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November 7, 2012

Sun Belt Week 11

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Publishers from across the Rivals.com network give their picks on week eleven in the Sun Belt Conference games.

Who's playing

About the game

Our pick


The Warhawks were one of the hottest teams in the Sun Belt Conference.  After getting their wings clipped last week by the Cajuns, the Red Wolves are looking to finish ULM.  With ULM's Kolton Browning out, Arkansas State's Ryan Aplins shines in the win.


A week after getting back on the winning track by running up the score against rival ULM, the Cajuns are entering the swap and going Gator hunting.  The Swamp People will not be there to help, as Florida rolls to a big win.
at FAU has been struggling this season, and those struggles will continue as the Topper's towel pops the Owls on the backside and pick up win number seven, six over FBS teams.
at Troy threw the kitchen sink at Tennessee last week before falling in a close game.  This week the Trojans will be screaming - "You sunk my battleship" as Navy rolls in the win.
at The new kids on the block, USA, take on the Mean Green of North Texas.  Before they fly from the coop to CUSA next season, UNT takes one more win for the road.

Team News and Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves

A-State became bowl eligible for the fifth time over the last eight seasons, including the last two in a row, after defeating North Texas 37-19 . . . The Red Wolves have won 12 of their last 13 conference games, including the last four in a row . . . With its victory over North Texas, ASU has now won seven consecutive road games against conference opponents for its most since also recording seven road wins against Southland Conference opponents from 1973-75 . . . ASU claimed its eighth straight victory over North Texas for its longest winning streak against any opponent in school history . . . The Red Wolves need one more victory at Liberty Bank Stadium to secure a winning home record for the eighth consecutive season . . . ASU's first four games all drew a crowd of over 20,000, marking the first time in school history the Red Wolves played four consecutive games with 20,000-plus in attendance . . . A-State needs one more victory to secure its second consecutive winning season, which would be its third winning campaign since it became an FBS member in 1992 . . . The last time ASU had back-to-back winning seasons was 1986-87 . . . ASU needs one more conference victory to secure a winning Sun Belt on-field record for the fifth time. A-State has finished .500 or better (on-field record) in SBC play six times . . . ASU is 34-8 at Liberty Bank Stadium since 2005 and has won nine of its last 10 home games . . . A-State will play ULM in its third midweek game this year . . . Since the Sun Belt's inaugural 2001 season, ASU holds a 9-3 record in midweek games and that total includes a 2-0 mark this year . . . ASU and ULM have played 33 times, which is the fifth most in school history among all opponents . . . A-State leads the all-time series 19-14 since the first meeting in 1959, including victories the last two seasons . . . ASU's offense, ranked 29th in the nation, has posted over 300 yards in 32 of its last 34 games and has recorded over 400 yards in six games this season, including the last two in a row . . . ASU's defense, ranked second in the league in scoring defense and third in total defense, has forced at least one turnover the last four games and multiple turnovers in three of the last four to help A-State improve its turnover margin to +5 on the year (tied for the second best in the Sun Belt).


Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic University traveled to the United States Naval Academy for the program's first game against a member of the service academies. The team was riding on a one-game win streak and had the confidence that the final scoring drive in the last two was the deciding factor. For the Owls the Navy game was no different. FAU put the first 10 points on the board, Navy the next 24. FAU would rally behind an Andrae Kirk fumble recovery to pull within one touchdown with nearly a quarter to play. FAU's final drive fell short providing the 24-17 final. The Owls had several key performances in the game. Junior running back Jonathan Wallace had a career high 111 yards while Adarius Glanton matched his career high 12 tackles. Junior Mitch Anderson booted a 53-yard field goal to tie a record set by Mark Myers in the 2003 play-offs at Northern Arizona. Graham Wilbert turned in another consistent performance throw for 205 yards, connecting on 25 of 35 attempts. Wilbert sailed through the month of October throwing his last interception, September 29th and going 104-of-155 for 1,035 yards during that same time period.

FAU will return to Sun Belt Conference play when the team travels to Western Kentucky University, the final road game for first year Head Coach Carl Pelini, the seventh road game of the 2012 of the season. FAU leads the all-time series3-1, with two of the three victories coming on the road. The Sun Belt tilt will be carried on the Sun Belt Network, and CSS locally for FAU.

FIU Panthers

The Panthers have a late season bye week next Saturday and will return to action on Friday, Nov. 16, 57 miles north on I-95 at Sun Belt Conference rival Florida Atlantic. The nationally-televised kickoff with the Owls is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST on ESPNU.

Against South Alabama, Willis Wright (Jr., WR) recorded his third touchdown of the season on a 26-yard reception from Jake Medlock at the 4:07 mark in the first quarter.

