Sun Belt Conference Weekly News and Notes (End of Regular Season)
2012 Sun Belt Conference Media Guide
2012 Sun Belt Conference Composite Schedule
2012 Sun Belt Conference Standings
2012 Sun Belt Conference Statistics
ASU Wins Title; Sun Belt Sends Record Number of Teams to Bowls
For the first time in the Sun Belt Conference’s 12 years of football the league will be sending four teams to postseason bowl games as selections were finalized Sunday night.
League champions Arkansas State will be playing in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Alabama on January 6. The Red Wolves will face Kent State which has an 11-2 record on the year. The Red Wolves won the Sun Belt title outright after a 45-0 win over Middle
WKU will be making its first postseason appearance when the Hilltoppers play Central Michigan in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. The Hilltoppers became only the second team in Sun Belt history to have a 3-1 record in regular season non-conference play earlier
this season. The game will take place in Detroit on December 26.
Louisiana-Monroe was selected to play in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl against Ohio. It is the Warhawks first trip to a bowl game and the announcement that they would play in the game came Saturday. ULM will play the Bobcats on December 28 in Shreveport.
Louisiana-Lafayette was selected to play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for the second consecutive year. The Cajuns will play East Carolina on December 22 in New Orleans. The selection of the Cajuns in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl came on November
All of the bowl games featuring Sun Belt teams will be featured on ESPN.
* Arkansas State 45, Middle Tennessee 0 (ESPN3) - 2 p.m.
* Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Florida Atlantic 21- 2 p.m.
Hawaii 23, South Alabama 7 - 11 p.m.
December 22 - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Louisiana-Lafayette vs. East Carolina - 11 a.m. (ESPN)
December 26 - Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan - 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
December 28 - AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio - 2 p.m. (ESPN)
January 6 - GoDaddy.com Bowl
Arkansas State vs. #25 Kent State - 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Week Fourteen Sun Belt Conference Football Players of the Week – As selected by the Sun Belt media panel
Offensive Player of the Week
Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)
Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin completed 19-of-21 passes (.905 percentage) for 238 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 64 yards rushing and a touchdown on six attempts to post 302 yards total offense in Arkansas State’s 45-0 win over Middle Tennessee
that clinched its second consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship. Aplin’s completion percentage tied the second highest in ASU history for a single game and his three passing touchdowns gave him a school-record 23 on the season. He 12.5 yards per completion
without an interceptions and averaged 10.7 yards per rushing attempt. Aplin collected his 32nd career 200-yard passing game and went over 300 yards total offense for the 19th time of his career.
Defensive Player of the Week
Nathan Herrold (Arkansas State, Sr., LB)
Senior linebacker Nathan Herrold recorded a team-high 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss, an interception and a pass break-up in Arkansas State’s 45-0 win over Middle Tennessee that clinched its second consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship. Herrold posted
double-figure stops for the fifth time this season and the eighth time of his career, pushing his season total to 109 to make him the first ASU player with over 100 tackles in a season since the 2007 campaign. His 109 tackles are also the most by an ASU player
since Tyrell Johnson had 112 in 2005. Herrold’s interception gave him three on the season and he returned it 45 yards. With ASU leading 7-0, his pick stopped a Middle Tennessee drive at the ASU 31-yard line and set the Red Wolves’ offense up at the Blue Raiders’
33 for its second touchdown of the game and a 14-0 lead.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Brian Davis (Arkansas State, Jr., K)
Junior kicker Brian Davis was responsible for 10 points by kicking, including seven extra points and a field goal, in ASU’s 45-0 win over Middle Tennessee that clinched its second consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship. Davis was a perfect 1-of-1 on his
field goal attempts, connecting from 21 yards out to give him 40 career field goals that ties the second most in ASU history. He pushed his season field goals total to 16, giving him sole possession of the fifth most in school history for a single season.
His 10 points by kicking gave him a school-record 100 on the season, topping his own record of 98 that was set last season.
