Sun Belt Conference Weekly News and Notes (Week 2)
2012 Sun Belt Conference Media Guide
2012 Sun Belt Conference Composite Schedule
2012 Sun Belt Conference Standings
2012 Sun Belt Conference Statistics
Four Sun Belt Teams Open 2012 With Wins
Four Sun Belt Conference teams were victorious in the opening week of play and all ten teams will be in action in the second week of the season.
Four teams will play their 2012 home openers this week after starting the season on the road (Arkansas State, FIU, Troy and North Texas). Two teams, Middle Tennessee and South Alabama, will play at home for the second consecutive week.
Two league games are on tap for Saturday with Troy hosting Louisiana-Lafayette and Middle Tennessee hosting Florida Atlantic.
The Troy Trojans started the season with a win over in-state rival UAB backed by Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week Shawn Southward’s performance. Southward rushed for a career-high 204 yards and scored three touchdowns. Troy has now beaten UAB
in two of their last three contests.
Troy’s win over UAB gives the Sun Belt Conference the early edge in games against Conference USA opponents this season. The Sun Belt Conference held a 5-2 advantage over Conference USA during the 2011 regular season. The next game versus a Conference USA opponent
will be this Saturday as Arkansas State hosts Memphis. Additionally, future Sun Belt Conference member Texas State defeated Houston during the opening week 30-13.
McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21 (ESPN3) - 6:30 p.m.
Florida Atlantic 7, Wagner 3 (ESPN3) - 7 p.m.
Troy 39, UAB 29 - 11 a.m. (Fox College Sports)
Texas-San Antonio 33, South Alabama 31 (ESPN3) - 1 p.m.
Western Kentucky 49, Austin Peay 10 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Duke 46, FIU 26 (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Louisiana-Lafayette 40, Lamar 0 (Cox4/ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
#3 LSU 41, North Texas 14 (ESPNU) - 6 p.m.
#5 Oregon 57, Arkansas State 34 (ESPN) - 9:30 p.m.
WKU at Alabama (SEC Network/ESPN3) - 2:30 p.m.
Nicholls State at South Alabama (ESPN3) - 4 p.m.
Akron at FIU (ESPN3) - 5 p.m.
* Louisiana-Lafayette at Troy (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Memphis at Arkansas State (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
(1) Arkansas at Louisiana-Monroe (ESPNU) - 6 p.m.
Texas Southern at North Texas (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
* Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee (ESPN3) - 6 p.m.
Week One Sun Belt Conference Football Players of the Week – As selected by the Sun Belt media panel
Offensive Player of the Week
Shawn Southward (Troy, Sr., Running Back)
The 2009 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Shawn Southward put on an impressive display in Troy’s season opener as he rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries in Troy’s 39-29 victory over UAB. Southward averaged 7.3 yards per carry and his rushing
total was the sixth most in a game in Troy history. His three rushing touchdowns are one shy of the school record and moved him into fourth place on the Troy career rushing touchdown record. Southward’s longest run of the afternoon was a 55-yard burst. He
became the first Trojan since 2010 to rush for over 100 yards and the first since 2009 to break the 2009 plateau. Southward’s rushing total on Saturday was equal to 37 percent of his total from all of 2011. Southward's rushing total was the fifth most in the
NCAA over the weekend.
Defensive Player of the Week
De’Von Terry (Troy, Sr., Linebacker)
Playing in his first football game since 2007, walk-on senior linebacker De’Von Terry had an interception, recovered a fumble and had five tackles in Troy’s 39-29 victory at UAB on Saturday. Terry’s first big play came as UAB was about to score its first points
of the game, but the linebacker pounced on a fumble at the Troy 2-yard line. With Troy leading 25-23 in the fourth quarter, Terry intercepted UAB quarterback Jonathan Perry at the Troy 48-yard line; two plays later Troy found the end zone and put the game
out of reach.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Brett Baer (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., K/P)
Baer picked right up from where he left off, connecting on a career-high 4 field goals (52, 40, 39 & 32 yards) and converting all four extra points as part of a record-setting day. Baer set the school record for consecutive field goals made with 15 (old record
14 by Mike Shafer in 1994) and tied the school mark for points in a game by a kicker with 16 (Rafael Septien in 1974 & Mike Lemoine in 1989). Baer’s 52-yard field goal to open the scoring was the longest of his career and tied for the seventh longest in school
history. In addition, Baer punted three times for 125 yards (41.7) with a pair of punts downed inside the 20 and none of the three punts returned.
