Sun Belt Conference News and Notes

8:26 AM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ARKANSAS STATE: Behind an impressive offensive attack, the Red Wolves went into hostile territory in Lafayette last Tuesday night and took down Louisiana, 50-27, winning their sixth straight conference road game in the process. Arkansas State (5-3, 3-1 Sun Belt) piled up 526 yards of total offense, with a good chunk of that (257 yards) coming from the rushing game. Rocky Hayes (86 yards) led the team on just three carries, which included a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. David Oku (22 carries, 85 yards, TD) and Frankie Jackson (17 carries, 77 yards, two TDs) were also active participants. Ryan Aplin was impressive yet again, completing 21-of-31 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown, and he now has at least one scoring pass in 32 of his 36 career games. The Red Wolves could have scored even more, but they had to settle for a season-high five field goals from Brian Davis. They will enjoy an 11-day break before trying for their fourth straight win against North Texas this Saturday.

FIU: The Panthers hung tough at home against one of the conference's best teams, but they ultimately fell, 14-6, narrowly missing out on their first Sun Belt win of the season. The offense put up 342 yards but failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time this season. The only source of scoring came from a pair of field goals by Jack Griffin (29, 39). Jake Medlock completed 15-of-30 passes for 187 yards with an interception. Wayne Times caught five passes for 54 yards and also completed a pass for 69 yards. Willis Wright (five receptions, 128 yards) topped the century mark in receiving for the third consecutive week after failing to do so in his first 15 career games. The Panthers can hang their hat on the fact that they put forth their best defensive performance of the season, holding WKU under 300 yards while recording three sacks and an interception. FIU (1-8, 0-5 Sun Belt) goes on the road to take on South Alabama this Saturday.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC: In their Homecoming game, the Owls recorded their first Sun Belt Conference win of the season by defeating Troy in dramatic fashion, 34-27. Down by one in the final minute of regulation, Graham Wilbert connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to William Dukes to lift FAU to a dramatic victory. Wilbert was fantastic, completing 26-of-40 passes for 261 yards and a season-high four touchdowns to pair with zero interceptions. It's the third consecutive game Wilbert has thrown for at least as many passing yards. Nexon Dorvilus was the primary beneficiary of Wilbert's success with six catches for 78 yards and two scores, and Dukes (six receptions, 41 yards) and Jenson Stoshak (two receptions, 22 yards) also caught touchdowns. Although he didn't get into the scoring act, Jonathan Wallace (24 carries, 87 yards) had an effective day nonetheless. The defense stepped up its game as well, holding Troy quarterback Corey Robinson to less than 50 percent completions. FAU (2-6, 1-4 Sun Belt) will try to make it two in a row for the first time this season when it plays at Navy this Saturday.

LOUISIANA: The Cajuns played a sloppy game last Tuesday night against Arkansas State, committing five turnovers in an uncharacteristic loss at Cajun Field, 50-27. It was their second straight loss, and they currently sit 2-2 in Sun Belt play and 4-3 overall. Terrance Broadway's final stat line looked impressive (28-of-39, 374 yards, three TDs), but most of that production came as Louisiana was playing catch-up, as it was down 20-0 early in the second quarter. Broadway also tossed a career-high three interceptions. Darryl Surgent tallied season-highs in both catches (five) and yards (107) while hauling in two of Broadway's touchdown passes and adding more than 100 yards in the kick return game. Jamal Robinson (five receptions, 106 yards) also topped the century mark receiving. The rushing game couldn't get anything going against the Arkansas State front, totaling just 76 yards on 23 carries (3.3 ypc). The Cajuns will try to stop the current slide this Saturday when they take on first-place ULM on the road.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Behind a solid all-around performance, the Blue Raiders took care of business at home against North Texas over the weekend, winning 38-21. They piled up 488 yards of total offense, which included three touchdowns of 45 yards or longer. Logan Kilgore was fantastic, completing 20-of-30 passes for 349 yards and three scores with no interceptions. It was the third time in his career he has thrown for more than 300 yards, and he also added a 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Both Anthony Amos (eight receptions, 121 yards, TD) and Kyle Griswould (three receptions, 140 yards, two TDs) were beneficiaries of Kilgore's big day, with Griswould's yardage total setting a new career-high. Jordan Parker was far from great on the ground (18 carries, 55 yards), but he scored a touchdown. The defense also got into the act, forcing four North Texas turnovers. Middle Tennessee (5-3, 3-1 Sun Belt) has a short week to prepare for a bout with Western Kentucky on Thursday night.

