Week One in the Sun Belt
All eight Sun Belt teams were in action in the first week of play and the league was 4-4 in those games. Western Kentucky, Troy, Arkansas State and Texas State were all victorious in their season openers.
Besides the Cajuns’ 34-14 loss to Arkansas…….
WESTERN KENTUCKY 35, KENTUCKY 26
Sun Belt fans take note: WKU did not have a 100 yard rusher in the opener. New head coach Bobby Petrino put his mark on the program in the win as Brandon Doughty set a school FBS record with 27 completions in 35 attempts for 271 yards and a touchdown. The Hilltoppers defense had ten tackles for loss in the game, as WKU beat Kentucky for the second straight year.
TROY 34, UAB 31 (OT)
Troy’s Craig Robinson set an NCAA record for completion percentage in a game, completing 30-32 passes for 319 yards as Troy rallied from a two touchdown fourth quarter deficit. Robinson also became the Sun Belt’s all time leader in passing yardage and completions in the win. Deon Anthony scored the tying touchdown with 1:46 left in regulation and Will Scott hit a 30 yard field goal in the overtime to seal the win.16) OKLAHOMA 34, ULM 0 Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight had 103 yards rushing and threw three touchdown passes to lead the Sooners to the win over the Warhawks. Senior quarterback Kolton Browning was held to just 128 yards passing (20-39) and was picked off once. OU did all its damage in the second and third quarters. ULM amassed just nine first downs and 166 yards in offense. TEXAS STATE 22, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 15 The Bobcats spoiled the debut of new USM coach Todd Monken, forcing seven USM turnovers in the win. TSU quarterback Tyler Arndt led the Bobcats on a 10 play, 75 yard drive and scored the winning touchdown with 2:54 remaining on a 17 yard run. Arndt finished 13-19 for 111 yards as the Bobcats won despite being outgained by the Golden Eagles 400-215. ARKANSAS STATE 66, ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF 11 The Red Wolves had four players rush for more than 100 yards in the easy win as ASU rolled up more than 500 yards rushing in Brian Harsin’s debut as the ASU coach. Arkansas State amassed 672 yards in total offense. The in-state matchup drew 30, 451 fans to Liberty Bank Stadium in Jonesboro. It was the ninth straight home win for the Red Wolves, the second longest such streak in the FBS. SOUTHERN UTAH 22, SOUTH ALABAMA 21 South Alabama lost on a late field goal for the second consecutive season as the Thunderbirds were victorious in their first-ever game against an FBS opponent. Colton Cook hit the 28 yard game winner with no time left on the clock. SUU drove from their own 35 to the South Alabama 9 yard line to set up the score. The statistics were about as even as the score. with the Jaguars winning that statistic, 335-317. Last year it was a 51 yard field goal in the final seconds that lifted Texas-San Antonio to a win over the Jaguars. SAMFORD 31, GEORGIA STATE 21 The Panthers first game as an FBS school didn’t end well for Georgia State, as Samford scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to spoil the debut of new GSU coach Trent Miles. The Panthers outgained Samford 463-298, but two interceptions and a kickoff return spelled doom at the Georgia Dome for the home team. Fabian Truss returned the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown and Jaquiski Tartt scored on an interception return for a score.
(information from school websites contributed to this story.)