Around the Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Future is Bright
“This is a conference on the rise. You can really sense the momentum that the conference has.” - Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn
“In my mind, the Sun Belt came out as a big winner in realignment and conference shuffling. Adding Georgia State, Texas State and UT Arlington clearly put the Sun Belt in a strong position for the future. The competitive gap between us and others has shrunk
considerably. The Sun Belt is poised to contend to become the best of the so-called non-AQ conferences, which are our peer conferences.” - Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson
“Everybody is getting better. Everybody is recruiting hard, and everybody is hiring good coaches. There’s great coaches across the field and have been for years.” - Troy head coach Larry Blakeney
“One of messages across the league is why not be that team that takes center stage? That is the next Boise State? To play on New Year’s Day in a big bowl against a big opponent and bring credit to the university and to the Sun Belt. There’s no doubt in my
mind that there is a team in the Sun Belt that will achieve that in the next two to three to five years.”- Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson
“Athletic directors and people across the country are saying, ‘Hey, they play a great brand football in the Sun Belt Conference.’" - Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth
“Each year we’re getting more established, we’re building better facilities, we’re recruiting better players,” - Middle Tennessee Head Coach Rick Stockstill
“This conference probably is more even than any conference in the country. There’s just about every team in this conference I feel like if it gets on a roll has the ability to make a run for the championship if not finish in the top 3 every year.” - Louisiana-Lafayette
head coach Mark Hudspeth
“The conference is getting better as we go. I think our presidents have done a great job. Everyone is looking better.” - Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart
Sun Belt Sends Three to Bowls in 2011
The Sun Belt Conference has sent three teams to postseason bowl games for two consecutive seasons. Following the 2011 regular season, Louisiana-Lafayette played in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, FIU played in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl and Arkansas State
played in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The three teams playing in the 2011 football postseason matches the previous high set the year prior. ASU, FIU, ULL and Western Kentucky all finished the 2011 regular season with bowl eligible records, marking the fourth time
in league history that the Sun Belt has had four bowl eligible teams.
Sun Belt Conference Membership
The Sun Belt Conference is currently comprised of ten football playing members – Arkansas State (founding football member in 2001), Florida Atlantic (joined league as football member in 2005), FIU (joined league as football member in 2005), Louisiana-Lafayette
(founding football member in 2001), Louisiana-Monroe (founding football member in 2001), Middle Tennessee (founding football member in 2001), North Texas (founding football member in 2001), South Alabama (joined league as football member in 2012), Troy (joined
league as football member in 2004) and Western Kentucky University (joined league as football member in 2009). Georgia State, Texas-Arlington and Texas State will join the league on July 1, 2013. UT Arlington joins current Sun Belt members as a non-football
South Alabama Makes Sun Belt Debut
South Alabama will open the 2012 season on Aug. 30 against Texas San-Antonio where it will make its Sun Belt Conference and FBS debut. The Jaguars will not be eligible for the Sun Belt Conference championship, however, they will play a full Sun Belt schedule
where their games will count as conference games for their league opponents. USA will be eligible for the Sun Belt title and a bowl berth in the 2013 season.
Bowl Game Winning Percentage
Since the 2007 football season the Sun Belt Conference ranks fifth out of the 11 FBS conferences in postseason bowl game winning percentage. In fact, the Sun Belt Conference ranks ahead of noted “Big Six” leagues – the ACC, Pac-12 and the Big Ten. Furthermore,
the Sun Belt Conference outpaces its non-automatic qualifying BCS partners in the WAC, Conference USA and the MAC.