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
“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
WKU, ULM Top SEC Foes
ULM defeated then #8 ranked Arkansas on September 8 and WKU followed up with a win over Kentucky on September 15. The two wins against SEC programs were the first for both institutions, it also marked the first time that Sun Belt Conference has had wins against
the SEC in back-to-back weeks. ULM’s win over Arkansas also marked the first time that a Sun Belt Conference team has defeated a top-ten ranked opponent.
ULM’s Browning Tabbed Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week
After leading ULM to 34-31 upset of No. 8 Arkansas Saturday in overtime, junior quarterback Kolton Browning has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Offensive Player of the Week. Browning tallied 481 yards of total offense and his 16 yard run to the
endzone in overtime gave the Warhawks their first-ever win over Arkansas and their first-win over a ranked opponent (as a FBS member). Browning set new career-highs in passing yards (412), completions (42) and attempts (67). The junior also registered a total
of 83 plays which ranks second in ULM history for a single-game.
Cunningham Garners National Award
Middle Tennessee senior running back Benny Cunningham was named the AT&T All-America National Player of the Week on Thursday night for his performance in the win at Georgia Tech. ESPN analysts select four players each week and then fan votes determine the overall
Cunningham set several career-highs in the upset win over Georgia Tech, including 217 yards rushing, scoring five touchdowns, carrying the pigskin 27 times and registering a career-long 60-yard run. The 60-yard touchdown run was the longest by the Blue Raiders
since D.D. Kyles raced 74 yards against Louisiana in 2010. Cunningham’s five rushing touchdowns tied for the second most in a game at Middle Tennessee and moved him to No. 3 nationally in scoring.
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.
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 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.
Troy’s Chip Reeves Added to Biletnikoff Award List
Troy wide receiver Chip Reeves has been added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation announced Tuesday morning. Reeves was one of 11 players to be added to the award watch list; the Biletnikoff Award is presented annually
to the nation’s top wide receiver.
ASU’s Aplin Named Senior Class Award Finalist
Arkansas State senior quarterback Ryan Aplin was named as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious 2012 Senior CLASS Award, annually recognizing an NCAA FBS senior with notable achievements in areas of community, classroom, character and competition. The finalists
were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award Web site through Dec. 3. Fan votes will be combined
with media and NCAA FBS head head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
ULM’s Browning Added to Maxwell Award List
The Maxwell Football Club today announced the expansion of its 2012 Watch List for the 76th Maxwell Award and ULM junior quarterback was added to the list. The original list was comprised of 65 players, who were selected based on their performances during the
2011 season. As the 2012 season has progressed, the Club believes that several additional players warrant attention because of their noteworthy play.
ULM-Baylor Sets New Sun Belt TV Rating Record
The Louisiana-Monroe vs. Baylor football game that was televised live on ESPN Friday, September 21 was watched by a record number of viewers for the Sun Belt Conference. Friday’s night game was watched by over 2.2 million people with a rating of 1.8 - the highest
rated in history for a game involving a Sun Belt Conference team. The previous highest rated game in Sun Belt history was the FIU at Louisville game a season ago that earned a 1.4 rating. The game was the third highest rated college football game that aired
on ESPN or ESPN2 last week – trailing only the LSU at Auburn game and the Arizona at Oregon game. The ULM-Baylor game received a higher rating than the BYU at Boise State, Virginia at TCU, UTEP at Wisconsin and Vanderbilt at Georgia games.
ASU Announces $22?Million Football Facility Project
Arkansas State University announced a $22 million football facility project, including a two-level football operations building and 76,000 square-foot indoor practice facility in Liberty Bank Stadium’s north end zone. The new football operations building’s
first floor will house A-State’s locker room, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning and sports medicine centers, a players lounge and equipment room. The second floor will feature coaching and administrative offices, team meeting rooms, a history and
heritage showroom and a team film room with theatre seating. The indoor practice facility will run east and west and be connected to the north side of the operations building.
