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October 25, 2012

Sun Belt Week 9

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Publishers from across the Rivals.com network give their picks on week nine's Sun Belt Conference games.

Who's playing

About the game

Our pick


The Blue Raiders are looking to rebound after their loss last week to the Bulldogs of Mississippi State; while the Mean Green are in fresh off their win over the Cajuns.  Look for North Texas Head Coach Dan McCarney to keep his team in title contention with a close win.


The two teams are struggling, but within the Trojans is another conference win, pushing them closer to bowl eligibility.
at ULM is playing just their third game at home this season and it's homecoming.  Look for the Warhawks to continue flying high, keeping their conference record perfect.
at The Toppers are not happy after dropping last week's home game to ULM.  WKU  rolls to bounce back with a big conference win.

Team News and Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Following its first open week of the year, the Arkansas State football team will carry a five-game road winning streak against conference opponents into its Tuesday-night matchup against Louisiana-Lafayette at Cajun Field . . . Winners in three of its last four games, A-State moved its overall record to 4-3 and Sun Belt Conference mark to 2-1 with a 36-29 home victory over South Alabama its last time out. The Red Wolves have now won back-to-back games for the first time since ending the 2011 regular season on a nine-game winning streak . . . ULL has won the last seven meetings between the two teams in Lafayette, with ASU's last road win against the Ragin' Cajuns coming 20-7 in 1992. Tuesday's game will be the 41st meeting all-time between ASU?and the Cajuns. A-State's 40 games played against the Ragin' Cajuns are the second most against any opponent in school history behind only its 57 played against Memphis . . . Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin was named as one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award on Oct. 18 . . . Aplin was one of 30 original candidates from across the nation for the award, which annually recognizes an NCAA FBS senior with notable achievements in areas of community, classroom, character and competition.

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic went on the road for the fifth time in 2012 and the second time in as many weeks. The Owls stop in Mobile, Alabama was the second game in the state of Alabama this season but, the first time FAU had faced the University of South Alabama in football. With the game in the books, FAU has played every FBS school in the state of Alabama, making it the most traveled to state in the Union. The trip began with the Owls posting 14 first quarter points, meeting the team's game scoring average in the first frame. FAU would add three in the second and post 31 points in regulation, the most FAU had scored in a game since scoring 38 in FAU's 2011 victory over another Alabama school, UAB. FAU's scoring was made possible with several career efforts. Junior Jonathan Wallace had a career long 46-yard run and a game high 101 yards, the first 100+ yard performance of his career. Senior Graham Wilbert completed a career high 27 passes of 41 attempts, while accumulating a career high 303 yards. His go-to-receiver was sophomore William Dukes who had a career high 119 yards including the longest reception of his young career, 50 yards. Dukes also recorded his first touchdown of the 2012 season. Defensively, senior Brent Harstad recorded a career high 15 tackles, including a tackle for a loss of three yards and a forced fumble. Fellow senior David Hinds added 11 tackles and a fourth quarter sack for a loss of four yards. Linebacker Adarius Glanton rounded out the double-digit tacklers with 10, including one for a loss of three yards. Freshman Trevon Coley recorded the first sack of his career while Cory Henry had a sack for a loss of 10.

FAU will face the third team from the state of Alabama in 2012 this weekend when the Owls play host to Troy. The game will serve as the 2012 FAU Homecoming with a schedule 5 p.m. kick. Troy holds the all-time series at 8-1 with the lone FAU victory being a 38-32 win that crowned FAU as the 2007 Sun Belt Champions and sent the Owls to the New Orleans Bowl.

FIU Panthers

Darian Mallary (Sr., RB) scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season, a one-yard run at 3:08 in the first quarter. Mallary now has had at least one touchdown rushing in each game he has played this season (did not play at Louisiana-Lafayette due to injury). The nine rush TDs through eight games is the second-most by an FIU running back (Rashod Smith, 11, 2004). The touchdown was the 14th of his career, moving him into a tie for fifth all-time with Greg Ellingson (2007-10). Mallary now has 84 career points, tied for eighth with Ellingson. The score was also his 13th career rushing touchdown, which is No. 3 all-time.

Wayne Times (Sr., WR) had 4 catches for 28 yards in the game, extending his streak to 25-straight games played with at least one reception dating back to the 2010 season. His streak is the third-longest streak in FIU history, passing Chandler Williams (24 games, 2004-06). Times' three-yard touchdown catch at 11:39 in the third quarter was the fifth of his career, tying him with Jonathan Faucher (2008-11) for No. 8 all-time in to touchdown receptions. The play was set-up earlier by a career-long 56-yard catch by Nick England (Fr., WR) from Medlock.

