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Sun Belt Conference News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
ARKANSAS STATE: The reigning Sun Belt Conference champion Red Wolves put together an outstanding all-around performance in their season opener, dismantling Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 62-11. UAPB had no answer for Arkansas State's (1-0) rushing attack, as the Red Wolves racked up an incredible 509 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns. David Oku, Sirgregory Thornton, Michael Gordon and Fredi Knighten each eclipsed the 100-yard plateau as the squad tied an FBS record with four players rushing for at least 100 yards in the same game. The potent rushing attack meant a lack of work for Adam Kennedy under center, although he did complete 9-of-12 passes for 149 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Julian Jones. ASU hits the road this Saturday to take on former coach Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers.
GEORGIA STATE: In their first game as a member of the FBS, the Panthers disappointed against FCS foe Samford. After leading by a touchdown late in the third quarter, they surrendered 24 unanswered points late and eventually lost, 31-21. Ronnie Bell was busy under center, completing 28-of-51 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned for a score. Albert Wilson was Bell's primary target, hauling in eight balls for 167 yards and a touchdown, his eighth-career 100- yard receiving game. Kelton Hill was also stellar with five receptions for 54 yards and a pair of TDs, and he also added 28 rushing yards on just two attempts. Gerald Howse tallied 14 carries, but converted them into only 29 yards. Georgia State (0-1) will host Chattanooga this Saturday.
LOUISIANA: The Ragin' Cajuns offense was stifled in the season opener, racking up a meager 274 total yards against Arkansas as they fell by the score of 34-14. Terrance Broadway was lackluster under center, completing 15-of-28 pass attempts for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception while being sacked three times. Broadway's lone scoring strike found the hands of Jacob Maxwell, who caught six passes for a career-high 77 yards. Alonzo Harris had a nice game in limited opportunities, rushing for 56 yards on 10 carries, including a two-yard touchdown. The defense had no answer for the Razorbacks' offensive attack, which amassed 522 total yards. Louisiana (0-1) has another tough road game this Saturday when it plays at Kansas State.
TEXAS STATE: Trailing late in the fourth quarter, Tyler Arndt ran in the game- winning 17-yard touchdown to lift the Bobcats to a 22-15 triumph over Southern Miss, marking the second straight year they won their season opener on the road against a Conference USA opponent (also beating Houston in 2012, 30-13). Arndt's late touchdown run made up for an otherwise lackluster outing, as he completed 13-of-19 passes for just 111 yards. Jordan Moore threw the only scoring strike for Texas State (1-0), hooking up with Robert Lowe for a 23- yard touchdown. The defense allowed 400 yards of total offense, but recovered four fumbles and picked off a pair of passes. Texas State will play its home opener on Saturday against Prairie View A&M
SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars scratched and clawed from start to finish in their lid lifter versus Southern Utah, coming from 10 points down to lead late in the fourth quarter, but they were done in by a last-second field goal as they fell in a heart-breaker, 22-21. South Alabama (0-1) employed a two-quarterback system on the night, and while Ross Metheny was effective (12-of-17, 112 yards, two TDs), Brandon Bridge struggled (6-of-11, 36 yards, interception). Bridge did manage to help with his legs, however, ripping off a 40-yard touchdown run. Jay Jones gained 92 yards on just nine carries, while Jereme Jones (five receptions, 26 yards, TD) and Danny Woodson (three receptions, 63 yards, TD) both had solid debuts in the receiving game. The Jags head to New Orleans this Saturday for a non-conference bout with Tulane.
TROY: The Trojans were able to hold off the UAB Blazers in overtime, 34-31, thanks in large part to a historic night from quarterback Corey Robinson. Completing 30-of-32 passes attempts for 319 yards and a touchdown, Robinson's .938 completion percentage set a single-game NCAA record (with a minimum of 30 completions), breaking Steve Sarkisian's previous mark of .912 percent set back in 1995. Eric Thomas was the primary beneficiary of Robinson's exploits, hauling in five balls for 69 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Chunn, Deon Anthony and Brandon Burks all added rushing scores in the victory. Troy (1-0) will try to keep the momentum going this Saturday when it takes on Savannah State.
ULM: The Warhawks faced a difficult task in their season opener by having to travel to 16th-ranked Oklahoma, where they were shut out in a 34-0 final. ULM (0-1) owned one of the Sun Belt's most explosive offenses a year ago, but could only manage nine first downs and 166 yards of total offense against the stout Sooners. Kolton Browning finished 20-of-39 for 128 yards and an interception. Eight different rushers combined to pick up only 38 yards on 22 carries (1.7 ypc). ULM will try to get on track this Saturday when it opens up its home slate versus Grambling State.
WESTERN KENTUCKY: For the second straight season, the Hilltoppers defeated their intrastate rivals from the SEC, taking down the Kentucky Wildcats in a 36-25 final. Antonio Andrews picked up where he left off last season as a multi-faceted weapon, racking up 194 all-purpose yards, with most of his damage coming on the ground (99 yards, TD). Leon Allen earned just 10 carries but they resulted in 92 yards and a score, and Keshawn Simpson finished with only 34 yards, but converted on a pair of short touchdowns. Brandon Doughty was efficient in his debut under center, completing 27-of-34 passes for 271 yards, tossing his first-career touchdown pass to Mitchell Henry (six receptions, 65 yards) in the process. Xavius Boyd shined defensively with 10 tackles and two sacks. WKU (0-1) has another SEC test on tap, as the team travels to Knoxville this Saturday to challenge the Tennessee Volunteers.
09/02 13:03:00 ET
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