Jacob Younger (Sr., WR), who became the 30th FIU player to record 30 starts for his career, recorded his third touchdown of the season on a 27-yard reception from Jake Medlock at the 51-second mark in the first quarter.

Wayne Times (Sr., WR) had one catch for 15 yards in the game, extending his streak to 27‐straight games played with at least one reception dating back to the 2010 season. His streak is the third-longest streak in FIU history.

 Rupert Bryan, Jr. (Sr., OT) now has 41 career starts and is tied with Andy Leavine (2006-09) for the most starts by an offensive tackle at FIU.

Jake Medlock (R-So., QB) rushed 19 yards for FIU's third touchdown of the game at the 7:45 mark in the second quarter. Medlock threw for two touchdowns, which gives him 12 for his career moving him into No. 5 all-time passing David Tabor (11, 2002-05).

Johnathan Cyprien (Sr., SS) recorded his team-leading third interception of the season and sixth of his career at the 13:30 mark in the second quarter. He is now in fourth-place all-time with his six interceptions. Cyprien made his 43rd career start in the game and now has the most starts at the safety position at FIU, passing Nick Turnbull (2002-04). The 43 starts ties for the fourth-most at FIU.


Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

The Cajuns step out of conference play for the final time during the regular season, playing at no. 7 (BCS) Florida on Saturday, Nov.10.

 The Cajuns are coming off an impressive 40-24 win at ULM last week, the squad's fifth straight over the Warhawks.

 Sophomore Terrance Broadway accounted for a career-high 460 yards of total offense against ULM, completing 23-of-32 passes for 373 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. In his last two games, Broadway has accounted for 747 yards passing, 858 yards of total offense and has been responsible for eight touchdowns.

Broadway engineered six scoring drives of 75 yards or better against the Warhawks, including a monstrous 17-play, 99-yard drive that consumed 9:33 and led to the fourth quarter touchdown that put the game away.

 Sophomore Jamal Robinson celebrated his first career start by catching three passes for a career-high 153 yards, including touchdown catches of 52 and 81 yards. Playing in place of first team All-SBC senior Javone Lawson, Robinson recorded his second straight 100-yard game (he had 5 catches for 106 yards vs, Arkansas State).

 Rodney Gillis and Jemarlous Moten each recorded interceptions against ULM, giving the duo seven of the Cajuns' nine interceptions this season. Gillis leads the team and ranks seventh nationally with four interceptions this year while Moten is right behind him, ranking 27th with three picks.

The Cajuns defense limited the Warhawks to just 74 yards rushing on 20 attempts to keep a tell-tale statistic intact. In the five Cajuns victories this year, the Cajuns have held opponents to a total of 260 yards rushing (56.0 ypg) with no opponent gaining over 100 yards. In the three losses, the Cajuns have given up 829 yards rushing (276.3 ypg).


ULM Warhawks

ULM's five-game winning streak, the longest of the FBS-era (1994-pres.), ended with its 40-24 setback against UL-Lafayette... The Warhawks are now 2-2 on the season at Malone Stadium.

 The official attendance of Saturday's game was 20,203, which was the second-highest total to visit Malone Stadium for a Sun Belt Conference game (21,929 - Oct. 4, 2008 vs. ULL). 

Despite the loss against ULL, ULM remained in the polls for the ninth consecutive week as the squad garnered four votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll released Sunday.

Brent Leonard set a new career-high with 168 receiving yards against ULL... His 168 receiving yards are the most by a ULM receiver in the Todd Berry era... Leonard's receiving total is also the highest in the Sun Belt this season.

 Brent Leonard tied the team high with 11 receptions vs. ULL... Earlier this season, Leonard made 11 catches in the 34-31 overtime win over Arkansas.

Kolton Browning connected with Tavarese Maye for an 81-yard TD in the first quarter against ULL... It was the longest play from scrimmage for ULM this season and it is tied for the second-longest pass completion in the conference in 2012... The 81-yard hookup between Browning and Maye is tied for the ninth-longest pass play in program history.

 Before leaving the ULL contest with an injury (first quarter), Kolton Browning was 5-for-7 for 124 yards and one touchdown... He also rushed for 24 yards on two carries. Kolton Browning was replaced by Cody Wells and Wells finished the game against the Ragin Cajuns with 209 passing yards (18 completions, 31 attempts) with two touchdowns and two interceptions... Wells' TD passes were to Je'Ron Hamm (19 yards - 2nd quarter) and Brent Leonard (22 yards - 4th quarter).


Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

With 118 passing yards against WKU, Logan Kilgore went over the 2,000-yard mark for the season. Kilgore is just the second signal-caller in school history to record back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons after posting 2,231 yards in 2011. Kilgore joins Clint Marks who accomplished the feat in 2004 and 2005.

