December 13, 2017

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2017 Sun Belt Football Season Headed Towards Thrilling Conclusion

The Sun Belt football season will come to a close this upcoming Saturday and it won’t be a quiet day around the league. Chatter about the 2017 Sun Belt Championship and postseason bowl games will be heard from Boone, N.C. to Las Cruces, N.M. and many stops in-between.

At Appalachian State, the Mountaineers will be looking for a share of the Sun Belt Conference Championship for the second consecutive season. To do so, they will need to top a Louisiana team that is looking to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive season and sixth time in the last seven years. That game will get underway at 1:30 p.m. CT at Kidd-Brewer Stadium and is available for viewing on ESPN3/WatchESPN.

App. State will not be able to win the outright Sun Belt title on Saturday as a Mountaineer win will leave them tied with the winner of the Arkansas State and Troy game Saturday evening. All three of those teams currently have one conference loss.

The Red Wolves and Trojans will face each other at 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2 in Jonesboro with the winner guaranteed no worse than a share of the Sun Belt title. Should Appalachian State lose to Louisiana, the winner will be the outright champion of the conference.

An Arkansas State win will give the Red Wolves their sixth Sun Belt title in the last seven years and seventh title overall. Troy, meanwhile, is in search of its sixth Sun Belt title and first since winning five consecutive titles from 2006 through 2010. Arkansas State has won four straight games in the series (2011-16) after Troy won four straight (2007-10). Troy is 3-6 all-time in Jonesboro and have lost two straight there.

Out west, New Mexico State will be looking to hit the bowl eligibility mark when they play South Alabama at 3:30 p.m. CT on ESPN3/WatchESPN. The Aggies will be looking to end a bowl drought that stretches back to 1960 when they played in the Sun Bowl. It is the longest bowl drought in college football.

Upcoming Schedule

Saturday, December 2
ULM at Florida State – 11 a.m. (ACC Network)
* Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina – 12 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Idaho at Georgia State – 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Louisiana at Appalachian State – 1:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
* South Alabama at New Mexico State – 3:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Troy at Arkansas State – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

* denotes Sun Belt Conference game
All times Central (CT) and subject to change

Recent Results

Friday, November 24
* Troy 62, Texas State 9 – 3 p.m. (ESPN3)

Saturday, November 25
* Appalachian State 31, Georgia State 10 – 1 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Arkansas State 67, ULM 50 – 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
* New Mexico State 17, Idaho 10 – 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Georgia Southern 34, Louisiana 24 – 4 p.m. (ESPN3)

Sun Belt Football Players of the Week

Offensive Player of the Week

Justice Hansen, Arkansas State (Jr., QB)
Junior quarterback Justice Hansen broke the Arkansas State record for passing yards (520), while also setting the school record for total offense (550) and accounting for a career-high six touchdowns (4 passing, 2 rushing) in the Red Wolves’ 67-50 road victory over ULM. Hansen’s passing yards and total offense output both ranked as the fifth highest in the nation this season, helping Arkansas State pile up 781 yards total offense that broke the school and Sun Belt records as well. He completed 26-of-38 passing attempts with three of his four touchdowns going to different players. Hansen’s two rushing touchdowns covered eight and 38 yards and came on back-to-back possessions to start the third quarter. His 520 passing yards ranked as the third most in Sun Belt history, his touchdowns responsible for tied the third most and his 550 yards total offense the fourth most.

Defensive Player of the Week

Cedric Wilcots II, New Mexico State (So., DL)
Against Idaho, Cedric Wilcots II led an Aggie defense that recorded a program high 11 sacks in their game against Idaho. With a personal career-high six tackles and 3.5 sacks, Wilcots helped NM State pick up its fifth win of the season.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Marcus Green, ULM (Jr., WR)
Marcus Green accounted for a school single-game record 418 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in ULM’s game against Arkansas State this past Saturday. Green returned six kickoffs for a ULM single-game record 206 yards, including a 95-yard runback for a TD in the third quarter. It marked Green’s fourth kickoff return for a score this season. He also had eight receptions for a career-best 193 yards, including a 32-yard TD grab from Caleb Evans in the first quarter.