Cristobal Continues to Build FIU
FIU’s Mario Cristobal is undoubtedly one of the hottest rising coaches in college football, taking over the FIU program in 2007 after spending time on Greg Schiano's staff at Rutgers (2001-2003) and Larry Coker's staff at Miami (2004-2006). Cristobal led the
Panthers to their first winning season in program history in 2010, winning a share of the Sun Belt Championship and then the Little Caesars Bowl. FIU also finished 8-5 in 2011 and received a bid to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Cristobal has shown dedication
to the Miami community as he was raised there, played, coached and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of Miami and has been FIU’s head coach for five seasons.
Trojan Trio Wins Super Bowl Title
The Trojan Trio of Jerrel Jernigan , Lawrence Tynes and Osi Umenyiora are Super Bowl Champions after the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI. The title is the second for both Tynes and Umenyiora and the first for Jernigan.
Troy's three former players in the Super Bowl (active rosters) were the fifth most of any school in the country.
Tynes, who sent the Giants to the Super Bowl with a game-winning field goal in overtime of the NFC Championship Game, booted field goals of 38 and 33 yards in the third quarter to pull New York within two, 17-15.
Jernigan, who in 2010 led the Trojans to their fifth consecutive Sun Belt Conference title, set up Tynes' first field goal with a 34-yard kickoff return. The rookie finished the game with three returns for 71 yards (23.7 per return).
Umenyiora finished the game with one tackle and a pair of hits on New England quarterback Tom Brady.
Sun Belt Football Championship Trophy to Honor Waters
The annual winner of the Sun Belt Conference’s football regular season will take home the H. Wright Waters Trophy as the league approved the honor at the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Spring Meetings.
Waters served as Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference from 1998 through 2012 and largely responsible for football becoming a league sponsored sport. The Sun Belt had been a viable entity on the nation’s collegiate athletic map since its founding in 1976,
but Waters made the call for a serious approach to gaining access to the Football Bowl Subdivision. Due to his leadership the league played its inaugural season under his watch in 2001.
Malzahn Returns Home to Take Over at Arkansas State
Gus Malzahn was named the Red Wolves' 28th head football coach last December, bringing him back to his home state after most recently enjoying highly successful stints as a top assistant coach at three NCAA FBS universities that garnered national acclaim. Malzahn
comes to Arkansas State after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn for the past three seasons. A native of Fort Smith, Malzahn was named the winner of the 2010 Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate
His innovative offense made an immediate and profound impact during his tenure at Auburn, highlighted by a record-setting offense in 2010 when the Tigers finished 14-0 and claimed the school's first national championship since 1957. Malzahn's record-setting
offense in 2010 led the Southeastern Conference and finished in the top 10 nationally in six statistical categories. He coached Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton during the Tigers run to the 2011 BCS National Championship. Under Malzahn's direction, Newton
later became the overall No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft after producing one of the best single-season quarterback performances in collegiate history.
Before coaching at Auburn, Malzahn spent two seasons at Tulsa, coordinating a Golden Hurricane offense that finished first nationally in total offense in 2007 and 2008. Prior to his time at Tulsa, he coached one season at Arkansas, where he served as offensive
coordinator, coached Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and helped the Razorbacks finish fourth nationally in rushing offense at 228.5 yards per game. ?
Carl Pelini Begins New Era at Florida Atlantic
Carl Pelini was named Florida Atlantic's second head coach in program history to replace the retired Howard Schnellenberger and brings more than 25 years of football experience to Boca Raton.
The Ohio native was a defensive coordinator at Minnesota State Mankato (2004) and helped revitalize a struggling program at Ohio University where he was the defensive line coach for three seasons (2005-07). In 2008, he moved to Nebraska and assumed the position
of defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Pelini's role in the resurgence of Nebraska's defense has been recognized by his two-time nomination for the Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
Prior to his time in the collegiate ranks, Pelini spent more than 10 years at the high school level.
Sun Belt Conference Bowl Partners
The Sun Belt Conference is currently in the third year of four year partnerships with the GoDaddy.com Bowl and the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Sun Belt teams will continue to represent the league in the games following the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons.
