Georgia State has emerged as a dark horse contender in the Sun Belt Conference after a record setting performance in Monroe vs. the ULM Warhawks. Penny Hart and Jaleel Scott are locked in a neck-and-neck race for best SBC WR. App State survived a trip to Moscow, Idaho. Arkansas State took care of business vs. Coastal. Louisiana and New Mexico State took care of business vs. floundering Texas State and Georgia Southern.
Just another week in the #FunBelt. Let’s dive in.
Georgia State 47, ULM 37
What if I told you that Conner Manning lead the conference in completion percentage (67.9) and yards per attempt (8.5)? That Penny Hart may very well be the best player in the conference? That the Panthers put up a record 670 yards of offense vs. conference leading ULM on the road? That the Panthers were undefeated in conference and on a three game winning streak?
It would all be true.
Georgia State, lead by first year head coach Shawn Elliott, may have figured this football thing out finally. After the week 1 loss to Treon Harris and Tennessee State, Sun Belt watchers were ready to write the Panthers off. “Same ole Georgia State.”
Six weeks later and Elliott has his program getting better by the week. Just check out these stats:
Conner Manning: 26/35 446 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, QBR – 94.3
Penny Hart: 11 catches, 190 yards, 3 TDs
First Downs: GSU 31, ULM 19
Total Yards: GSU 670, ULM 431
Yards per Pass: GSU 12.7, ULM 8.5
Rushing Yards: GSU 224, ULM 117
Yards per Rush: GSU 5.5, ULM 3.2
Watch out Sun Belt. Georgia State is well-funded, well-located, and now has spiffy new
Turner Petit Field to play in. Don’t underestimate the drawing power the city of Atlanta has to a 17 year old kid. If Shawn Elliott’s recruiting chops are to be believed, this is only the beginning for the Panthers.
Georgia State is 3-2, 2-0 in conference
ULM is 3-3, 3-1 in conference
Appalachian State 23, Idaho 20
In what can only be described as an aesthetic assault on the eyes, App State got its 600th win in program history Saturday over the Idaho. Idaho with their gray-on-gray uniforms and App State with their yellow uniforms, played in the peculiar Kibble Dome, made this perhaps the strangest SBC game of the weekend.
The Mountaineers had to comeback from a 20-point deficit with 8:00 left in the 3rd quarter to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Taylor Lamb threw for 3 TDs on 16/25 and 155 yards through the air. All three came in the 2nd half. He also tied the great Armanti Edwards in career TDs at App State with 74.
The Vandals did a great job stuffing App State’s running game. Jalin Moore never really got going, he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry on 17 carries. Terrence Upshaw was even less effective. Tony Lashley alone had 16 tackles and 3.5 TFLs. Idaho had 12(!) TFLs total. Let’s just say the Vandals spent a fair amount of time in the Mountaineer backfield.
It wasn’t a pleasant offensive performance. But WR Ike Lewis came up big for App State. He had a career-high 101 yards and 2 TDs on 6 catches. One TD came from 38 yards out on an ankle busting bubble screen. Another on a 45-yard post route where he leaves the Vandal secondary in the dust. Thomas Hennigan and Ike Lewis are a nice 1-2 punch at WR for the conference leaders.
Matt Linehan had a solid, yet unspectacular day, throwing for an even 200 yards on 15/28, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. Idaho RB Aaron Duckworth is currently leading the Sun Belt in rushing after gaining 113 yards on 24 carries.
Idaho is 2-4, 1-2 in conference
App State is 4-2, 3-0 in conference
Arkansas State 51, Coastal Carolina 17
Coastal Carolina got to see how they measure up against the class of the conference, Arkansas State, and, well…it went about as well as you might of expected. The Chanticleers will have to wait yet another week for their first Sun Belt victory.
Justice Hansen threw for 5 TDs and 286 yards and even added another 68 yards on the ground to lead the Red Wolves in rushing. Hansen threw to seven different receivers on the day, and four different receivers caught TD passes. Hansen has become adept at spreading the ball around. Blake Mack lead the way with 68 yards on 6 catches with 2 TDs.
Osharmar Abercrombie was a bright spot for the Chants with 102 yards on the ground on 10 carries, including a 55 yard scamper on the first play from scrimmage. He is currently 5th in the conference in rushing.
Arkansas State is 3-2, 2-0 in conference
Coastal Carolina is 1-5, 0-3 in conference
New Mexico State 35, Georgia Southern 27
Louisiana 24, Texas State 7
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