2012 Sun Belt Network Football Schedule Announced
Now in its fourth season, the is a joint partnership with Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST). Each game will be available in 13 states across the southeast and is often available on ESPN3.com and ESPN GamePlan outside of
the CSS and CST markets. The agreement with CSS and CST has resulted in the broadcasting of football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, and softball contests throughout the last three seasons. In whole, the Sun Belt Network has been
responsible for over 100 events airing on CSS and CST over the past three seasons. The seven games selected for the Sun Belt Network adds to the growing list of football broadcasts that the Sun Belt Conference and its institutions are directly responsible
Five Named to Capital One Academic All-District Football Team
Five Sun Belt football student-athletes have been named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District team as Arkansas State’s Nathan Herrold, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Andre Huval, Troy’s Kyle Lucas, and the South Alabama pair of Trey Clark and Alex Page were
all on the annual list.
Baer, Davis Named Lou Groza Award Semifinalists
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Monday that Arkansas State’s Brian Davis and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Bret Baer have been named two of 20 semifinalists for the 2012 Lou Groza Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee.
Troy’s Deon Anthony Named Manning Award Player of the Week
Troy quarterback Deon Anthony has been named the Manning Award Player of the Week, the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Anthony accumulated 360 yards of total offense in Troy’s dramatic 38-37 victory over FIU. The New Iberia, La., native completed 29-of-41 pass attempts
for 245 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 115 yards and two scores. Anthony’s rushing total was the most by a Troy quarterback since 1989.
Team News and Notes
Arkansas State Red Wolves
ASU claimed the outright Sun Belt Conference title and has now won back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 1985-86 . . . With its 45-0 win over Middle Tennessee, ASU extended its winning streak to seven games, its second longest since
1986 . . . The Red Wolves claimed their 19th victory since 2011 for their most ever over a two-year span in school history . . . A-State now has nine or more victories in a season for the seventh time in school history . . . ASU won seven Sun Belt Conference
games for the second time ever (8 in 2011) . . . The Red Wolves improved to 11-1 over their last 12 home games and ran their winning streak at Liberty Bank Stadium to three games . . . A-State now stands 19-5 over its last 23 regular-season games and is 15-1
against Sun Belt Conference opponents over the last two seasons. ASU’s 19 regular-season victories are its most ever over a two-year span . . . The Liberty Bank Stadium crowd of 31,243 was the largest ever home crowd in Arkansas State history . . . ASU’s 45-point
victory over Middle Tennessee was its largest margin of victory ever against a Sun Belt Conference opponent . . . The Red Wolves will make their second straight appearance in a bowl game and ninth appearance all-time . . . ASU now has 5,782 yards total offense
this season, leaving it just 40 yards shy of the school record with a bowl game left to play. It’s 5,782 total yards are also the sixth most in Sun Belt history and 532 shy of the league record . . . ASU has posted over 30 points in a game for the 10 times
this year to tie the most in a season since 1951 . . . The Red Wolves have scored 437 points this season for the third most in school history. A-State needs 20 more to break the school record. It’s 437 points are also the third most in Sun Belt history and
six shy of the league record.
Florida Atlantic Owls
Florida Atlantic University’s football team will has concluded its first season under the direction of Carl Pelini. The Owls posted a 3-9 record and finished 2-6 in Sun Belt Conference play. The season saw the Owls travel to top-5 Georgia and to then No. 1
ranked Alabama. FAU was the first to score on the tide in 2012, four games into the campaign. While FAU opened the season with a home victory, the next victory was hard to record. FAU held the lead for much of the game versus South Alabama, but would eventually
fall in overtime. FAU then defeated Troy, a team that had previously only been beaten by the Owls, once (2007). The squad’s first road victory was a thrilling win over Western Kentucky, a game that saw Keith Reaser come into play in all facets of the defense.