WKU and Taggart Agree to New Contract
Willie Taggart, who guided WKU to the biggest one-season improvement in league wins in Sun Belt Conference history in only the program’s third season competing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, has agreed to a new four-year contract. The contract began
on January 1, 2012 and includes an automatic one-year rollover each year through 2019. WKU’s 7-1 conference record in 2011 after a 2-6 league record a year ago stands as the biggest one-season improvement in Sun Belt Conference history. Taggart leads WKU into
2012 with a seven-game conference winning streak, the fifth-longest current streak in the country.
Sun Belt Conference Television Games in 2012
In total, 41 games controlled by the Sun Belt Conference are currently scheduled to be carried during the 2012 football season because of the Sun Belt and member institution’s willingness to deliver games.
Sun Belt and ESPN Announce Multiyear Agreement
The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN reached a new agreement that extends the network’s relationship with the conference through the 2019-20 academic year. The agreement, which will take effect beginning in the 2012-13 academic year, will expand the conference’s
national television exposure and makes ESPN the exclusive national cable and satellite provider of the Sun Belt Conference. The new agreement will give Sun Belt Conference football a minimum of two games on either ESPN or ESPN2 and also a minimum of five games
on ESPNU that will be scheduled for Thursday or Friday nights. Additionally, ESPN Regional Television will have the right to produce, distribute and syndicate up to five football games each year. ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network,
will also be granted additional opportunities to select games to air. This trio of networks will be granted a 12-day rolling window during the season to select additional games to televise. Games available for selection are after the third Saturday of the
Cajuns Grab Top Attendance Increase in NCAA
The Ragin’ Cajuns football team added yet another honor to its list as the NCAA announced that the University of Louisiana-Lafayette had the top attendance increase for the 2011 season.
The Cajuns had an average increase of 11,788 per game setting both the Sun Belt Conference average and total attendance record and the ULL average attendance record. ULL beat out Arizona State, Stanford, Iowa State, Temple, Florida State and Oklahoma State
for the top honor.
Team News and Notes
Arkansas State Red Wolves
The Red Wolves host Memphis this week in their home opener. ASU has played Memphis more than any other opponent in school history, and Saturday’s game will mark the 57th meeting all-time between the two schools since 1914. Memphis leads the all-time series
28-22-5, but ASU picked up a 47-3 victory over the Tigers last season in Jonesboro.
A-State has won its last seven home openers at ASU Stadium, dating back to the 2005 campaign. The Red Wolves stand 27-11 all-time in home openers at AUS and are also 14-6 in such games since moving Division I-A (FBS) in 1992. ASU has posted an actual on-field
winning record at ASU Stadium the last six seasons dating back to 2005, holding a 24-7 record over that span.
Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin set new school records for career total offense (9,075 yards) and passing yards (7,720) during the Red Wolves’ game against No. 5 Oregon. Aplin also became just the third player in Sun Belt Conference history to record over 9,000
yards of total offense.
Senior wide receiver Josh Jarboe caught a career-high 13 passes against the Ducks, which also tied the school record for a single game.
Senior linebacker Nathan Herrold recorded a team-high 11 tackles versus Oregon, tying the second most of his career and marking the fourth time he’s posted double-digit stops.
The Red Wolves piled up 530 yards of total offense, the 21st most in the nation, against Oregon. A-State recorded over 500 yards of total offense in four games last season.
Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic University’s football team ushered in the 2012 season, the first under the direction of Carl Pelini, with a 7-3 victory over Wagner College. The victory marked the first home season opening victory since 2007 with current NFL quarterback Rusty
Smith under center versus Middle Tennessee. Pelini, just the second head coach in the program’s 12-year history, became the first Owl head coach to earn a victory in his debut. The Owls sporting a new look spotted Wagner a second quarter field goal, a 30-yarder,
but it was the last points the Seahawks would put on the board. The Seahawks reached the red zone just three times and were held to the lone field goal. The defensive attach included a second quarter interception by FAU sophomore D’Juan Smith. Smith’s end
zone INT stalled a third and seven attempt to reach the FAU end zone. Senior linebacker David Hinds led the Owls with 10 tackles, the sixth double digit game of his career. Hinds had one tackle for a loss and forced the Seahawks to punt from their end zone
after chasing down Wagner’s qb who throw it away on third and 11 from the five. Cory Henry and Randell Johnson each recorded a sack on the night. Offensively, FAU started redshirt sophomore Stephen Curtis who gave way to senior Graham Wilbert, who started
the second half. Wilbert’s second half efforts included a 126 passing yards performance, 10-13-0, including a 39-yard pass to fellow senior Byron Hankerson. Hankerson led the six receivers used with 93 yards, his longest reception the scoring reception, also
was his first collegiate touch down. The ground attach was led by newcomer Martese Jackson, who recorded 99 yards in his FAU debut. The junior tallied 21 carries and averaged 4.7 per carry.
FAU will open the Sun Belt Conference season this Saturday when the Owls travel to Murfreesboro for a 7 p.m. matchup. The game will be the 10th meeting between the schools with the last FAU victory coming in 2007, a 27-14 September 1 win. The game will mark
the first road game for the new coaching staff and be the first meeting between Carl Pelini and Rick Stockstill. The contest will be carried on ESPN3 and will air on ESPN760 and www.fausports.com.
Saturday night’s game marks 11th home-opener for the FIU football program and the eighth home-opener as an FBS member.
The Panthers look to create a winning streak in home-openers after defeating North Texas, 41-16, in last season’s opening contest.
After opening 2012 against a school celebrating its 100th anniversary (Duke), the Panthers now face Akron, who is in its 112th year playing football (since 1891).
Being honored on Saturday, will be the members of FIU’s inaugural 2002 team. Over 80 former Panthers will be back to take part in the 10th anniversary celebration, including a halftime presentation, pre-game golf tournament and tailgate.
Head Coach Mario Cristobal begins his sixth home campaign on Saturday. FIU’s longest tenured coach in seasons (6) and games (63), has an equal 14-14 record at Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium since 2007.
Junior running back Kedrick Rhodes had a record-outing at Duke last Saturday, moving up several career charts and becoming the first Panther to have a 100-yard rushing and receiving game.
In his debut as FIU’s full-time starting quarterback, sophomore Jake Medlock threw for a game-high 348 yards against Duke with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Senior receiver Wayne Times notched his first 100-yard receiving game with a career-best nine catches for 114 yards.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
The 40-0 victory over Lamar marked the first shutout for the Cajuns since a 6-0 win at Florida Atlantic on Oct. 18, 2006, a span covering 69 games. Going even further back, the last shutout by the Cajuns at Cajun Field came 54 home games ago in a 34-0 win over
UAB on Sept. 14, 2002.
The longest play of the 2012 season to date did not result in any points when Jamal Robinson caught an 86-yard pass from Blaine Gautier to set up an Effrem Reed two-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The completion tied for the fourth-longest
in school history and it was the longest non-scoring pass. It bested the old record when Michael Desormeaux completed an 82-yard pass to Richie Falgout vs. FIU in 2008.
The Lamar game proved to be the Cajun debut for sophomore Terrance Broadway, who entered the Lamar game late in the second quarter and received the lion’s share of the snaps in the second half. Broadway, who sat out the 2011 season after transferring from
Houston, was six-for-nine passing for 61 yards.
The win over Lamar on Saturday extended the Cajuns’ home winning streak to six, the fourth-longest in Cajun Field history. It equals the six straight wins during the 2003-04 seasons. The Cajuns started the streak by going 5-0 at home in 2011, the third undefeated
season at home in Cajun Field history and first since 1987. The record is 11 games, set from 1976-77, and there are also streaks of seven (1994-95) and nine games (1987-88).
Senior kicker Brett Baer started his senior season out on the right foot, connecting on four field goals and four extra points as part of a record-settting performance in the win over Lamar. Baer made field goals from 52, 40, 39 & 32 yards in the first half
to extend his string of consecutive field goals made to 15 (including the last 11 in 2011). He broke Mike Shafer’s record of 14 set in 1994.