NORTH TEXAS: Although they rolled up 432 yards of total offense, the Mean Green were plagued by four turnovers as they fell to Middle Tennessee over the weekend, 38-21. All of their scoring came in the second half, but it was too little, too late as they had dug themselves a 31-0 hole. Derek Thompson completed 17-of-29 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions. Darnell Smith caught just two passes but finished with a team-high 76 yards, and Carlos Harris (one reception, 13 yards) caught the team's lone touchdown pass. Despite being down big, North Texas (3-5, 2-2 Sun Belt) made a commitment to the run, with Brandin Byrd (18 carries, 87 yards) and Antoinne Jimmerson (16 carries, 85 yards, two TDs) both having nice games. The Mean Green return to action this Saturday when the team plays host to Arkansas State.

SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars fought hard on the road against the top team in the Sun Belt, even playing to a 21-21 tie in the third quarter, but they could not contain ULM late as they fell, 38-24. They continued their trend of better offensive play with Ross Metheny under center, who completed 21-of-41 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Since taking over as the starting quarterback earlier this month, Metheny has thrown six touchdowns and only two interceptions. Both of Metheny's touchdown passes went to Jereme Jones, who led the team in both receptions (seven) and receiving yards (62). Demetre Baker was impressive in the rushing game, gaining 115 yards on 14 carries, highlighted by a 61-yard run. South Alabama (2-6, 1-3 Sun Belt) will try to bounce back this Saturday when it returns home to play FIU.

TROY: After being down 17-0 in the first half, Troy mounted a comeback to take a 27-26 lead with under two minutes to play following a 31-yard touchdown run from Shawn Southward. However, the defense surrendered a touchdown with 17 seconds left as the Trojans fell, 34-27. Southward accounted for a pair of rushing scores, as he was a factor both on the ground (11 carries, 68 yards) and in the receiving game (two receptions, 44 yards). Corey Robinson finished with 211 yards passing with a touchdown, but for the most part he struggled, completing less than half of his pass attempts (15-of-32) and throwing an interception. Chip Reeves continues his impressive season (five receptions, 88 yards), marking the fifth time this year he topped 75 yards receiving. The secondary was carved up by FAU quarterback Graham Wilbert for four touchdowns. Troy (4-4, 3-3 Sun Belt) will step out of conference this Saturday to play SEC foe Tennessee in Knoxville.

ULM: Behind a record-setting day from Brent Leonard, the Warhawks continued to keep pace atop the Sun Belt Conference standings with a 38-24 home win over South Alabama. Leonard had a career-night with nine receptions for 126 yards and he tied a school-record with four receiving touchdowns. Kolton Browning's incredible season continued as he completed 23-of-35 passes for 250 yards and the four scores to Leonard. He also rushed for 41 yards. Marcus Washington was held to just 59 rushing yards on 19 carries by the South Alabama defense, but Mitchell Bailey broke loose for 44 yards on just two carries, including a 32- yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give ULM (6-2, 4-0 Sun Belt) the lead for good. The Warhawks are now bowl eligible for the third time in school history, although they've never played in a bowl game. They will try to continue their undefeated mark in conference play as rival Louisiana comes to town.

WESTERN KENTUCKY: While the Hilltoppers offense was stuck in neutral for most of the afternoon, they were still able to defeat FIU on the road, 14-6, and become bowl-eligible in the process. The defense was the big story, as the unit recorded a season-high nine sacks, including five from Quanterus Smith, while holding the Panthers without a touchdown. Kawaun Jakes was unimpressive under center, completing 14-of-21 passes for 128 yards with no touchdowns and an interception, although he managed to redeem his stat line somewhat by rushing in a touchdown in the first quarter. Antonio Andrews' spectacular season continued as he carried the ball 27 times for 158 yards, including a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game out of reach. It was Andrews' sixth consecutive game with at least 100 yards rushing, the longest active streak in the nation among running backs. WKU (6-2, 3-1 Sun Belt) has a quick turnaround this week as it hosts Middle Tennessee on Thursday night.

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