Reaser’s maturity was instrumental for FAU’s defense as was fellow DB Brent Harstad, who led all tacklers with 103. Senior David Hinds added 80 total tackles and led the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss. While the defense showed steady improvement the more
drastic signs of improvement were shown on the offensive side. Senior QB Graham Wilbert, who improved his efficiency from 91% to 134.5%, and the Owls scored 32 touchdowns in 2012 nearly doubling their 2011 total. The Owls improved their turnover ratio from
a -9 to -2 and their third down conversion improved from 29 to 41%. Penalties were another area where FAU saw improvement cutting down on the flags and eliminating more than 200 penalty yards. The Owls also transitioned 19 new players into the squad, all but
one will return in 2013.
Jonathan Wallace will return in 2013 after leading the Owls with 648 yards on 175 carries. The junior also will see the return of fellow juniors Damian Fortner (318), Martese Jackason (222) and Travis Jones (80). In total, FAU backs surpassed the 1,000 yard
plateau with 1,268 yards. While the Owls will have a new signal caller, the squad will return 12 receivers, including eight who scored in 2012. The receivers will be led by William Dukes, who emerged into a big-play receiver with 979 yards on 63 catches. Dukes
score four times and averaged 81.6 yards per catch. His longest of the season was a 75-yard score versus ULL. The defensive line will return in 2013 as will all but one linebacker. Expect Adarius Glanton and Andrae Kirk to return to anchor the linebackers
after tallying 75 and 70 tackles, respectively. They will each have a year under their belts of the system and both saw tremendous improvement in 2012. The defensive backs will return three of the top-seven tacklers from 2012 and will be led by rising senior
Keith Reaser, Jeremy McKnight and rising sophomore Cre’von LeBlanc who had 42 tackles and four passes defended in 2012.
With the 2012 season now complete, FIU says goodbye to nearly 30 student-athletes who spent the past four to five seasons wearing the blue and gold. Four seniors, Chuck Grace, Junior Mertile, Andre Pound and Jacob Younger, witnessed the opening day of FIU Stadium
versus a nationally-ranked South Florida Bulls squad on September 20, 2008, while seniors who arrived for the 2009 season were the first Panthers to experience the amenities of the beautiful state-of-the-art R. Kirk Landon Fieldhouse, a spacious home locker
room, massive weight room complex, dedicated football sports medicine facility, individualized position film rooms and grand team meeting room.
Against ULM, the FIU defense held the Warhawks to a season-low 235 total offensive yards, 106 yards less than their next lowest output. The Panthers also held ULM to season-low nine rushing yards and quarterback Kolton Browning to a season-low two rushing
yards. Browning’s 218 passing yards was his second lowest in the 10 full games he played in 2012.
Seniors Johnathan Cyprien (S), Rupert Bryan, Jr. (OT), Winston Fraser (LB) and Tourek Williams (DE) each finished their respective collegiate careers with the most starts at their positions at FIU. Senior Jose Cheeseborough had the second-most starts at
Despite nagging injuries at quarterback and runningback throughout the season, the 2012 team still put up some top program-comparable offensive numbers, including: No. 3 in rushing yards (1,744), No. 2 in rushing attempts (489), No. 2 in rushing TDs (20),
No. 1 in passing yards (2,861), No. 2 in passing TDs (17), No. 2 in passing efficiency (136.4), No. 3 in total offensive yards (4,605) and No. 2 in total offense per game (383.8)
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
Louisiana-Lafayette reached the eight-win mark in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history, defeating Florida Atlantic, 35-21, to improve to 8-4 on the year.
After ending a streak of 41 straight seasons without a bowl game last year, the Cajuns are headed back to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl again this season, facing East Carolina (8-4) on Saturday, Dec. 22 in New Orleans.
Quarterback Terrance Broadway accounted for 291 yards of total offense at FAU, passing for 168 and rushing for 123, to finish the year as the Sun Belt leader in total offense (339.1) and passing efficiency (164.8) in Sun Belt games only. He was also fourth
in passing (264.9), rushing (74.2) and scoring (5.2).
Linebacker Justin Anderson used a nine-tackle effort to become the third Cajun in the last six seasons to total 100 tackles in a season. Anderson leads the squad with 101 tackles this year.
The Cajun defense came up big at FAU, forcing three turnovers, blocking a field goal and stopping the Owls three times on fourth down, including on each of their final two possessions.
