Saturday in the Sun Belt – Troy Dominates NMSU
Nine Sun Belt teams were in action on Saturday, with just one league game.
But there were there were three overtime games, and a couple of surprises in the league.
In addition to the Cajuns heartbreaking 41-39 4OT loss to Tulane, here's what else happened in the league on Saturday.
TROY 52, NEW MEXICO STATE 6--The Trojans are 3-1 for the first time since moving to the FBS in 2001, as Brandon Silvers threw for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Trojans' league opener.
But it was opportunistic defensive play and special teams that was the real story.
The Trojan, (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) intercepted five Tyler Rogers passes and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. Troy won the lopsided game despite giving up 539 yards, including 445 passing. Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Larry Rose III saw his first action of the season for the Aggies (1-3, 0-1), gaining 56 yards on 12 carries.
IDAHO 33, UNLV 30 (OT)--Matt Linehan hit Callen Hightower with an eleven yard touchdown strike after forcing UNLV to kick a field goal in the first possession of overtime.
UNLV (1-3) had tied the game in the fourth quarter on a 55 yard run after Linehan scored on a seven yard run. Idaho (2-2) won the game despite being outgained 539-378. Linehan threw for 249 yards in the game to lead the road upset for the Vandals. The Rebels rushed for 364 yards.
APPALACHIAN STATE .45, AKRON 38--The Mountaineers (2-2) scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter en route to the win in a game where the two teams combined for 1,073 total yards.
Running back Jalin Moore, playing for the injured Marcus Cox, rushed for 257 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Taylor Lamb threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns. The Mountaineers rushed for 307 yards.
Akron (2-2) was led by quarterback Thomas Woodson, who threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 49, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 31--In Kalamazoo, four turnovers proved to be the difference as the Broncos (4-0) won the battle of the unbeatens.
Darius Phillips scored on a 100 yard kickoff return and a 70 yard interception return as WMU jumped out to a 42-17 lead. The Broncos defense held Georgia Southern's (3-1) option attack to just 202 yards on the ground. The Broncos recovered a pair of fumbles and intercepted two passes.
Quarterbacks Favian Upshaw and Kevin Ellison combined for three touchdown passes for the Eagles.
#6 HOUSTON 64, TEXAS STATE 3 --Freshman quarterback turned wide receiver D'Eriq King caught a touchdown pass, threw for a score and returned a kickoff for another in Houston's rout of Texas State (1-2).
King was converted to wideout after multiple injuries to Houston's receiving corps. The Cougars (4-0) amassed 563 yards of offense, compared to just 142 for the Bobcats.
Texas State (1-2) was held without a touchdown for the second straight game.
SOUTH ALABAMA 41, NICHOLLS STATE 40 (OT) --For the second time this season, Nicholls came close to beating an FBS opponent, but the Colonels two point attempt in overtime was stopped as the Jaguars (2-2) escaped with the win.
The Jaguars outgained the Southland Conference foe 510-230, but the Colonels (1-2) got touchdowns on an interception return and blocked field goal return to battle back from a 14-0 deficit. Nicholls led 23-14 in the third quarter and 34-27 late, but Dallas Davis threw a nine yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Williams with :09 left to force the extra period.
Xavier Johnson rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns and returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 38, ARKANSAS STATE 23--Central Arkansas beat an FBS opponent for the first time ever, as the Bears limited Arkansas Sate to just 45 yards rushing and turned four Red Wolves' touchdowns into 15 points.
Arkansas State (0-4) led 23-16 entering the fourth quarter, but UCA scored on a three yard run by Antoine Wells and a touchdown pass from Hayden Hildenbrand to Brandon Cox, the second with just over six minutes left, to get the comeback win.
Tremon Smith had a 47 yard punt return for the Bears (3-1).