There were only three games in the Sun Belt in Week 6, but all three provided their own story. From A-State’s crazy come-from-behind win over Georgia Southern to Georgia State getting their first win after trailing early to Idaho’s last-second victory at Monroe, the quantity of the action was solid.
From this last week, here’s three things we learned from the Sun Belt.
Georgia Southern Can’t Block
How do you lose a game where you are +5 in the turnover battle with Matt Brieda, LA Ramsby, Wesley Fields and the injured but still dangerous Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw in the backfield to an 0-4 team? You forget how to block. That’s what happened in the Eagles’ 27-26 last-minute loss in Jonesboro on Wednesday.
Tyson Summers’ biggest problem in Statesboro right now is getting some linemen to block properly. Arkansas State might have been 0-4, but they had team speed. Anyone with team speed is a threat to the Eagles.
The core foundation for Georgia Southern going 9-3 and 9-4 in their first two FBS seasons under Willie Fritz was their lineman opening holes that trucks could run through. Having great backs helps, but the blocking was the best in the Sun Belt. That’s gone now under Summers and until it comes back, the Eagles are in trouble. I’m sure former Georgia Southern head coach Paul Johnson won’t mind giving a lesson next Saturday in Atlanta.
The Rebuilding Project At Texas State Will Take Time
Winning in triple overtime in the first game of the season at Ohio looks to have been the ceiling for the Bobcats this season. The next three games went how you would expect them too, but Saturday’s game at Georgia State was the first true measuring stick.
After going up 14-0 after the first, it all came apart for Texas State. The Panthers scored 24 in the second and never looked back in a 41-21 victory. The game was a team that had built up depth versus a team with no depth.
Before the season, Everett Withers was sandbagging enough for Hurricane Matthew. With the attrition due to the coaching change, the Bobcats were going to be short numbers all over the field, especially on defense. That has shown itself so far in 2016 and won’t get better until signing day.
Now 2-3, the Bobcats have a chance to get back to .500 at ULM next week. Before the season, I said Texas State could be the most fun 3-9 team in America. They could do one win better, but it’ll be at least one more year before they have a bowl contender on their hands.
Idaho Can Finish Games
The Vandals’ 34-31 walk-off victory at ULM on Saturday wasn’t pretty, but it showed that Paul Petrino’s side has something that has been lacking in recent years. The ability to win late.
With two late road wins at UNLV and ULM now, the senior-laden team might have the momentum and experience now to grab themselves a bowl bid. Standing 3-3, finding three wins in their final six games isn’t impossible. Idaho has the offense to stay in games and now, the defense is making enough plays to help out.
Idaho isn’t going to contend for the Sun Belt, but with enough depth and talent built up, one final bowl trip is a real possibility.