Justin Halley (R-So., FS) returned a fumbled lateral 62 yards for a touchdown at 7:57 in the third quarter. It was the first defensive score of the season and first since Jonathan Cyprien's nine-yard INT return vs. ULM last season on Nov. 19. It was the third-longest fumble return for a touchdown in program history and longest since Isame Faciane's 51-yard return vs. UCF last season on Sept. 17.

Jack Griffin (Sr., K) broke the all-time scoring record at FIU notching 7 points in the game to reach 239 career points. He tied Adam Moss's (2002-05) mark of 233 career points with his extra point on FIU's first touchdown at 1:26 in the first quarter. He broke the mark with his extra point at 3:08 in the first quarter. Griffin broke the scoring record in less than three full seasons vs. four full seasons for Moss.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The Ragin' Cajuns football team attempts to bounce back from their first Sun Belt Conference loss of the season when the Cajuns host defending SBC champion Arkansas State on Tuesday, Oct. 23 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Cajun Field.

The Cajuns (4-2, 2-1 SBC) are coming off a disappointing 30-23 loss at North Texas on Tuesday (Oct. 16), a game in which the Cajuns could not hold a 20-6 early third quarter lead.

The Cajuns will put their eight-game Cajun Field win streak on the line, the third-longest in facility history.

Sophomore Terrance Broadway accounted for a season-high 349 yards of total offense against UNT, completing 26-of-41 passes for 265 yards and gaining 84 yards rushing, including a 75-yard touchdown run.

Brett Baer continued his stellar senior campaign, connecting on a 47-yard field goal to tie the game late in the game, and scored six points to raise his career scoring total to 206 points.

After not playing a game on a Tuesday in 49 years, the Cajuns play its second straight Tuesday night contest when they host the Red Wolves. The Arkansas State game will be the 1,048th game in Ragin' Cajuns football history, but it will be just the sixth time that the Cajuns have played on Tuesday, owning a 2-3 mark, and the first at home. The Cajuns won 26-0 over Louisiana Tech on Nov. 14, 1916 and 13-0 over Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 11, 1930. The first Tuesday game came on Nov. 5, 1912 when the Cajuns fell to LSU, 85-3. Until last week, the most recent Tuesday contest was a 14-0 loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 10, 1963.

With the second half of the season underway, the national publications each released their mid-season All-America teams and senior kicker Brett Baer fared well. Baer was named a first team selection by ESPN.com, a second team choice by SI.com and a third team honoree by Phil Steele. Baer is the only Sun Belt athlete on any of the mid-season teams. Baer is second in the nation having made 13-of-16 field goals and ranks 16th with 63 points in six games. Having made 38 of his 43 career attempts (.884), Baer is two field goal attempts away from qualifying for the NCAA record for career field goal accuracy, which is held by Florida State's Bobby Raymond (.878, 43-49 in 1983-84).

ULM Warhawks

ULM is 5-2 for the first time since moving up to the FBS-level in 1994. The Warhawks started their final season at the FCS (1-AA) level 5-2. The four-game win streak is also the first of the FBS-era. ULM won five straight during the 1993 campaign (Oct. 16 - Nov. 13).

The Warhawks sit atop the Sun Belt Conference standings at 3-0. Since joining the league in 2001, it marks the third time ULM has started the season 3-0 in conference play (2005; 2009).

ULM allowed 28 first half points at WKU. It was the most points allowed in a half since FIU scored 28 points in the first half in a 28-17 win (at FIU, November 19, 2011).

With the overtime win at WKU, ULM is now 2-1 in overtime games this season and the Warhawks now own a 7-3 mark in overtime games.

Kolton Browning's 20-yard TD rush in the 2nd quarter was the fourth of season for the junior and 13th of his career. Browning threw two interceptions at WKU. It was the first time Browning threw two interceptions in a game since November 19, 2011 (at FIU). Browning threw one or fewer interceptions in seven consecutive games before last Saturday's contest. Browning finished with 377 yards of total offense and he now ranks second in school history with 8,138 yards of total offense. Steven Jyles (2002-05) owns the school record with 10,234 yards of total offense.