Sun Belt News and Notes

Sun Belt Membership
Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy give the league 10 full-time members that compete in football. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in all sports other than football. Idaho and New Mexico State compete only in the sport of football.

Sun Belt Bowl Partners
In 2001, the Sun Belt Conference began sponsoring football and created the inaugural New Orleans bowl in December of that year. The conference now stands as one of the 10 premier college football leagues in the country.

As part of the College Football Playoff a worthy football team in the Sun Belt can be in the national championship picture, and the league is a permanent part of the “Group of Five” conferences (joining the American Athletic Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA) that sends its highest-rated champion to a premier January 1st bowl game.

In the last four years the Sun Belt Conference has gone from having two primary bowl partnerships to five in 2017. From 2001 to 2009 the Sun Belt Conference had only one bowl partner.

College Football Playoff
Opportunity to select Sun Belt Champion for one of six bowls or CFP semifinals

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
First Selection (vs. CUSA)

Dollar General Bowl (Mobile, Ala.)
Second Selection (vs. MAC)

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.)
Third Selection (vs. MAC)

AutoNation Cure Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Fourth Selection (vs. American)

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl (Tucson, Ariz.)
Fifth Selection (vs. Mountain West)

Sun Belt Conference Championship Game
The Sun Belt Conference will hold its first ever football championship game as the league’s presidents and chancellors, as well as athletic directors, voted unanimously to play the game beginning in 2018. The addition of Coastal Carolina and the decision to move forward as a 10-team football league, along with the NCAA Division I Council’s rules on championship games, means that the championship game has become a reality.

Sun Belt Athletes are Student-Athletes
During the recent 2016-17 academic year, Sun Belt member institutions awarded over $50 million in scholarships to more than 3,100 student-athletes, while also providing life experiences such as team building, domestic and foreign travel, community service, mentoring and recognition through honors and awards. The commitment to education recently led to over 2,100 Sun Belt Conference student-athletes being named to the 2016-17 Commissioner’s List and Academic Honor Roll. The list is comprised of 1,087 student-athletes on the Commissioner’s List (3.5 grade point average or better) and 1,045 student-athletes on the Academic Honor Roll (GPA between 3.0 and 3.49).

2017 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)
1. Appalachian St. (7) – 136 pts
2. Troy (2) – 127 pts
3. Arkansas State (1) – 122 pts
4. South Alabama – 98 pts
5. Louisiana (1) – 95 pts
6. Idaho – 84 pts
7. Georgia Southern – 82 pts
8. Georgia State – 48 pts
9. ULM – 46 pts
10. New Mexico St. (1) – 41 pts
11. Texas State – 31 pts
12. Coastal Carolina – 26 pts

Team News and Notes

Appalachian State Mountaineers
• At 6-1 in conference play, App State enters the final weekend in a three-way tie for the Sun Belt lead with Arkansas State and Troy. A Mountaineer win over Louisiana would earn the team a share of the league title for the second straight year.

• With a 34-9 mark in the last 43 games, App State has the best record among Group of 5 teams over that span. Boise State is next at 33-10. The Mountaineers trail only five other FBS teams over that span – Clemson (40-3), Alabama (39-4), Ohio State (38-5), Wisconsin (36-7) and Oklahoma (35-8).

• App State has a 26-5 record in conference play since joining the Sun Belt, including a 26-3 mark since starting 0-2 in 2014 and a 13-2 road record during that same stretch.

• Head coach Scott Satterfield improved his record to 39-22, putting him in sole possession of fourth place on the career victories list at App State.

• Junior RB Jalin Moore rushed for 239 yards in the 31-10 win at Georgia State, giving him four career games with at least 239 rushing yards, most among active FBS players. He had 244 yards against Idaho in 2015, 257 yards against Akron in 2016 and 241 yards against New Mexico State earlier this season.

• Senior QB Taylor Lamb has moved into first place in school history in career pass attempts. He had 23 at Georgia State to bring his total to 1,202. Armanti Edwards had 1,180 from 2006-09.

• Senior SS A.J. Howard had a 61-yard interception return in the third quarter. It was App State’s longest interception return since Howard scored on a 71-yard return at Troy last season.

• App State’s defense allowed 191 yards and 292 yards in back-to-back victories against Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Those teams rushed for 111 and 91 yards, respectively.

