Three Things We Learned From Week 3 of Sun Belt Action

The third week of the season had relatively few surprises for the Sun Belt. Most of the games went the way they were supposed to and it seemed business as usual for the conference. Still, there were some things we couldn’t help but notice.

Right now, Troy is the best team in the Sun Belt

With a shocking 37-31 win at Southern Miss plus Georgia Southern struggling in a 23-21 home win over UL-Monroe and App State getting donkey punched 45-10 by #25 Miami, it’s time to vault the Trojans not only into the top tier, but to the top position of the top tier. Despite having 112 less yards, the Trojans controlled the ball and took advantage of several USM miscues to build a 24-10 lead in the second quarter, then hold on late when Southern Miss had the ball with only 12 yards to paydirt.

Brandon Silvers only went 10 of 27 passing for 123 yards, but had three touchdowns on the evening. Jordan Chunn, dubbed MegaChunn by Troy’s Twitter, went for 176 yards on 36 (!) carries.

The win along with the near-miss at Clemson has Neal Brown’s side looking more and more ready to challenge for the Sun Belt title. First up is this Saturday night at home hosting a tricky New Mexico State side.

Georgia State is a mystery inside an enigma

The 0-3 Panthers normally wouldn’t be a point of conversation, but G-State went to Madison this past weekend and damn-near upset the Badgers, falling in the end 23-17. Wisky controlled the ball and probably should have had the game in hand, but Georgia State hung around and put a scare into the home team.

Conner Manning is looking much better, going 20 of 29 for 269 yards and a touchdown versus the Badgers, but the rushing game is still a mess with 24 carries for 33 yards. Robert Davis had eight catches for 93 yards and Glenn Smith got 5 for 131 yards.

Is this the real Georgia State? Or is it the side that got blown out 48-14 at Air Force only having the ball for an FBS-record low of 14:46 in giving up 464 yards rushing to the Falcons? We’ll find out in two weeks (bye this week) as the Panthers will trek up to App State.

We’ll learn a lot about the Sun Belt in Week 4

Right now the Sun Belt is 5-17 versus FBS teams and 4-9 vs Group of Five teams with the four wins being Texas State over Ohio, App State over Old Dominion, New Mexico State over New Mexico and Troy over Southern Miss. There are five Sun Belt versus G5 team match-ups in Week Four.

  • Appalachian State at Akron
  • Georgia Southern at Western Michigan
  • #6 Houston at Texas State
  • Louisiana at Tulane
  • Idaho at UNLV

All five are tough opponents for the Sun Belt. Akron dropped 65 in Huntington versus Marshall, Texas State likely will be partying everywhere in San Marcos except the end zone, Tulane played Wake Forest and Navy close and you never know with Idaho. Still these are all interesting and four of them are winnable games for the Sun Belt. Yes, WMU is 2-0 versus the Big Ten and looking awesome, but the Eagles boat-raced the Broncos 43-17 last season in Statesboro.

After this week, there are only three more Sun Belt versus G5 non-conference games left on the 2016 schedule. So for the Sun Belt to have a great chance and finishing higher up in the G5 rankings (and make more money), this is a pivotal week for the league to step up.

 

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