Freshman Jordan Parker had a huge night against the Sun Belt's top ranked defense. Parker rushed for a career-high 151 yards on 32 attempts and one touchdown. In the first quarter, Parker went 58 yards for a touchdown which went down as the longest run of his career.

Middle Tennessee registered its 25th 200-yard rushing game under Rick Stockstill with 224 yards against WKU. It marks the fourth time this season the Raiders have topped the 200 mark. WKU entered tonight's game ranked No. 1 in the SBC in total defense and was allowing just 108 rushing yards per game.

With two touchdown receptions tonight against WKU, wide receiver Anthony Amos ran his season total to eight. That ranks tied for the third most in a single-season at MT and is three shy of equaling the school record of 11 set by Kerry Wright in 2004.

Sophomore Reggie Whatley turned in a huge game in the kickoff return department. Whatley broke a 96-yard return for a touchdown to give MT a 34-27 lead, which went down as the fifth longest in school history. Whatley finished the game with a school-record 222 yards on kick returns, while also recovering a fumble for the Blue Raiders in the second half.

 For the third time in four years, the Blue Raiders are bowl eligible. Middle Tennessee posted six wins in 2010 and had a historic 10-win season in 2009. MT has reached bowl eligibility four times under head coach Rick Stockstill.


North Texas Mean Green

With a win in the home finale against South Alabama, North Texas would finish the home schedule with a winning record at 3-2, giving the Mean Green back-to-back home winning seasons for the first time since 2003 and 2004.

North Texas is averaging 19,668 fans at Apogee Stadium, which currently is the second highest total in school history. North Texas needs 19,854 in the home finale to break the all-time record for highest average in single season in school history.

Derek Thompson threw for 316 yards against Arkansas State, the seventh straight game he has passed for 200 yards and his third career 300-yard passing game. Thompson is only the second quarterback in school history to pass for 200-yards in seven straight games, passing Giovanni Vizza (2008) and Steve Ramsey (1968) and trails only Mitch Maher who passed for 200-yards in 10 straight games in 1994. Thompson can tie that record with 200 yards passing in the final three regular season games. Thompson's 316 yards passing rank as the 26th most in school history. Thompson now has 2,064 yards for the season which is 9th in school history in a single season. The school record for passing yards in a single season is 3,103, set by Mitch Maher in 1994. Thompson is on pace to finish in the top-five in school history.

Darnell Smith had a career-high seven catches and 107 yards receiving. The walk-on wide receiver topped the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.

North Texas had 400-yards of total offense for the fourth straight game. It is the first time the Mean Green has had four straight games of total offense under Dan McCarney and the first time that has happened since 2008.


South Alabama Jaguars

LB Jake Johnson posted a game- and USA season-best 15 total stops against Florida International on Saturday, which included his second sack of the season - it was the fifth time in nine games this season that he has led the Jaguars in stops as well as his fourth contest with a double-figure tackle total. The senior has also been credited with at least one stop for loss in every game this fall. … Ross Metheny posted a school game-record 326 yards of total offense against the Golden Panthers, completing 19-of-37 attempts for 270 yards and rushing for 56 more on eight carries. The junior transfer is eighth in the Sun Belt Conference in league contests with 212.8 yards of total offense per outing, while since earning the starting job prior to USA"s game at Arkansas State he is averaging 225.3 yards per game through the air. … T.J. Glover opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run - the longest by a Jag this fall - midway through the first quarter, his first score in the ground since USA defeated Arkansas-Monticello on Nov. 11, 2010. The sophomore also had a 36-yard punt return to set up another Jaguar score, finishing the contest with a team-leading 104 all-purpose yards; it was the first time since the season opener against Texas-San Antonio that he has reached double digits in the category. … DL Montavious Williams was credited with a season-high five tackles against FIU, including his first career solo sack. The junior had six total stops in the previous four games combined, and had not recorded a tackle for loss since the Mississippi State contest on Sept. 22. … Junior WR Corey Besteda posted a career-high 96 yards on three catches, including the longest reception in school history when he caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on the opening play of the second half. It was the most receiving yards by a Jaguar this year after he had just one catch in the previous two outings combined. … Wes Saxton had no catches the five games leading into USA's match-up with the Golden Panthers, but went out and equaled his season total entering play after collecting a game-high six catches for 92 yards. The sophomore had at least one catch of two of the Jaguars' four scoring drives, including a 24-yard reception late in the third quarter that helped lead to the final points of the game. … Sophomore Will Thompson had his first sack and fumble forced since the Jags defeated Henderson (Ark.) State on Oct. 29 last year, with USA turning its lone takeaway of the day into points when Glover scored four minutes later. It was the second straight week that Thompson has recorded three total stops after he had one in each of the two previous games.