Head Coach Todd Berry begins his third season at the helm of the Warhawk football program. ULM, after being off opening weekend, kicks off the 2012 season as it travels to Little Rock, Ark., for a match-up with the Arkansas Razorbacks (Sept. 8). The battle
with the Razorbacks marks the fifth consecutive season that ULM opens a campaign with a ranked opponent.
The Warhawks will travel to Auburn, Ala., to face the Auburn Tigers Sept. 15 before hosting Baylor in the home opener. The battle against the Bears will take place at Malone Stadium Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Wide receiver Brent Leonard earned Second Team All-Sun Belt honors a year ago after leading the Warhawks in receptions (69), receiving yards (751) and touchdown receptions (4).
In 2011, Quarterback Kolton Browning was named Second Team All-Louisiana honors by the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association. Browning started all 12 games and finished with a 114.43 efficiency rating after completing 244 passes (419 attempts) for 2,483
yards and 13 touchdowns. He posted 2,926 yards of total offense, which ranks third most in a single-season in school history.
Running back Centarius Donald returns for his junior season after missing the final five games of 2012 after suffering a knee injury at North Texas
In 2011, the Warhawk defense finished ranked number one in the Sun Belt in both rushing defense (100.0 ypg) and total defense (326.2 ypg). The 100.0 rushing yards per game was a new Sun Belt record and it marked the third season in a row that ULM led the
conference in rush defense. The club finished tied for third in the conference in sacks with 28. In the final NCAA rankings the Warhawk defense finished eighth in rushing defense and 21st in total defense (326.2 ypg). The squad also finished 47th in total
sacks (2.08 per game). A total of four defensive players (Ken Dorsey, Darius Prelow, Jason Edwards and Troy Evans) earned All-Sun Belt honors.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee set a new single-game school record in kickoff return yards with 241 against McNeese on six returns. That broke the previous mark of 220 yards set against Louisville in 2006.
Middle Tennessee had six players make their first starts as a Blue Raider on Thursday night against McNeese State. Offensively, LT Darius Johnson, WR Christian Collis, and TE Jacob Corbaley all made their first starts. On defense, the first timers were SS
JaJuan Harley, FS Kevin Byard, and RC Khari Burke.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Byard registered 11 tackles in his first collegiate game against McNeese. Byard’s double digit stops led the Blue Raiders and were a game-high.
Senior Anthony Amos turned in a career performance in the 2012 season opener. Amos led the Blue Raiders with a career-high eight receptions and a touchdown. Amos’ previous high was seven against WKU in 2011.
Middle Tennessee’s 97-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter went down as the third longest under Rick Stockstill. Overall, the Blue Raiders own 12 scoring drives of 90 or more yards in the Stockstill era. The Blue Raiders had four in 2011.
North Texas Mean Green
North Texas opens the home season on Saturday against Texas Southern. It is the first meeting between the schools and only the second time the Mean Green has faced a team from the SWAC.
Five defensive starters for North Texas made their first career starts against LSU, including all four members of the secondary. Defensive tackle Richard Abbe, as well as cornerbacks Hilbert Jackson and Zac Whitfield and safeties Marcus Trice and Lairamie
Lee made their first Mean Green start.
North Texas scored its first touchdown of the game on an 80-yard pass from Derek Thompson to Brelan Chancellor in the second quarter. It was only the second touchdown the Mean Green had ever scored against LSU in five meetings, with the other coming in a 49-7
loss in 1995.
Derek Thompson’s 80-yard touchdown pass to Brelan Chancellor against LSU was a career-long reception for Chancellor and the second-longest pass for Thompson ever.
The 80-yard touchdown pass tied for the seventh-longest passing play in North Texas history
Redshirt freshman cornerback Zac Whitfield recorded his first career interception when he halted a Tiger scoring drive with a pick at the Mean Green 1-yard line.
