Six Sun Belt teams got the season started on the right foot as Arkansas State, Georgia State, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, New Mexico State and Texas State were all victors in seasons openers.
The total of six wins marks the best ever non-conference win total for the Sun Belt in the opening weekend of play (2014 – 6; 2013 – 4; 2012 – 4; 2011 – 0; 2010 – 2; 2009 – 3; 2008 – 1; 2007 – 0; 2006 – 3; 2005 – 3; 2004 -3; 2003 – 0; 2002 – 0; 2001 – 2).
Second week action features to conference matchups as New Mexico State travels to Atlanta to play Georgia State while UL Monroe hosts Idaho. The two games mark the first conference games of the 2014 season. The two contests also mark the first Sun Belt Conference games for Idaho and New Mexico State since the 2004 season. The Aggies and Vandals were both founding members of the Sun Belt’s football league in 2001 and both played four seasons before departing for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
Arkansas State at Tennessee – 11 a.m. (SEC Network)
South Alabama at Kent State – 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
* New Mexico State at Georgia State – 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
Campbell at Appalachian State – 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
Savannah State at Georgia Southern – 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Idaho at UL Monroe – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Louisiana Tech at UL Lafayette – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Duke at Troy – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
All times Central (CT) and subject to change
* denotes Sun Belt Conference game
Georgia State 38, Abilene Christian 37 – 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
UL Monroe 17, Wake Forest 10 – 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
New Mexico State 28, Cal Poly 10 – 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14 – 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
UAB 48, Troy 10 – 11 a.m. (Fox College Sports)
NC State 24, Georgia Southern 23 – 11:30 a.m. (ESPN3)
Arkansas State 37, Montana State 10 – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Idaho at Florida – 6 p.m. (ESPNU) – SUSPENDED
UL Lafayette 45, Southern 6 – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Texas State 65, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 0 – 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Sun Belt Players of the Week – As selected by a media voting panel
Offensive Player of the Week
Tyler Jones (Texas State, So., QB)
Tyler Jones accounted for 329 yards total offense to lead Texas State to a 65-0 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He completed 21 of 25 passes for career-bests of 278 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions. His 21 completions and 84.0 percent completion percentage were also career bests. Jones also rushed for 51 yards on six carries against the Lions. His 329 yards total offense helped Texas State to set a school record and record 697 yards as a team which is the fifth-highest total yards in Sun Belt Conference history.
Defensive Player of the Week
Mitch Lane (UL Monroe, Jr., LB)
Mitch Lane had six tackles (four solo and two assisted) during ULM’s 17-10 victory over Wake Forest on Thursday night. Trailing by a touchdown with four minutes left in the third quarter, Lane turned the game around for the Warhawks as he intercepted the Demon Deacons’ pass attempt and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10. This play, featured as #3 on ESPN’s SCTop10 Plays, inspired the offense, who marched down the field to capture the game-winning touchdown. Lane and the rest of the Warhawk defense limited the Demon Deacons to just 94 yards of total offense, the fewest yards gained against the Warhawks since 63 yards of offense by Northwestern State on Sept. 1, 2005.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Luke Ferguson (Arkansas State, K/P, Jr.)
Junior punter and kicker Luke Ferguson scored a Sun Belt Conference-best 13 points and averaged 48.5 yards per punt in Arkansas State’s 37-10 victory over No. 19 FCS-ranked Montana State. Handling place-kicking duties for the first time with the Red Wolves, Ferguson was a perfect 3-of-3 on his field goal attempts and made all four of his extra point tries. He was successful from 23, 29 and 41 yards out, helping A-State build a 16-10 lead before the Red Wolves pulled away in the fourth quarter. His three field goals not only tied the most in the Sun Belt Conference, they also tied the fourth most in the nation as of Saturday’s games. Ferguson punted four times, and all four times pinned Montana State inside its own 20-yard line. His four punts inside the 20 were also a Sun Belt Conference high. His longest punt covered 61 yards, which was just two shy of his career long, and his 48.5 yards per attempt was just 0.5 yards shy of his career best.