Cortney Davis' 30-yard TD reception as time expired in the first half was his first career reception, meanwhile Rashon Ceaser caught his first career TD in the fourth quarter. Je'Ron Hamm recorded his third TD reception of the year with a 16-yard TD reception in the 2nd quarter.

Isaiah Newsome's interception in the first quarter at WKU was the second of the season for the junior and the sixth of his career.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

With 159 passing yards tonight against Mississippi State, Logan Kilgore surpassed Marvin Collier (1985-88) for seventh place on the all-time list. Collier had 4,234 yards and Kilgore now has 4,352 yards. The junior now has his sight set on sixth place Teddy Morris (4,799).

QB Logan Kilgore started his 20th career game which ranks as the most on the team.

DE Omar McLendon played in his team-best 43rd game.

LB Justin Jones made his first start of the season and the ninth of his career.

PK Carlos Lopez connected on his 9th field goal of the season in the second quarter and is now 9-for-10 on season.

Shubert Bastien forced the fourth fumble of his career in the second quarter ... Kendall Dangerfield recovered his first fumble of the season and second of his career in second quarter.

TE Jacob Corbaley had a career-high 3 catches.

Middle Tennessee was held without a touchdown for the first time since playing Tennessee on Nov. 5, 2011.

North Texas Mean Green

North Texas knocked off Louisiana-Lafayette, who entered the game with a 4-1 record. It was the first win for the Mean Green over a team with a 4-1 record or better after five games since 2001. The last North Texas win over a team with a 4-1 record or better was when the Mean Green knocked off a 5-0 Middle Tennessee team in 2001. That win was the start of a 26-game conference winning streak.

Derek Thompson passed for a season-high 282 yards against Louisiana-Lafayette, marking the fifth straight game win which Thompson has topped 200-yards in passing, which is a career-best. Thompson is just the fourth player in school history to pass for 200-yards in five straight games. Thompson has nine career 200-yard passing games, which is tied for fourth in school history with Scott Davis.

Freshman running back Antoinne Jimmerson was the first running back to have a 100-yard receiving game since Lance Dunbar last season against Indiana. Along with the 100-yard receiving game, Jimmerson had two receiving touchdowns. It is the first time since 2002 that a North Texas running back had two receiving touchdowns in a game. Michael Hickmon was the last Mean Green running back to have two receiving touchdowns, nearly a decade ago against New Mexico State.

North Texas notched its first come from behind win when trailing at the half under head coach Dan McCarney in the win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Additionally the Mean Green moved to a perfect 6-0 under McCarney when scoring 30 points or more.

The Mean Green racked up a season-high 524 yards in the win over the Cajuns, which are the most yards in the McCarney era and the most in a game since 2009.

The Mean Green 3-4 through seven games, which is the best mark after seven games since 2004. The 2-1 league record is the best conference record through three games since 2005.

South Alabama Jaguars

USA picked up its first-ever Sun Belt Conference win, and first over an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, with a 37-34 come-from behind victory over Florida Atlantic at home Saturday. The Jaguars had to score twice in the final six minutes to force the extra period, giving the program its second win all-time when trailing at the end of three-quarters; USA rallied to beat UC Davis, 24-21, on Oct. 23, 2010. The Jags also improved to 2-1 all-time in the overtime with the victory, with all three of those contests going into double overtime. Saturday's contest with the Owls was the first of those to take place at home, though. Playing just his second game at wide receiver, Gabe Loper led the Jaguars with four catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in their win over Florida Atlantic Saturday. That included two plays in the fourth quarter that helped the Jags rally for the win; with USA down 14 midway through the final period, Loper made a 27-yard catch to move the ball to the FAU-13, leading to the first of two touchdowns in the final six minutes of regulation while his final reception of the game was a one-handed grab on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 remaining that helped send the game into overtime. Moore blocked two field-goal attempts, one in the final seconds of regulation and another in the second overtime, to help lead the Jaguars to a three-point double-overtime victory over FAU. In addition to the two blocks - the first time in school history that a player has been credited with more than one in a game - the junior had three tackles solo tackles, all behind the line of scrimmage including a sack. For the second straight game, senior PK Michel Chapuseaux kicked a career-high-tying three field goals, including converting from 37 yards out in the first overtime and on a 35-yard attempt in the second that gave the Jaguars the three-point win. Chapuseaux has made seven of his last eight attempts dating back to USA's first Sun Belt contest against Troy on Sept. 29. Junior Alex Page became the first defensive lineman in school history to finish with a double-digit tackle total after posting a career-high 10 stops to go along with two quarterback hurries in the Jaguars' victory over Florida Atlantic. The Jaguars had four players in double figures in tackles in the FAU game for the first time ever, as Terrell Brigham, B.J. Scott and Enrique Williams all posted 11 stops to lead the squad in the category. It was a career-high total for Brigham, while it marked the second straight week that Williams has posted 10-plus tackles. After missing the Jags' game at Arkansas State, Demetre Baker came off the bench to lead the rushing attack for the fifth time this season, picking up 73 yards on 16 carries while reaching the end zone twice. It was the first time since Kendall Houston had two touchdowns in a Nov. 3 win over Mississippi Valley State a year ago that a USA player has accomplished the feat, while the yardage total was two shy of equaling his season high.