Arkansas State Red Wolves
• Arkansas State will play Troy on Dec. 2 for at least a share of the 2017 Sun Belt Conference championship. The Red Wolves have won five of the last six (2011-16) Sun Belt titles.

• The Red Wolves have at least seven victories each of the last seven seasons.

• A-State has secured a winning record for the seventh consecutive season for the first time in school history.

• A-State recorded a school and Sun Belt Conference record 781 yards total offense last week versus ULM.The Red Wolves’ 67 points against ULM were their most ever versus a Sun Belt opponent.

• Junior quarterback Justice Hansen broke the school records for both total offense (550) and passing yards (520) against the Warhawks.

• Junior running back Warren Wand recorded a career-high 173 rushing yards, while junior receiver Justin McInnis produced 211 yards against the Warhawks that stand as the third most in A-State history.

• Senior defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones will enter Saturday’s game against Troy needing two sacks to break the NCAA FBS record (44.0).

• Senior cornerback Blaise Taylor has set a new Sun Belt Conference record for passes defended in a career with 34 to his credit.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
• This will be the third meeting between Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern with the Eagles owning a 3-0 advantage in the series. All three previous meeting came when both programs were members of the NCAA FCS (I-AA).

• The first game of the series was played in Stateboro (2006) with the last two being played in Conway (2007 and 2010).

• Despite falling to the Eagles in ‘06 and ‘10, Coastal rallied to reach the NCAA Division I playoffs.

• Coastal Carolina will conclude the 2017 season by hosting Georgia Southern. The Chanticleers are 8-6 all-time when playing its regular-season finale, including a 5-2 mark at home.

• Coastal Carolina will honors its 16 seniors prior to the Georgia Southern game. Coastal is 11-3 all-time on Senior Day.

• Coastal’s 16 seniors include: Osharmar Abercrombie, Gary Bradshaw, Nicholas Clark, Eric Church, Lorenzo D’Angelo, Dalton Demos, Dontay Hears, Masamitsu Ishibashi, Kerron Johnson, Shane Johnson, Chris Jones, Tyler Keane, Rodney Mitchell, Dwayne Price, Marcus Williamson and Austin Wilson. 14 of the 16 seniors have received their undergraduate degrees while Ishibashi and Keane will receive theirs later this month.

• Coastal Carolina is 13-3 all-time when coming off a bye. This season was the first time CCU has had two byes during the regular season. Coastal also had two bye in 2014, once in the regular season and once for the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.

Georgia Southern Eagles
• This will be the fourth football meeting between Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina in a series that dates back to 2006. The Eagles lead the series 3-0 and have won both games played in Conway.

• The first matchup in the series came in 2006 when the 24th-ranked Eagles took down the Chanticleers 38-21 in Paulson Stadium. Lamar Lewis and Chris Covington combined for 303 rushing yards and a pair of scores in the win.

• In 2007, GS went to Brooks Stadium and came away with a 42-34 win behind a combined 459 yards rushing from Jayson Foster (253) and Lewis (206). Foster went wild, scoring a school-record six rushing touchdowns in the win. The Eagles returned to South Carolina in 2010 and downed the Chanticleers 43-26.

• Senior running back L.A. Ramsby needs two rushing yards to pass Gerald Harris and move into 12th place all-time at Georgia Southern in career rushing yards. He enters the Coastal Carolina game with 2,378 career rushing yards.

• Ramsby also has 38 career rushing scores, moving past current San Francisco 49er rookie Matt Breida (37) for ninth place at GS. Hall of Famer Tracy Ham is eighth with 41.

• Senior punter Matt Flynn is tied for sixth all-time in GS history in most career punts with 127 and is sixth in most career punt yards (5,018). He’s 320 yards from passing Scott Shelton for fifth place in career yards. His 63 punts this season are the third most in school history. He also has 2,501 punting yards this season, the fourth most in school history.

• Myles Campbell’s 34 kickoff returns are tied for the third most in a single season at GS and his 743 yards on the returns are the fifth most in school history. His 950 kickoff return yards are the fifth most in progam history.

Georgia State Panthers
• Bowl eligible and winners of six of their last eight games, Georgia State concludes the regular season by hosting Idaho.