The duo of Alonzo Harris (127 yards, three touchdowns) and Broadway (123 yards, one TD) combined to rush for 250 yards at Florida Atlantic. It was the second time in three games that both surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in the same game.
Safety Rodney Gillis made his team-leading fifth interception at FAU, giving him the most picks by a Cajun since Charles Tillman made six interceptions in 2000.
ULM closed the regular-season on a two-game win streak to improve to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Sun Belt Conference... The eight wins by the Warhawks are the most of the FBS-era (1994-pres.) and the last time the squad won eight or more games was during the
final year of FCS (1-AA) play in 1993 (9-3).
With the 23-17 win over FIU on Saturday night, the Warhawks improved to 6-2 all-time against the Panthers (the 2005 win by FIU was later vacated)... The meeting in Miami between the two schools was the final meeting as conference members as FIU will join
Conference USA beginning next season.
The overtime game against FIU was the fourth overtime contest of the season for the Warhawks... ULM finished with a 3-1 mark in overtime games during the 2012 regular season.
ULM is now 8-3 in overtime games and the squad only played seven OT games prior to this season (1996, 1997 , 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011).
Senior Brent Leonard moved within one reception of Mack Vincent’s career mark of 203 receptions as he caught 13 passes for 98 yards at FIU... Leonard’s final catch of the night came in overtime and his 15-yard TD reception gave ULM a 23-17 win... Vincent
and Leonard are the only two Warhawks to ever tally 200 or more receptions in a career.
Leonard pushed his season reception total to 97 with his 13 grabs at FIU and is now third in the Sun Belt Conference record books (single-season).
At FIU, Kolton Browning finished 31-of-38 for 218 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown... Browning’s first quarter TD run was the 16th of his career and it gave ULM an early 7-0 lead... His 15-yard TD pass to Leonard in overtime was
the 27th TD pass of the season for the junior and 58th of his career.
With 27 TD passes on the season, Browning is just two-shy of tying the single-season ULM record... Robert Cobb holds the record after tossing 29 TD passes durring the 1993 season.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee ended the regular season with a mark of 8-4 and 6-2 in Sun Belt play. It marks the second time the Raiders have won at least eight games under Rick Stockstill and the third time in the FBS era.
Following a 2-10 season, Middle Tennessee has bounced back with vengeance and owns the nation’s best turnaround. The Raiders’ +6 win total from 2011 joins Ohio State and Kent State for the biggest win increase in the country.
Middle Tennessee received 2 votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll for Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, then 3 votes Nov. 18. MT had 7 votes in the Nov. 25 poll.
MT is +10 in turnover margin this season in conference play.
MT has 18 plays this year of 45 or more yards.
The game against Arkansas State marked the first time Middle Tennessee has been held scoreless in a SBC game.
North Texas Mean Green
North Texas finished with its second straight winning season at Apogee Stadium. It is the first time since 2003 and 2004 that the Mean Green has had back-to-back winning seasons at home.
North Texas has more wins in the last two seasons than the previous four seasons combined. The Mean Green defense allowed the fewest points a game since the 2006 season.
North Texas hit the 2,000 yard rushing mark for the season. It was only the 18th time in school history that North Texas has rushed for 2,000 yards a team.
The Mean Green defense held four opponents to 14 points or less this season, the most in a single season since 2003.
For the season, North Texas finished with 4,731 yards of total offense, which is the fourth most in school history. It is the sixth straight season that North Texas has had 4,000 yards of total offense, which is a school record.
Quarterback Derek Thompson finished with 2,649 passing yards on the year, which is the fourth most yards in a single season.
North Texas allowed just six sacks the entire season and in nine of the 12 games the Mean Green offensive line did not allow a single sack
South Alabama Jaguars
With nine stops in his final collegiate appearance at Hawai’i Saturday, ILB Jake Johnson ended 2012 with 131 tackles — that ties the fourth-highest season total in Sun Belt Conference history. That included a sack in the second-half sack, as he was credited
with at least on stop behind the line of scrimmage in every contest this fall. … In his final collegiate game, B.J. Scott posted a career-high 12 tackles — all unassisted — to lead all players at Hawai’i, and he also intercepted a pass in the third quarter.
