West Heats Up! Week 5 Lessons from the Sun Belt

South Alabama and Troy look to be as tough as any team from the SBC East

It looked like Georgia State really wanted that fifth loss. Georgia State was up three points in the third, but Army was knocking on the one-yard line of the Panthers, who seemed to have no gasoline left to halt the Black Knights’ rush attack. Somehow, someway, the Panthers found the steel to put up the goal line stop, and Georgia State would go on to cruise for a 31-14 victory.

Have the Panthers, projected to menace Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina in the SBC East, finally awaken? That’s difficult so say โ€“ Army isn’t Army Strong this season. Still, manning up on the one yard line and closing out business on the road is encouraging. Keep an eye on how the Panthers respond next week in their rivalry game with Georgia Southern.

The Cajuns are Cooked

Louisiana followed its loss to unspoken rival ULM with its second home loss in a row, this time to South Alabama. Though Cajuns’ running back Chris Smith compiled 100 yards of rushing, Louisiana’s offense was held to just 276 total yards. The QB combo of Chandler Fields and Ben Woodridge averaged a paltry 3 yards per pass play and gave up a pick apiece to the Jaguars. The Cajuns, who haven’t managed to score more than 21 points their last three games, haven’t started the season 0-2 in the Sun Belt since 2005. It doesn’t appear that Louisiana will be defending its crown in 2022.

Troy and South Alabama Ain’t Futzing Around

Troy took a Hilltopper offense that had most recently put up 73 points on FIU and shut WKU down 34-27, inspiring a savage display of meme violence from the Trojan social media department:

I’m just saying that it appears that Troy has torn Big Red’s scalp from his head. These meme is evidence in a murder case. Anyway, the Trojans have come to play in the Sun Belt West, as have their chief rival, South Alabama. The Jaguars should be undefeated, thwarted only by a clunky trick-play-gone-wrong against UCLA. Both teams appear to be the powers of the Sun Belt West โ€“ and perhaps on par with the leaders of the Sun Belt East.

What Does It Take to Kill the Chanticleers?

Nobody coasts through its games like Coastal, who was forced to literally leap over Georgia Southern to eek out a 34-30 victory on Saturday night.

The Chanticleers are now 5-0 with one truly dominating win (a 41-24 scrubbing of Georgia State). Nobody said the victories have to be authoritative. Coastal Carolina keeping its scores tight is their business. But how long is it before they mess around and lose to, I dunno, ULM (next week’s opponent).

Arkansas State’s Johnnie Lang Jr. did something that hasn’t been done since Sun Belt Legend T.Y. Hilton

During the Red Wolves’ very business-like 45-28 dispatching of the Warhawks, Arkansas State’s Johnnie Lang Jr. delivered a rushing, receiving and special teams touchdown, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a Sun Belt program since FIU’s T.Y. Hilton in 2010 โ€“ also against the Warhawks. LOL, ULM.

When informed of the significance of his outstanding feat, Lang admitted that he hadn’t really heard of T.Y. Hilton, which probably makes poor T.Y. feel pretty damn old.

Good Work, Marshall and Appalachian State

Thanks to not effing-up, the Mountaineers and the Thundering Herd kept the Sun Belt’s record against against FCS opponents. Huzzah!