Troy Trojans

The 84,189 fans in attendance was the eighth largest crowd Troy has ever played in front of …The Trojans 48 points are the most they have ever scored against an SEC opponent; 34 was the previous high, at Georgia in 2007 … Troy's 721 yards are the most ever given up by Tennessee. It is also the most yards Troy has had this season … Shawn Southward ran for two touchdowns on the day, his fourth multi-touchdown game of the season and ninth of his career …Chip Reeve's 51-yard touchdown was his fourth catch of at least 50 yards this season, the most in the Sun Belt Conference; the catch was also the third longest touchdown play of the season for Troy … Deon Anthony's 51-yard pass to Chip Reeves in the second quarter was the longest completion of his career … Southward's 39-yard rush in the second quarter was the second longest rush of the season for the Trojans … Anthony's 28-yard rush for a touchdown marked the first time this season that the Trojans have scored a touchdown on three consecutive drives; the Trojans would go on to score a touchdown on four consecutive drives, the first time since September 13, 2008, against Alcorn State … The 20 second quarter points was the most scored in one quarter by the Trojans since they scored 24 in the second quarter of the New Orleans Bowl 2010 against Ohio … With his 144 yards receiving, Chip Reeves became the first ever Trojan with four 100-yard games in a single season … The Trojans scored (either a touchdown or a field goal) on five consecutive drives between the second and third quarters. It was the first time since the Trojans scored on eight consecutive drives at the New Orleans Bowl in 2010 against Ohio … Eric Thomas' 67-yard touchdown was the second longest play of the season for the Trojans. It is also the longest reception of Thomas' career. It is his fifth multi-touchdown game of his career … Southward moved into sole possession of eighth all-time in points scored with 198, he is now tied for second place all-time in touchdowns scored, with 34; His 32 rushing touchdowns are tied for second all-time with Mike Turk; His nine rushing touchdowns this season are ninth most inone season in program history; His 2,574 rushing yards are the fourth most in the history of the program; His 501 rushes are the fourth most in the history of the program … Reeves' 1,722 career receiving yards are eighth most all-time; His 103 receptions are 13th most; His 13 receiving touchdowns are 11th most all-time … Eric Thomas' two touchdowns on the day give him 16 for his career, tied for the fifth most all-time; His 120 receptions are the sixth most all-time … Corey Robinson moved up the Sun Belt Conference career charts on Saturday as well; His 9,336 passing yards are now second most in the history of the conference; His 9,126 total yards are fourth most all-time .. Bryan Willis had a career-high three pass breakups on the day.

WKU Hilltoppers

Junior running back Antonio Andrews rushed for 136 yards - his seventh straight 100-yard game, which is one shy of tying the school record. In the process, he also went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season - marking the 16th time a Hilltopper has accomplished the feat. It is also the third straight season WKU has produced a 1,000-yard rusher as Bobby Rainey ran for 1,649 yards in 2010 and a school-record 1,695 in 2011. That last happened from 1997-99 as Willie Taggart had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and Rod Smart eclipsed the mark in 1999. Andrews finished the night with a career-best 392 all-purpose yards, adding 54 receiving yards, 182 kickoff return yards and 20 punt return yards to his rushing total. He now ranks fifth on WKU's single-season list with 1,972 all-purpose yards. The school record is 2,101 set by Bobby Rainey in 2009. His 392 all-purpose yards were also the most by a Hilltoppers since Joey Stockton set a Division I-AA record with 467 yards against Southern Illinois on Sept. 16, 1995. Andrews' 182 kickoff return yards ties for the second most in a game in WKU history. Joey Stockton finished with 182 yards against Southern Illinois on Nov. 2, 1996.

Kawaun Jakes threw three touchdown passes in the game, giving him 18 for the season. That ties the school record set by Jeff Cesarone during the 1985 campaign. Jakes also now has 47 career touchdown passes - the second most in Hilltopper history, and three behind the school record of 50 set by Justin Haddix from 2003-06. Jakes also moved into third place on WKU's career list for total offense.

 Tight end Jack Doyle caught three passes for 32 yards, moving him into a tie with Curtis Hamilton for second place on WKU's career receptions list with 149.

 Three Hilltoppers posted double-digit tackles against MTSU - Kiante Young and Jonathan Dowling each set new career highs with 14 and 10 tackles, respectively, while Andrew Jackson tied a career-high with 13 tackles. It was the fourth double-digit tackle game for Jackson in the last five contests.

 With 11.5 sacks this season, senior defensive end Quanterus Smith has already equaled his total from the previous three seasons combined. It has also put him within reach of a Sun Belt Conference record. With 23 career quarterback take-downs, he is just one shy of tying the league mark of 24 set by Middle Tennessee's Erik Walden from 2004-07. The single-season league record for sacks is 13, set by Troy's Jonathan Massaquoi in 2010 and equalled by Arkansas State's Brandon Joiner in 2011.



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