It was the fourth time this season that he recorded a double-digit tackle total, including the second occasion in the last three weeks, as well as the first game this year that he paced the squad in stops. … T.J. Glover recorded a season-best 169 all-purpose
yards against the Warriors, which included a season-high 115 yards — one shy of matching his career high in the category — on five kick returns. The sophomore’s totals of 1,181 all-purpose yards and 642 kickoff return yards both set USA season records. … The
Jaguars avoided being shut out for the first time in program history when C.J. Bennett — making his first appearance since the Troy game on Sept. 29 — led the offense 80 yards in 11 plays before finding Wes Saxton for a three-yard touchdown pass wit just over
six minutes remaining in the contest. … Maleki Harris became the first USA player to recover two fumbles in the same game at Hawai’i. That accounted for half the defense’s four takeaways, which was one shy of equaling the most recorded by the unit this fall;
it did match the number of turnovers the Jags forced in the previous six outings combined. … Tyrell Pearson also had a hand in two takeaways, forcing the first fumble Harris recovered in the second quarter while also ending the Warriors’ opening possession
of the second half with his team-leading fourth interception of the season. The junior also broke up another pass, as he led the squad with 11 breaks up this fall as well. … Sophomore DL Jesse Kelley recorded a career-best six stops in the UH game, as did
fellow lineman Andy Dalgleish. … Gabe Loper led the team with four receptions for 32 yards on Saturday, the first time he has accomplished the feat since catching four balls in a win over Florida Atlantic on Oct. 20. … PK Michel Chapuseaux did not attempt
a field goal against the Warriors, as he ended his senior campaign tied for second on the SBC season record list with 20. … The Jaguars were limited to a program-low 18 yards rushing by the UH defense, while the Warriors’ 229 yards on the ground matched the
most ever allowed by USA in a game.
Corey Robinson became the first Troy quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in his first three seasons, as well as one of three active quarterbacks in the country to throw for over 3,000 yards in their first three seasons as a starter; joining Georgia’ s Aaron
Murray and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones.
For the first time in school history, the Trojans had a 3,000 yard passer (Corey Robinson), a 1,000-yard rusher (Shawn Southward) and a 1,000 yard receiver (Chip Reeves) in a single season.
Deon Anthony became the 16th Troy player to catch a pass this season with a 12-yard reception from Corey Robinson.
Anthony recorded his eighth rushing touchdown of the year with a six-yard run in the fourth quarter
Corey Robinson’s touchdown pass to Eric Thomas, was the 63rd touchdown in the junior’s career, passing former Troy quarterback Mike Turk (1984-87) for second place in school history for touchdowns responsible for.
Junior Jarod Lee picked up first career touchdown with a 4-yard reception from Deon Anthony in the third quarter to give the Trojans a 14-13 lead.
Shawn Southward picked up fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season against Middle Tennessee and became the first Trojan since DeWhitt Betterson in 2004 to accomplish that feat; Southward finishes his Troy career third in school history in rushing attempts
(545) and rushing yards (2,773) and second in career rushing touchdowns (33).
Wide receiver Chip Reeves finished his career with seventh all-time in career receptions (121) and in receiving yards (1,968).
The Trojans held Middle Tennessee scoreless on it’s opening drive; marking the eighth time in 12 games the Trojans did not allow an opponent to score on its first possession.
WKU scored 15 unanswered fourth-quarter points to come back for a 25-24 victory over North Texas on Senior Day at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers finished the regular season with a 7-5 record for the second straight year. That guarantees WKU of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2006 and 2007.
Running back Antonio Andrews finished with 230 rushing yards on 25 carries — his second straight game with over 200 yards on the ground, and third such performance this season. With 1,609 yards on the year, Andrews now ranks fourth on WKU’s single-season
rushing list and is just the fifth player in Hilltopper history to post a 1,500-yard season. In fact, it is the third straight year WKU has produced a 1,500-yard rusher as Bobby Rainey finished with 1,649 yards in 2010 and a school record 1,695 yards in 2011.