The 14 points North Texas scored was the most it has ever scored against LSU in a game and the most it scored vs. a top-five opponent since 1987 when it scored 14 vs. No. 1 Oklahoma.
Seven different Mean Green defenders either tied or set career-highs in tackles against LSU.
Aaron Bellazin and Hilbert Jackson each recorded their first career sacks against LSU.
South Alabama Jaguars
In falling to Texas-San Antonio Saturday 33-31, the Jaguars dropped their season opener for the first time in four years of competition. It also marked the program’s second straight loss after falling to Cal Poly in the 2011 finale.
For the second time in as many meetings with the Roadrunners, sophomore Demetre Baker led the Jaguars in rushing after gaining 63 yards on 12 carries. Baker supplied the first points of the year with an 11-yard touchdown run less than three minutes after the
opening kickoff, capping an eight-play, 75-yard march.
Making his Division I debut, CB Tyrell Pearson finished with five total tackles — which included one for a loss of three yards — an interception and another pass defensed. The junior-college transfer returned the pick, the only takeaway posted by the USA defense,
28 yards to set up a one-yard Kendall Houston touchdown run that put the Jags ahead 24-20 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the contest.
T.J. Glover did not play during the 2011 campaign, but the team leader in all-purpose yards the prior season returned to record a game-high 145 against the Roadrunners. His 48 yard return of a kickoff late in the first quarter was USA’s longest play of the
day, while he ran back a punt 37 yards in the fourth quarter that led to Jeremé Jones’ 34-yard scoring reception that put the Jags up 31-30 with less than three minutes to go.
Senior PK Michel Chapuseaux converted a 43-yard field-goal attempt for the only points from either team in the third quarter; it was the first he has made since hitting from 22 yards in a 56-0 victory over Pikeville (Ky.) on Sept. 4, 2010, as well as the longest
of his career. Chapuseaux also averaged nearly 61 yards per kickoff, with three of his six efforts resulting in a touchback.
Jake Johnson and Enrique Williams shared game-high honors for the Jag defense with eight stops apiece. It was the seventh time since the start of last season that one of the two has been the team’s leading tackler, with Johnson accomplishing the feat on six
occasions...In his first game as a tight end — he made the switch from wide receiver in the spring — Greg Hollinger matched a career high with two receptions in the UTSA contest. His block late in the second period also led to a 32-yard pickup for the Jaguar
offense, as Glover gained 17 yards on a reception with 15 more tacked on after a personal foul call...Nine newcomers played in their first game as a Jaguar against UTSA, but Cameron Broadnax was the only true freshman among that group.
Last fall, Jag opponents converted on 36 percent of their third downs, but in this year’s opener the USA defense allowed the Roadrunners to move the chains just twice in 12 occasions (16.7%).
USA will face Nicholls State Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, in what will be the second match-up between the two schools. The Jaguars earned a 39-21 victory over the Colonels on Sept. 18, 2010, in their first-ever game against a Division I opponent.
Troy improved to 15-7 in season openers under Larry Blakeney with a 39-29 victory over UAB at Legion Field on Saturday.
Shawn Southward rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Troy offense; his rushing total was good for the sixth best in school history while his touchdown total was one shy of his one school record.
Chip Reeves had six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first action since 2010.
Troy’s 262 rushing yards were the most since torching Middle Tennessee for 296 yards in 2009. Southward became the first Trojan since 2010 to top the century mark on the ground and first since 2009 to hit the 200-yard level.
De’Von Terry recovered a fumble and had an interception in his first football game since 2007.
Troy opens Sun Belt Conference play next week when it hosts ULL at home; Troy is 21-0 in home openers under Larry Blakeney.
WKU is 1-0 to start a season for the first time since 2005 after a 49-10 win over Austin Peay Saturday night at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Ironically, the 2005 campaign was also the last time the Hilltoppers opened a season at home.
WKU’s 39-point victory was its largest winning margin since defeating Murray State 50-9 at home on Sept. 20, 2008. The Hilltoppers scored 35 points in the first half of the victory – the most points scored before halftime during the Willie Taggart era at
WKU. It was also the most first-half points since scoring 35 at North Texas on Oct. 31, 2009.
