Tidbits From the Sun Belt Week One
For the most part, week one in the Sun Belt means either you're traveling to play a Power Five conference school, or you're opening up against an FCS opponent at home. And, with exception of two games, that's exactly what happened over the weekend. You may have seen the scores, but you may not have noticed some of the details. Here's a quick rundown.
HOWARD (0) AT APPALACHIAN STATE (49)--The Bison were certainly outnumbered and outmanned, but even taking that into consideration, the Mountaineers were pretty impressive. They averaged 7.9 ypp for the game, had more than 300 yards both rushing and passing. The defense allowed just 36 net yards rushing and Howard was just 1-12 on third down.
ARKANSAS STATE (6) AT USC (55)--The Red Wolves had over 400 yards in offense and recorded five sacks. But QB Fredi Knighten was just 8-23 for 86 yards with nearly half of that coming on one play. A-State was -3 in turnovers. But the Red Wolves did show they can move the football with 19 first downs in the game.
CHARLOTTE (23) AT GEORGIA STATE (20)--The Panthers have the SBC Defensive player of the week after Bobby Baker intercepted two passes and recovered three fumbles. And, they were still down 23-6 entering the fourth quarter. GSU rushed for fewer than 100 net yards and turned it over three times, one returned for a touchdown...against a team that was playing their first game as an FBS school. The Panthers still have not recorded a win over an FBS school in its history. Oh, their opening crowd was "announced" at 10,252
OHIO (45) AT IDAHO (28)--Ohio was up 21-0, scoring on two offensive touchdowns and an interception return. The Bobcats rolled up almost 500 yards in offense and had a 3-1 turnover margin. Two Ohio quarterbacks combined to go 20-25 passing for 284 yards and three touchdowns. A rousing 11,587 were there for opening night on Thursday. Now the Vandals go to USC. Whew.....
ULM (14), AT GEORGIA (51)---Rashon Ceasar had 13 catches, including a pair of touchdowns, but ULM's defense got nothing accomplished against Georgia (435 yards) in a game that was called with nine minutes left because of showers. The search for someone to replace K/P Justin Manton continues. ULM averaged 30 yards per punt, 25 net on Saturday.
AT SOUTH ALABAMA (33), GARDNER-WEBB (23)--Amazingly, South Alabama only had the ball for a little over 21 minutes and still racked up 409 yards of offense. They had four plays which totaled 247 yards. And, there was a rousing crowd of 12,289 in Mobile for the season opener.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (0), WEST VIRGINIA (44)--Just two stats will tell the story. Georgia Southern had 29 yards passing....and they were one of only three teams in the FBS not to get into the red zone the entire game (Tulane, Texas).
NEW MEXICO STATE (13) AT FLORIDA (61)--Just 200 yards for the Aggies. And, a Florida team that isn't expected to be a great offensive team had 606 and more than seven yards per play. The good news? The Aggies, who were a turnover machine last year, turned it over just once.
TEXAS STATE (16) AT FLORIDA STATE (59)---The Seminoles had 636 yards in offense and averaged nearly nine yards per play. One telling statistic: The Bobcats completed 26 passes....for 180 yards. And, their quarterbacks were their two leading rushers.
TROY (21) AT N. C. STATE (49)--Brandon Silvers and Brandon Burks had decent games for the Trojans. But the offense had only 13 first downs and were 1-9 on third down. The good stat? Troy scored three touchdowns with only EIGHTEEN minutes of possession time. Imagine if they could keep the football....