate head coach, with seven bowl game appearances, including appearances in the 2011 BCS Sugar Bowl with the University of Arkansas and the 2007 BCS Orange Bowl with the University of Louisville. In his eight seasons as a collegiate head coach with Louisville and Arkansas, Petrino led his teams to a bowl game in seven of the eight years, including four 10-win seasons, leading both the Cardinals and the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl games in school history.
Bowl Game Winning Percentage (Last Five Years)
Over the last five years the Sun Belt Conference ranks sixth out of the 11 FBS conferences in postseason bowl game winning percentage. In fact, the Sun Belt Conference ranks ahead of noted “BCS AQ” leagues – the ACC, Pac-12 and the Big Ten
Cajuns Top Pirates in R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Jemarlous Moten made two key defensive plays in the fourth quarter and Brett Baer landed a pair of field goals in the waning minutes to help the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns repeat as R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl champions with a 43-34 victory over East Carolina before the bowl’s record crowd of 48,828 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Terrance Broadway, who completed 21-of-32 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown and had 15 rushes for 108 yards, was named New Orleans Bowl MVP.
Red Wolves Best #25 Kent State for GoDaddy.com Bowl Championship
Arkansas State’s offense was held in check after piling up big numbers this season. It was the defense that led the Red Wolves to a breakthrough victory. Ryan Aplin threw for 213 yards and a touchdown, J.D. McKissic caught 11 passes for 113 yards and Arkansas State edged No. 25 Kent State 17-13 to win the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Arkansas State’s usually prolific offense struggled against Kent State, but the consistent Aplin-to-McKissic connection and a stingy defense was enough to help the Red Wolves (10-3) to their first bowl win since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1992.
Andrews Joins Sanders in Elite
WKU junior running back Antonio Andrews ﬁnished the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl with 119 rushing yards — his 10th 100-yard game of the season. That tied a WKU single season record set by Bobby Rainey in 2011. Andrews also set a new WKU single-season rushing record with 1,728 yards. That broke the previous mark of 1,695 set by Rainey in 2011. Andrews finished with 184 all-purpose yards, giving him 3,161 for the season. He joins Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders as the only two players in FBS history to eclipse 3,000 all-purpose yards in a season. Sanders set an NCAA record with 3,250 during the 1988 season.
Team News and Notes
Arkansas State Red Wolves
Arkansas State is 3-3 through six games for the second consecutive year . . . A-State recorded two non-conference victories for the third straight season . . . A-State won its sixth consecutive game at Liberty Bank Stadium and secured at least a .500 home record last time out . . . Arkansas State won its ninth straight game in the month of October . . . A-State has recorded over 400 yards total offense in five of its six games this season . . . The Red Wolves have scored at least 30 points in three games this year and in 21 of its last 29 . . . Sr. QB Adam Kennedy has recorded over 300 yards passing in the last two games and posted a career-high four touchdown passes against Idaho . . . Arkansas State’s defense has recorded at least one turnover in five consecutive games . . . Sophomore WR J.D. McKissic recorded a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Idaho, which tied the third longest in school history and marked the first return for a TD by an A-State player since 2001 . . . The Red Wolves have their second bye week over the last three weeks before facing Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday, Oct. 22, in an ESPN2-televised game . . . The Red Wolves have won nine of their last 10 games when coming off an open week.
Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State faces its first Sun Belt Conference road test at Texas State after falling 35-28 to Troy in its inaugural Sun Belt game. Against Troy, the Panthers took a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter, but Troy scored the winning touchdown with 3:17 to play.
Quarterback Ronnie Bell tied the Georgia State record with four touchdown passes against Troy. He passed for 370 yards for the third-highest single-game total in Panther annals, and he became the first GSU quarterback to record two 300-yard passing games.
Senior wide receiver-return specialist Albert Wilson had seven catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns against Troy, the 11th 100-yard receiving game of his career, including four of six games this season. His second touchdown of the day was a 38-yard reception that gave GSU a 28-21 lead in the fourth quarter.