Andrews also finished with 323 all-purpose yards in the contest (230 rushing, 12 receiving, 68 KO return, 13 punt return). He has now gone over 300 all-purpose yards in four straight games, racking up 1,397 yards over that stretch. With 2,977 all-purpose yards
this season, he ranks third on the NCAA single-season list behind Pacific’s Ryan Benjamin (2,995 yards in 1991) and Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (3,250 yards in 1988). Andrews is just 274 yards away from breaking Sanders’ single-season record set during
his Heisman-Trophy winning campaign.
WKU becomes the 5th program in NCAA history to have a 1,500-yard rusher in three consecutive seasons, joining Oregon (2009-11), Northern Illinois (2002-06), Marshall (1993-95) and USC (1978-81).
Senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes threw a first-quarter touchdown to Jack Doyle, marking his 50th career TD pass. That ties the school record set by Justin Haddix from 2003-06.
Andrew Jackson finished with a game-high 15 tackles to lead the Hilltopper defense. It was the sixth time in the last eight games that Jackson has posted double-digit stops, and gave him a new career high with 116 tackles on the season.
Georgia State Panthers (Coming in 2013)
Georgia State concluded the 2012 season with a 51-7 loss at Maine in the final game for retiring head coach Bill Curry, who closes the book on a 20-year coaching career that included stops at Georgia Tech, Alabama, and Kentucky before he took on the challenge
of starting the GSU program from scratch.
Junior wide receiver Albert Wilson caught three passes for 75 yards against Maine to top the 2,000-yard mark for his career. He now has 2,013 yards on 104 catches with 15 touchdown receptions, first in GSU history in all three categories. Wilson finishes
his junior season with 3,952 career all-purpose yards, averaging 131.7 yards per game, including 164.5 this season.
Junior running back Travis Evans rushed for 77 yards at Maine. Since stepping in after the season-ending injury to Donald Russell, Evans averaged 87.3 yards per game for the last three contests.
Georgia State football standouts Michael Davis and Mark Hogan were named to the Capital One Academic All-District first team. Both are now eligible for the Capital One Academic All-America team.
Davis and Hogan are both juniors on the football field but have already earned degrees from GSU. Davis graduated in real estate with a 3.86 grade point average is now pursing his MBA. Hogan completed requirements for a degree in finance with a 3.39 GPA and
is now working toward a second degree in managerial science.
A native of Lithonia, Ga., who attended Chamblee High School, Davis suffered season-ending injuries in 2010 and 2011 but has come back to earn a starting berth at center this year.
Hogan, from Matthews, N.C., was Georgia State’s first scholarship football player when he enrolled in 2009 and has been a three-year starter at linebacker. He is the leading tackler in GSU history, and he is a two-sport standout as a left-handed hitting outfielder
for the Panther baseball team.
The Georgia State football program, in just its third year of existence, has had two first first-team Academic All-District honorees in each of the last two seasons. Seniors Kalan Jenkins and Michael Davis made the 2011 team.
Texas State Bobcats (Coming in 2013)
Texas State’s win in its season finale against New Mexico State gave the Bobcats their third home win of the season, their third win against a WAC opponent this year and concludes the season with a 4-8 record.
The 49 points scored in the first half is the most points scored in a half since the 47 points scored on Oct. 15, 2005 against Oklahoma Panhandle State.
Will Johnson kicked a 54-yard field goal breaking his previous school record of 53 yards. The field goal put Texas State up 52-28 over New Mexico State.
Texas State registered four sacks in today’s game. The Bobcats had six total sacks coming into the game.
66 points is the most points scored in a game since Oct. 15, 2005 against Oklahoma Panhandle State University (75-7).
Texas State rushed for 446 yards and had 82 yards passing for a total of 528 yards total offense.
Texas State honored 17 seniors before the game.