• Under first-year head coach Shawn Elliott, the Panthers enter their regular-season finale one game out of first place in the league, trailing Arkansas State, Appalachian State and Troy, each at 6-1.

• Georgia State’s eight-year old football program is bowl eligible for the second time in three seasons.

• Five of Georgia State’s six victories have come on the road. The Panthers are tied for second nationally (with Oklahoma, San Diego State, Southern Miss, UCF and Central Michigan) with five road victories this season. Only Oklahoma State (6) has more.

• Sophomore receiver Penny Hart is the Sun Belt’s leading receiver with 70 catches for 1,022 yards and eight touchdowns. He is eighth in the nation in receptions (7.0) and receiving yards (102.2) per game. Hart ranks fourth among all active FBS receivers with a career average of 5.96 receptions and fifth with 87.3 receiving yards per game. Hart needs two receptions to break the GSU single-season record of 71, which Hart (2015) shares with Albert Wilson (2013). With 1,022 yards this season, Hart is
the first Panther to record two 1,000-yard seasons. He is 155 yards behind Wilson’s GSU season record of 1,177 yards.

• Senior quarterback Conner Manning is averaging 259.9 yards passing per game (third in the Sun Belt) with 13 touchdowns. He leads the league in completion percentage at 64 percent.

• Senior cornerback and Senior Bowl invitee Chandon Sullivan is one of 13 national finalists at all levels for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments® for the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame. The trophy recognizes the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Sullivan was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District® team for the third straight year.

Idaho Vandals
• Idaho has played a school-record seven one-possession games, all of them coming in Sun Belt play. The Vandals are 2-5 in those contests, suffering their five conference losses by a combined 24 points. The last time Idaho played an entire conference season with every game decided by one possession was 1939, going 0-3 in the Pacific Coast Conference.

• Idaho blocked two field goals against New Mexico State (Nov. 25). It is the first time the Vandals have blocked multiple kicks in a game since 2008, against Idaho State (Sept. 6).

• Tony Lashley has a team-high 107 tackles this season. Lashley, a junior, led the Vandals with 107 tackles last season and will look to record his third 100-tackle season next year. Only two Vandals in school history have three seasons with at least 100 tackles (Sam Merriman, 1979-82; and Jason Shelt, 1992-96).

• Aaron Duckworth needs 88 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Duckworth is looking to secure the 14th 1,000-yard season in program history. He has reached 912 yards on 174 carries. Only one Vandal has rushed for 1,000 yards on fewer than 200 attempts in a season (Russell Davis, 1981; 1,117 yards on 140 carries).

• Kaden Elliss is the only FBS player in the country with a sack and a receiving touchdown in the same game, and the first to do so since 2013. Elliss first accomplished the feat against Missouri (Oct. 21) and repeated the performance a week later against ULM (Oct. 28).

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
• Darius Hoggins’ career-long 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against Georgia Southern was his first of the season and was the longest offensive play for the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2017.

• Senior DB Tracy Walker recorded a career-high 14 tackles to lead the Ragin’ Cajuns against Georgia Southern. His 82 tackles lead the team and his 5.2 solo stops per game are 34th among FBS players.

• Ryheem Malone posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game after catching six passes for 106 yards and a TD. His 42-yard reception in the second quarter was a season-long.

• Stevie Artigue’s 50-yard field in the third quarter was his second 50-yard field goal of the season. He became the first Ragin’ Cajuns kicker since Mike Shafer in 1995 to connect on a pair of 50-yard field goals in a season and is the fourth kicker in school history to achieve the feat.

• Jarrod Jackson’s 26-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter was his second of the season.

• Linebacker Justin Middleton, making his first career start, posted a season-high 11 tackles with a half-sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

• Louisiana’s 48 total plays run and 19:58 in time of possession were both season-lows.

ULM Warhawks
• ULM finishes the regular season with a rescheduled game at Florida State, which topped Florida 38-22 on Saturday to improve to 5-6. The game was originally planned for Sept. 9 but canceled due to Hurricane Irma.

• Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week Marcus Green left his tracks all over JPS Field in ULM’s home football finale at Malone Stadium this past Saturday. Green returned a kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown and caught eight passes for a career-best 193 yards and another score on Saturday. In the game, he set school records with six kickoff returns for 206 yards and 418 all-purpose yards.