Wilson also had kickoff returns of 48 and 71 yards and totalled 268 all-purpose yards, his sixth career game with more than 200 all-purpose yards.
Wilson’s career average of 19.6 yards per catch ranks first among all active FBS players. He has 137 career receptions for 2,683 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Port St. Lucie, Fla., native also ranks third among active players with 5,139 career all-purpose yards, fifth in kickoff return yards (2,086)and seventh in receiving yards (2,683) and yards per game (74.5).
Freshman wide receiver Robert Davis caught his second touchdown of the season against Troy. He ranks eighth in the conference (first among freshmen) in receiving yards (60.3). GSU is ineligible for NCAA rankings, but only four freshmen in the nation are averaging more yards per game than Davis.
Sophomore linebacker Joseph Peterson tied the Georgia State single-game record with 16 tackles against Troy. He leads the Panthers with 44 tackles on the season.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns will put first place and a three-game win streak on the line when they travel to Bowling Green, Ky. to face WKU on Tuesday, Oct. 15 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 with Joe Davis and David Diaz-Infante providing the commentary.
The Cajuns enter the game with a 3-2 record and in first place in the Sun Belt with a 1-0 mark after toppling league newcomer Texas State, 48-24, on Oct. 5.
Terrance Broadway, who earned SBC Offensive Player of the Week honors in his last action at Akron on Sept. 21, threw for a season-high 335 yards and four touchdowns in just under three quarters of action in the win to set the school record with six career 300-yard passing games.
Junior Jamal Robinson caught four passes for 114 yards and two TD’s, ranking him eighth nationally with six touchdowns this season. Robinson leads the team with 23 catches for 379 yards this year, recorded his third career multiple TD game and his fifth 100-yard receiving game.
The combination of Broadway to Robinson is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation. The duo have combined for nine touchdowns over the last two seasons, including six this year, the fifth-highest total in school history.
The defense keyed the win, holding the Bobcats to 196 yards of total offense, the second-lowest total by a Cajuns opponent under Mark Hudspeth. Included in that total was 76 yards passing by Texas State, the fewest by a Cajuns opponent since 2008.
Senior Justin Anderson led the defensive effort with nine tackles, giving him 51 stops in the first five games.
ULM ended a three-game losing streak as it claimed a 21-14 win at Texas State on October 12... With the victory, the Warhawks improved to 3-4 overall and evened their conference record at 1-1.
ULM will have the week off from competition before returning to action on October 26 against Georgia State... The upcoming bye week is the first of two bye weeks for the Warhawks... After the contest against the Panthers, ULM will have a short turnaround as it heads to Troy for a Halloween showdown on ESPNU (Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m.).
When Georgia State visits Malone Stadium on October 26, it will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools as the Panthers are in their first season of play in the Sun Belt after moving up to the FBS ranks following its stint as a FCS member.
Isaiah Newsome became just the second player in both ULM history and Sun Belt Conference history to record two interception returns for touchdowns in ULM’s win at Texas State... He also set conference records in interception return yards (146) and interception return yard average (73.0)... His two interceptions for touchdowns landed him at number five on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 and he is one of four weekly nominees for the Captial One Cup Impact Performance of the Week.
Centarius Donald finished the game with 14 rushes for 45 yards and one touchdown.. The game-winning rushing score for ULM came with just 18 seconds to play in regulation... The TD by Donald was the first rushing score of the season and the fifth of his career.
Trey Caldwell made his first career start Saturday against Texas State... He finished the game with five tackles... The five tackles were just one shy of his career high (6; at Tulane; Sept. 29, 2012).
South Alabama Jaguars
USA faces Kent State in its only home contest of the month; the Jags have a 9-0 mark all-time at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in October, including last fall’s 37-34 double-overtime victory over Florida Atlantic. … It will be Homecoming weekend for the Jaguars, who have won each of their previous four Homecoming games (although the last three have been decided by a total of 12 points, with a pair of three-point decisions each of the last two seasons). … The Jags committed zero turnovers in their match-up with Troy last time out, the first time the team has not lost the ball since defeating Tennessee-Martin on Oct. 15, 2011. It was the sixth occasion in 45 all-time games that the USA offense has been error free, although the first that the Jaguars have fallen when accomplishing the feat. … Both Ross Metheny (236) and Brandon Bridge (235) threw for more than 100 yards against the Trojans, as they became the first duo to accomplish the feat in the same game since Brennan Sim passed for 116 yards and C.J. Bennett added 105 in an Oct. 23, 2010, win at UC Davis. USA’s 471 yards through the air were 101 more than the previous school standard set in last year’s Sun Belt Conference finale at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 24. … In fact, Bridge had a hand in six of the seven plays of 20 or more yards turned in by the Jag offense, with five completions (to five different receivers) covering at least 21 yards plus a 21-yard run in the third quarter. … Romelle Jones’ 4½ sacks this season match his four-year total entering the campaign. … Junior WR Jeremé Jones caught a 65-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left in regulation against the Trojans, giving the Jaguars their only lead of the contest. Not only was it the longest catch of his career, Jones ended up posting a personal-best 84 yards on three receptions while becoming the first individual in program history to record 100 career catches. … When Bryant Lavender went down the left sideline and reached the end zone less than three minutes into the final period, it marked the first time the senior wideout scored a touchdown since Oct. 30, 2010, in a 39-34 victory over Georgia State. … RB Jay Jones recorded his second touchdown of the season in the first five minutes of the third quarter, sparking the Jaguars second-half rally against the Trojans; he would end the contest with 13 carries — the most by a USA player this fall — for 38 yards, as he enters the KSU game with a team-leading 279 yards on the ground. The Jags’ 26 points in the second half were the most they have scored since posting 29 in the 2010 season opener, a 56-0 victory over Pikeville (Ky)
Texas State Bobcats
Robert Lowe rushed for a career-high 140 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against ULM ... the 140 yards mark the third time this season that Lowe has rushed for 100 yards this season ... his touchdown was also his sixth rushing touchdown and seventh touchdown overall this year ... he enters the Georgia State game having run for a TD during four of the last five contests.
Will Johnson averaged 46.6 yards on nine punts against ULM … he also averaged 65.5 yards on four kickoffs with three resulting in touchbacks … Johnson had three 50-yard punts against ULM that included kicks of 57, 56 and 50 yards … he put seven of his punts inside the 20-yard line and five inside the 10-yard line versus ULM with two of his punts were downed on ULM’s one-yard line ... overall, Johnson’s career long punt of 65 yards at Louisiana also landed on the one-yard line.
Linebacker David Mayo has logged 10 or more tackles in two straight games with 11 against ULM and a career-best of 13 at Louisiana. Mayo enters the Georgia State game leading Texas State with 53 total tackles. Mayo enters Saturday’s game against Georgia State ranked fifth nationally and leading the Sun Belt Conference in solo tackles with an average of 6.8 per game.
David Mayo also enters Saturday’s game ranked second among league leaders with 0.5 interceptions per game after intercepting his third pass against ULM last Saturday night.
Texas State recorded two interceptions in a game for the third time this season. The Bobcats had a season-high three interceptions at Texas Tech and two versus Southern Miss and ULM. Texas State leads the Sun Belt Conference with eight interceptions overall this season and ranked among the top 21 teams nationally.
Texas State also ranks 11th nationally and lead the Sun Belt Conference in rushing defense after giving up an average of 90.3 yards per game.
Eric Thomas caught a touchdown pass in his eighth consecutive game, the longest streak in the nation. With his TD reception, he moves into a tie for fifth in Troy history for touchdowns in a season with 10 (Danny Grant 1967, Vince Green 1970) … Thomas also moved into a tie for second in program history with 27 career receiving touchdowns. … Corey Robinson threw three touchdowns, giving him 76 for his career, tying the Sun Belt record for career touchdown passes (Rusty Smith, FAU). … Robinson went over 300 yards for the 22nd time in his career. He threw three touchdowns for the 11th time in his career. … Thomas’ 10 touchdown receptions this year are the most by a Trojan in a single season since Robert Kilow caught 12 in 1993. … Corey Robinson threw multiple touchdowns in a game for the 24th time in his career. … Chris Williams set a new career-high with 152 yards receiving (previous high was 57 at Duke). … Brandon Burks rushed for 114 yards, becoming the first Trojan to reach 100 yards in back-to-back games since DuJuan Harris in 2008 (against ULM and WKU). … Eric Thomas went over 100 yards for the sixth time in his career. It is the first time a Trojan went over 100 yards in back-to-back games since Jerrel Jernigan had three straight in the 2009 season (against FAU, ULL and Central Michigan). His six games with at least 100 yards is the third most in Troy history. … Thomas finished with 113 yards receiving, moving into fourth in Troy history with 2255 career receiving yards. … Chris Williams caught a 54-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was the first of his career and tied for the third longest play of the season for Troy. … Jordan Chunn rushed for 88 yards, a new career-high. He also rushed for multiple touchdowns for the second time in his career (Duke). … Troy ran 102 plays, the most since running 102 plays against ULL in 2008. … Troy finished with 634 yards, the most in a game this season. … Antonio Gillespie picked up two sacks on the day, becoming the first Trojan with multiple sacks against an FBS opponent since Tony Davis had two against Western Kentucky on October 11, 2012. …Troy’s four team sacks is the most in a game since the 2010 New Orleans Bowl (5). … Troy held Georgia State to 52 yards rushing, the fewest rushing yards the Trojans have allowed in a game since holding Ohio to 99 yards at the 2010 New Orleans Bowl. … Chris Pickett made his first career interception, coming in the fourth quarter. … Will Scott recorded the longest punt of his career, 63 yards, in the fourth quarter. His previous long was 61 yards, set last week against South Alabama.
WKU improves to 4-2 or better for the second consecutive season, marking the first time the Hilltoppers have achieved that feat since 2004 and 2005.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty is now 17-of-19 for 190 yards and two touchdowns on opening drives of games this season for WKU in his five starts.
After playing six games in 34 days, the shortest turnaround time of any team in the country, tied with ULM, the Hilltoppers enjoy an 11-day break before hosting Louisiana for a Tuesday night game in Bowling Green.
Senior running back Antonio Andrews is the nation’s leader in rushing yardage and is No. 2 nationally in rushing touchdowns. He maintains his lead as the NCAA’s active career leader in all-purpose yardage and is No. 2 nationally this season in all-purpose yards per game behind LSU’s Odell Beckham.
Quarterback Brandon Doughty set a school FBS record for passing yardage with 370 against ULM on Thursday.
Senior linebacker Xavius Boyd reached double figures in tackles for the fifth time in six games this season on Thursday against ULM.
Senior punter Hendrix Brakefield pinned ULM inside the two-yard line twice in the game and for the third and fourth time in the last three games.
It was the third time in Brakefield’s career that he has pinned an opponent inside the five yard line multiple times in a game. He also achieved the feat against MTSU on Oct. 6, 2011 and against Arkansas State on Sept. 29, 2012.
Appalachian State Mountaineers (Coming in 2014)
Appalachian State dropped its third-consecutive game, marking the first time that it has suffered three-straight same season losses since Oct. 9-23, 1993.
Appalachian State is also 1-5 overall for the first time since 1993.