WKU finished the game with 596 yards of total offense, the most since racking up 620 yards in a 63-3 win over West Virginia Tech in the 2005 season opener.
Senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes set new career highs with 296 yards passing and four passing touchdowns. In fact, he tied his previous career highs before halftime with 276 yards and three passing TDs. Jakes also moved into fourth on WKU career list for
touchdown passes as his four TD strikes gave him 33 for his career. That moved him past both Jimmy Feix and current head coach Willie Taggart on that list. Justin Haddix (2003-06) holds the record with 50 career touchdown passes.
Three Hilltoppers — tight end Tim Gorski, wide receiver Boe Brand and freshman running back Leon Allen — each scored their first career touchdown in Saturday’s victory.
WKU limited Austin Peay to just 11 passing yards, the fewest allowed by a Hilltopper defense since 1998 when Indiana State was held to zero passing yards.
Antonio Andrew’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown was the longest punt return for a Hilltopper since Antonio Veals had an 86-yards TD return against Nov. 30, 2002 in the first round of the I-AA playoffs against Murray State.
Georgia State Panthers (Coming in 2013)
Georgia State faces its third FBS program and its second from the powerful Southeastern Conference in three years as the Panthers travel to Tennessee Saturday for a 4 p.m. contest at Neyland Stadium.
The Panthers (0-1) opened the season with a disappointing loss to South Carolina State, 33-6, last Thursday in the Georgia Dome, despite 120 yards rushing by Donald Russell.
The Volunteers (1-0) are coming off an impressive 35-21 win over NC State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, played last Friday in Georgia State’s home venue, the Georgia Dome. UT quarterback Tyler Bray passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns, and Cordarrelle
Patterson scored two touchdowns on a 41-yard catch and a 67-yard run.
Georgia State is facing Tennessee for the first time, but GSU head coach Bill Curry has earned five victories against the Volunteers in his career, including four straight from 1986-89 while coaching at Georgia Tech and Alabama. His overall record against
the Volunteers is 5-11-1 in 17 seasons at Tech, Alabama and Kentucky.
Running back Donald Russell opened his senior season by rushing for 120 yards on just 12 carrries against South Carolina State, his second straight 100-yard effort and third in a GSU uniform. Last season, the transfer from Kentucky became the first 100-yard
rusher in school history when he gained 136 yards against South Alabama. He added a career-high 146 yards in the 2011 finale against Campbell. Against SCSU, Russell raced 52 yards on his first carry of the season. That is his longest run for the Panthers but
not the longest of his career; he had a 79-yard scamper as a freshman at Kentucky in 2009. Russell led the Panthers with 665 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011.
Texas State Bobcats (Coming in 2013)
In its first official game as a member of the FBS, the Texas State football team beat Houston, 30-13 Saturday night at Robertson Stadium in Houston. Marcus Curry led the Bobcats offensively with a career-high 131 yards rushing and three total touchdowns.
The Bobcats’ 24 first half points against Houston were its most by halftime since scoring 35 against Lamar last season.
The Bobcat defense held Houston to just 13 points. That is the Cougars’ lowest total since Sept. 18, 2010 against UCLA. Last season the Cougars scored at least 28 points in every game.
Offensively the Bobcats held the ball for 43:09 compared to just 16:51 for Houston.
Shaun Rutherford’s 26-yard run in the first quarter was the longest of his career. Rutherford began the game 7-of-8 passing and finished the game with a career-high 18 completions and had a career-high 75.0 completion percentage (18-of-24).
Marcus Curry’s 73-yard run was his career-long, surpassing a 54-yard effort last year. It was the longest run by a Bobcat since Terrence Franks had an 82-yard run against Northwestern State last year. Curry broke the 100-yard mark on the first play of the
2nd quarter. It was his third 100-yard game at Texas State. Curry’s two rushing touchdowns were the most during his time at Texas State. Curry’s 21-yard TD reception matched his total from last season, when he had one against Nicholls State.