• Green’s heroics helped ULM keep pace with Arkansas State in a wild shootout, but the Red Wolves surged late and claimed a 67-50 win over the Warhawks.

• ULM quarterback Caleb Evans completed 21-of-37 passes for 454 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 17 times for 61 yards and two more scores, but was also intercepted three times. Evans topped 3,000 career passing yards in the game and ranks in ULM’s all-time Top 10. Evans also scored his 12th and 13th rushing touchdowns to extend his ULM record by a quarterback.

• Eight seniors were recognized prior to their final appearance at Malone Stadium against Arkansas State. The Class of 2017 includes defensive lineman David Elias Jr. (Prairieville, La.), defensive tackle Howard Houston Jr. (Riverside, Calif.), snapper Luke Hutchinson (Carnation, Wash.), safety Roland Jenkins (New Orleans, La.), cornerback Juwan Offray (New Orleans, La.), offensive lineman Frank Sutton Jr. (Jackson, Miss.), defensive end Caleb Tucker (Monroe, La.) and wide receiver Brian Williams (Bogalusa, La.)

New Mexico State Aggies
• The victory over Idaho marked the highest season win total for the Aggies in the Doug Martin era (5).

• With win number five, NM State recorded the most wins since 2004.

• This win over the Vandals moved the Aggies win streak at home over Idaho to four games.

• NM State set a game-high for the program with eight sacks. This tops the previous high of eight set against Angelo State (Sept. 26, 1987).

• With 11 sacks against the Vandals, NM State set a new season-high for sacks with 35. The previous high was 33 for the team in 1999.

• Leon McQuaker recorded his first career interception as an Aggie.

• For the third-straight game the Aggies scored on their first possession. This was also the fourth time they have done so in the last five games and fifth time all year.

• With Jaden Wright’s game-ending interception that gave the team 14 on the year which topped the 2016 total of 13.

• Larry Rose III recorded his ninth career game with multiple rushing touchdowns and third against Idaho.

• Bryce Roberts set a season-high in catches (2).

South Alabama Jaguars
• South Alabama head coach Joey Jones announced on Monday, Nov. 23, that he submitted his resignation effective at the end of his current employment contract, concluding his 10-year tenure leading the program. In addition to putting together a 52-49 overall mark in nearly nine full seasons of competition, Jones’ achievements as the only head coach in school history also include: being named the the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Coach of Year, leading the Jaguars to their first two postseason bowl berths (2014, ’16), their first win over SEC opponent (at MSU on 9/3/16) and first win over top-25 team (vs. SDSU on 10/1/16). During his tenure 24 players sign professional contracts, the program had 43 all-conference selections and 146 Sun Belt academic honorees.

• Jones will be on the sidelines when the Jaguars close the regular season for the second straight year against New Mexico State, this time on the road.

• It’s just the second time in program history the Jags will close the regular season on the road, with the first a 23-7 loss at Hawai’i on Dec. 1, 2012.

• With a win in this contest South will finish at or above .500 in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since the 2014 campaign, while the Jaguars are also looking to pick up multiple road wins in Sun Belt action for first time since 2014.

• Jeremy Reaves is three stops shy of 100 on the season, as he set a career high in the category when he recorded his 97th of the year in the fourth quarter last time out at Georgia Southern. Terrell Brigham is the only defensive back in school history to surpass 100 tackles in a season, accomplishing the feat with a team-best 113 in 2014.

• Reaves needs only six tackles to become just the second individual in program history with 300 in a career; Enrique Williams is the school’s all-time leader with 344 total stops over a five-year span from 2009-13, which included 320 tackles his final four seasons.

• Tra Minter also finished with multiple receptions for the third consecutive outing — it was the sixth time in the last seven games he has accomplished the feat — as his 19 catches out of the backfield are the most ever recorded by a South running back; Jay Jones set the previous standard at the position with 18 during the 2012 campaign.

Texas State Bobcats
• Texas State closed out its 2017 season with a 2-10 overall record and 1-7 Sun Belt Conference mark after falling at Troy on Nov. 24.

