Saturday in the Sun Belt
A stunner in Starkville and a 3OT game were the highlights of Sun Belt play on Saturday. Three coaches also made their SBC debut, and all three came away with wins. Here are capsules of what happened.
SOUTH ALABAMA 21, MISSISSIPPI STATE 20--The Jaguars trailed 17-0, but had drives of 99 and 71 yards in the fourth quarter. Dallas Davis, making his first start, threw a four yard touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Everett with 57 seconds remaining. Davis finished the day 24-34 for 285 yards and two scores. Mississippi State had a chance to win it, but Westin Graves' 28 yard attempt was off the upright. The Jaguars were a four touchdown underdog.
TEXAS STATE 56, OHIO 54 (3 OT)--Everett Withers' debut as the coach of the Bobcats was a successful one as three touchdown underdog Texas State knocked off Ohio University in triple overtime, 56-54. Marcus Ripley kicked a 27 yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime. Tyler Jones threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass from L. G. Williams to start the third overtime and then passed for the two point conversion for what proved to be the game winner.
UTEP 38, NEW MEXICO STATE 22--The Miners' Zach Greenlee threw for three touchdowns to lead UTEP to a win over their arch-rivals. Aaron Jones added 249 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Tyler Rogers threw for 206 yards on 17-of-41 passing for the Aggies. He also ran for 63 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. NMSU was without the services of Pre-season SBC Offensive Player of the Year Larry Rose III, who sat out the game while recovering from hernia surgery.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 54, SAVANNAH STATE 0--Before the game, the Eagles announced the suspension of seven players for the opening game, but it didn't phase Georgia Southern as they rolled up 600 yards in offense in steamrolling Savannah State. QB Favian Upshaw threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in giving head coach Tyson Summers his first career win at GS.
TROY 57, AUSTIN PEAY 17--Jordan Chunn rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Silvers was 20-27 for 229 yards and a pair of scores as Troy rolled up over 700 yards of offense in dominating the Governors. Austin Peay had a 14-13 lead before the Trojans outscored them 44-3 the rest of the way.
UL MONROE 38, SOUTHERN 21--The Warhawks led just 14-12 at halftime but put the game away in the second half. Garrett Smith hit 20-33 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. He also ran one in from 13 yards out. Southern hung tough for most of the contest, but Austin Vaughn's six yard run in the final minute put the game out of reach. The win made it a successful debut for new ULM coach Matt Viator.
FRIDAY'S GAMES--Ball State 31, Georgia State 21,
Toledo 31, Arkansas State 10
THURSDAY--#9 Tennessee 20, Appalachian State 13 (OT)
Idaho 20, Montana State 17
Coming soon: Coastal Carolina 38, Lamar 14
NEXT WEEK'S OPPONENT: McNEESE ST. 33, TARLETON STATE 3