Troy Trojans

Troy rallied from down 16 in the second half to defeat FIU 38-37, it was the largest second half comeback from Troy since 1995 at Central Florida Quarterback Deon Anthony's 115 rushing yards were the most by a Troy quarterback since Bob Godsey had 122 yards against UT-Martin on Oct. 28, 1997 Quarterback Deon Anthony's two rushing touchdowns were the most by a quarterback since Dantavious Parker had two against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 6, 2009 Kicker Will Scott's go-ahead 42-yard field goal was the first go-ahead field goal in the last 15 seconds of play since Michael Taylor's 34-yard field goal that gave Troy a 30-27 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 4, 2010 FIU's touchdown on the opening drive was the first score allowed by the Trojans on an opening drive this season. In four of the previous six games, the Trojans held their opponent to three-and-outs . Quarterback Dallas Tidwell took his first career snap in the first quarter, handing the ball off to Shawn Southward Running back Shawn Southward rushed for 51 yards on the day, moving him into seventh place on the Troy career rushing yards list with 2405 career yards Running back Shawn Southward carried the ball 12 times on the day, moving him into seventh place on the Troy career carries list with 474 career carries Quarterback Deon Anthony's first-quarter 33-yard rushing touchdown was the longest touchdown run of the season for the Trojans. It was also a career-long rush for Anthony Wide receiver Chip Reeves second-quarter touchdowncatch gave him 12 for his career, tying him for 13th on the Troy career receiving touchdowns list. Linebacker Dimitri Miles' second-quarter sack was the first of his career Running back Shawn Southward's second-quarter carry pushed Troy over last year's rushing total of 1,064 yards. The Trojans finished today's game with 1174 rushing yards with five games to play linebacker Brannon Byran's third quarter interception of FIU quarterback Jake Medlock snapped a school record of 203consecutive passes without an interception Wide receiver Eric Thomas' two third-quarter touchdown receptions gave him 14 on his career, tying him for eighth on theTroy career receiving touchdowns list The two touchdown receptions by wide receiver Eric Thomas was the fourth multi-touchdown game of the junior's career.

WKU Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with a 43-42 overtime loss against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. It marked the second straight year that WKU and ULM have played an overtime game. The Toppers won in extra periods last year in Monroe.

WKU played in front of its second straight home sellout as an announced homecoming crowd of 22,323 watched Saturday's game. That also marks the second-largest crowd in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium history. A stadium-record crowd of 23,252 was in attendance for WKU's last home game - a victory over Southern Miss on Sept. 22.

The overtime loss was the first in five extra-session games for WKU under head coach Willie Taggart. The Hilltoppers fell to 9-2 all-time in overtime contests.

The loss is just the third for WKU in its last 15 games dating back to last season, but it did snap the Hilltoppers' nine-game Sun Belt Conference win streak. That was tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation entering the week.

Kawaun Jakes threw completed a career-high 25 passes for a career-best 308 yards against the Warhawks. He became the first Hilltopper to throw for 300 yards in a game since J.J. Jewell finished with 357 passing yards at Central Florida on Sept. 24, 1994. Jakes also threw for four first-half touchdowns, equaling a career high set in the season opener against Austin Peay. He now has 15 touchdown passes on the season - four shy of breaking the WKU single-season record with still five games remaining in the regular season. Jakes also becomes the first QB in Hilltopper history to have two career games with four or more TD passes.

Jack Doyle caught two first-half touchdowns for the first multi-TD game of his career. He now has three touchdowns catches in his last two games after going the entire 2011 season without a scoring catch. Doyle finished the game with six catches for 82 yard.

Willie McNeal hauled in a seven catches for a career-high 120 yards, making him the first 100-yard receiver for the Hilltoppers in 2012.



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