• The Bobcats had eight seniors and a graduate transfer complete their collegiate careers at Troy last Friday. The seniors include Easy Anyama, Stephan Johnson, Elijah King, Gabe Loyd, Eric Luna, Chris French, Gabe Schrade and Jordan Versey, along with graduate transfer Damian Williams. Graduate students Jeff Banks and Louis Ruben also completed their careers at Texas State in 2017 but did not play at Troy.

• The Bobcats were one of 10 NCAA Division I FBS schools to have six true freshmen start at least one game and one of 12 FBS schools to have 16 true freshmen play this season. The six starters are Jeremiah Haydel, Nic Foster and Reece Jordan on offense, with John Brannon, Caeveon Patton and Kordell Rodgers on defense.

• The Bobcats rank 35th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing defense after holding opponents to 141.7 yards per game this season. Texas State held four opponents under 100 yards rushing. They are Coastal Carolina (34), Wyoming (84), Colorado (91) and Houston Baptist (59). Texas State also held Appalachian State to a season-low 116 yards rushing.

• Texas State ranks second among Sun Belt Conference teams and 30th nationally with nine fumbles recovered after collecting two fumbles against both Georgia State and New Mexico State.

• The Bobcats lead the Sun Belt Conference and rank fourth nationally in fourth-down conversion defense after holding its opponents to just 25.0 percent of their fourth down attempts.

• Texas State ranks 17th nationally and second in the Sun Belt Conference in blocked kicks with three after blocking a field goal attempt at Troy.

Troy Trojans
• Neal Brown has never been shutout as a head coach or as an offensive coordinator — a span of 124 games.

• Troy outgained Texas State 204 to (-1) in the opening quarter of play.

• Troy improved to 21-1 all-time under Neal Brown when leading at the half; the Trojans led 41-0 over Texas State.

• Troy improved to 22-0 all-time under Neal Brown when leading after three quarters of play; the Trojans led 55-6 at the end of third quarter.

• After opening 3-8 under Neal Brown, Troy has now won 20 of its last 25 games.

• Troy’s 41-0 lead was its largest since holding a 52-0 advantage over Alcorn State in 2008.

• After outscoring Texas State 24-0 in the second quarter, Troy has outscored its opponents by an 108-15 margin in the second quarter this season.

• Troy entered the game with a 6.90 scoring differential in the second quarter — good for fifth best in the country — the Trojans outscored Texas State 24-0 in the second quarter.

• Troy’s 19 combined wins over the past two seasons are the most in the school’s FBS history and tied for the sixth most in school history.

• Troy improved to 67-38 all-time in Sun Belt Conference games – that is the most wins in the league since 2004 (when Troy joined the conference) and the second most all time (the Sun Belt was formed in 2001).

• Troy’s 62 points were the most scored by a Troy team in a Sun Belt game in school history. It is also the most points scored by Troy against an FBS opponent.

• Troy topped the 50-point mark for the sixth time under head coach Neal Brown. Troy had done so just three times prior at the FBS level (2004-pr.) and had done so just once in the previous 66 games before Brown took over.

• Troy’s 641 yards of total offense rank as the sixth most in the school’s FBS history, while the 487 passing yards are the fifth most.

About the Sun Belt Conference
The Sun Belt Conference continues to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in competition. The 2016-17 athletic season showed that the Sun Belt Conference takes a back seat to no other league in its competitive balance and in proving itself deserving of its status as a member of the NCAA’s highest conference tier.

Last season, Sun Belt members participated in six bowl games and finished 4-2 in the postseason, with more bowl wins than leagues such as the Big Ten and Pac-12, and the most wins and best winning percentage among the “Group of Five” peer conferences. Sun Belt men’s basketball had its highest conference RPI in more than a decade with a No. 13 national finish, and conference members found success in several NCAA postseason events.

During the recent 2016-17 academic year, Sun Belt member institutions awarded over $50 million in scholarships to more than 3,100 student-athletes, while also providing life experiences such as team building, domestic and foreign travel, community service, mentoring and recognition through honors and awards.

Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy will give the league 10 football members and enable the Sun Belt to inaugurate divisional football play and stage a conference championship game in 2018. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in all sports other than football.

For more information on the Sun Belt Conference, visit www.sunbeltsports.org

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach