Only five Sun Belt games were played this week, with just one being a conference game. Of the other four non-conference games, the Sun Belt team was the loser in three of them. But, that one win pulled the eyes of the nation onto Tiger Stadium in Death Valley, Baton Rouge as the Troy Trojans pulled off the upset of the year over the LSU Tigers. Perhaps this win will overshadow some of the uglier games from Saturday, but perhaps not.
New Mexico State 24
The Sun Belt’s first game of the day was the Aggies’ loss in Fayetteville. New Mexico State never backed down and threatened to pull within striking distance several times. For a full recap of this game, click here.
Texas State 10
Wyoming has not looked sharp at all this season but thankfully for them, they had Texas State to right its ship. The Cowboys scored all of their points in the second and third quarters in route to an easy third victory. Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen managed the game well, throwing for 219 yards and three touchdowns while completing 58 percent of his throws.
For Texas State, the offense was held to just 262 yards. Quarterback Damion Williams had just 91 passing yards and was replaced in the second half by Willie Jones III. Jones only completed one pass but did end up leading the team in rushing yards with 57. Jones was about the only bright spot for the Bobcats and sparks a little debate over his playing time. If Williams is a rental in a year where you know you two wins is ceiling, why not get your freshman quarterback some snaps? Even if it’s just in certain run-first packages, Jones should be a part of the offense more than he is now.
Louisiana Tech 34
South Alabama 16
The Jaguars played surprisingly well through three quarters, but unfortunately for them, games typically last for four quarters. Down 17-16 at the end of the third, South Alabama gave up 204 yards of offense and 17 points in the final quarter of play. The Jaguars themselves mustered just 31 yards.
Quarterback Cole Garvin returned from his injury and threw for 235 yards. His 46.7 percent completion percentage and two interceptions were less than stellar. Running back Xavier Johnson followed up last week’s big game with another solid performance. Johnson had 89 rushing yard on 12 carries in the game. Letting Garvin throw 45 passes and handing the ball to Johnson just 12 times doesn’t seem to be the way to go for South.
Head coach Joey Jones and the Jags have time to figure things out as they enter Sun Belt play in earnest following this week’s bye. They’ll need a big showing next Wednesday at Troy, or Jones will feel the fire start to kindle under his seat.
Troy had the 2016 national champions on the ropes last season but left Clemson with a loss. The Trojans were determined to not let that happen again. Troy went into Death Valley and knocked off the LSU Tigers. For a full recap of this game, click here.
Coastal Carolina 43
The Warhawks are off to a 2-0 start in Sun Belt play after outlasting the Chanticleers in Monroe. ULM got a huge game from running back Ben Luckett, who turned seven carries into 127 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Gore also had a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Warhawks.
In a weird turn of events for Coastal Carolina, the Chants pass attack suddenly came alive. Quarterback Tyler Keane was 18 for 31 with 353 yards and four touchdowns. Wide out Malcom Williams had 266 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
This game was tight until the very end. Down 45-43, Coastal had the ball on its own 33 with enough time for one more play. Keane’s short pass was completed but lateraled a couple of times. The ball found its way back to Keane, who couldn’t secure it. ULM scooped up the loose football and walked into the end zone for the final score of the game.