The loss was Appalachian State’s fourth-straight at home dating back to its season-ending loss to Illinois State in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship and marks the first time since 1970-71 that Appalachian has lost four in a row at home (Oct. 31, 1970 – 9-7 vs. East Tennessee State; Nov. 7, 1970 – 42-35 vs. Samford; Nov. 14, 1970 – 37-13 vs. Wofford; Sept. 25, 1971 – 26-0 vs. Western Carolina).
Appalachian State dropped to 6-2 all-time versus Samford (5-2, 3-0 SoCon) with its first loss to the Bulldogs since 1970. Appalachian had won five-straight meetings between the two schools since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008.
The loss snapped Appalachian State’s 10-game winning streak in homecoming games. Appalachian had not lost on homecoming since a 26-19 loss to Wofford in 2002.
Appalachian State’s 10 points were the fewest it has scored at home since a 24-10 loss to Marshall on Oct. 26, 1996.
Georgia Southern Eagles (Coming in 2014)
Georgia Southern will have a Saturday off on October 19th after a 28-21 win over The Citadel last weekend. The Eagles (4-2) rallied from a 21-20 deficit in the fourth quarter for the victory and the final score marked the 11th time in the series that a game was decided by seven points or less.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Ellison, who started at quarterback, capped the Eagles’ game-winning drive with a four-yard touchdown score to complete the rally. From the B-Back position, Jerick McKinnon led Georgia Southern with 198 yards rushing on 32 carries and scored two touchdowns. He compiled 59 yards on the Eagles’ final scoring drive, including a 30-yard burst up the middle to put Georgia Southern inside The Citadel’s 10-yard line. He and Ellison combined for 471 yards of total offense as Ellison ran for 135 and had 138 through the air on 7-10 passing.
The Georgia Southern defense shined all afternoon and held the Bulldogs to only 63 rushing yards in the final three quarters and kept The Citadel off the scoreboard for the second and third quarters. The Eagle offense did its part as well, holding onto the ball for nearly 40 minutes as the Bulldogs had possession for just over 20 minutes, 11 minutes less that their per-game average. Senior linebacker Kyle Oehlbeck led the Eagles with nine tackles, including two for loss while he broke free to disrupt The Citadel offense while Edwin Jackson and Matt Dobson each had six total tackles.
Georgia Southern plays next at future Sun Belt member Appalachian State for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on October 26th. The Mountaineers hold a 15-12 edge in the series with one game ending in a tie. The first meeting between the two schools was in 1932 in Statesboro, the day after Thanksgiving that year. Georgia Southern has not won in Boone, N.C., since 2007 when it upset fifth-ranked Appalachian State 38-35.
Idaho Vandals (Coming in 2014)
Idaho is off this Saturday with the first of two bye weeks. The Vandals return to action Oct. 26 at Ole Miss before a two-game home stand – Nov. 2 vs. Texas State and Nov. 9 Old Dominion. After their second bye week (Nov. 16), they finish the season at Florida State and New Mexico State.
In the Vandals’ game last Saturday at Arkansas State, senior running back James Baker had a career-high 150 yards on 23 carries. He scored two of Idaho’s three touchdowns.
When the Vandals wrap up their 2013 home season against Old Dominion on Nov. 9, they will play host to Pat Yarber – a college football fan who will conclude his quest to see a game in every FBS stadium. Yarber’s accomplishment is more unique in that he is legally blind as a result of retinas pigmentosa and macular degeneration.
New Mexico State Aggies (Coming in 2014)
The New Mexico State Aggies (0-6) welcome the Rice Owls (4-2, 3-0) to Aggie Memorial Stadium, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
AggieVision will produce and distribute the game. The game will be televised live on Comcast New Mexico, CW-El Paso, CSN-Houston Plus and tape delayed on Altitude at 6:30 p.m.
Although the Aggies compete with the Rice Owls for the first time on the football field on Oct. 19, NM State has a history with other members of Conference USA. The Aggies played at least one game against eight current C-USA teams including rival UTEP. The Aggies played 90 games against UTEP in a matchup that started in 1914.
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