Sun Belt Conference News and Notes

8:32 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ARKANSAS STATE: The Red Wolves notched their first Sun Belt Conference victory of the season last Thursday night with a 34-20 win over FIU, and they have now won five consecutive conference road tilts. Ryan Aplin threw for 223 yards and ran for another 50, and in the process became the conference's all-time leader in career yards (10,365). Aplin also contributed a pair of scores, one through the air and one on the ground. David Oku was busy in the backfield with 16 rush attempts, and although he compiled just 53 yards, he scored a career-high three touchdowns. J.D. McKissic (five receptions, 124 yards) was on the receiving end of the Aplin touchdown toss, and he also contributed his first- career 100-yard game. Qushaun Lee was the team's defensive standout with a game-high 12 tackles and an interception. Arkansas State (3-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) will try to keep the momentum going this Saturday at home versus South Alabama.

FIU: The Panthers' early-season struggles continued last Thursday, as they lost their fourth straight game in falling to Arkansas State, 34-20. Filling in for injured quarterback Jake Medlock, E.J. Hilliard failed to get anything going, finishing with 133 yards on 18-of-27 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Loran Hammonds also saw snaps under center but failed to impress (1-of-4, 20 yards, INT). The running game showed signs of life with 188 yards, paced by Jeremiah Harden (15 carries, 67 yards) and Darian Mallary (11 carries, 33 yards, TD). Jacob Younder caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, his only catch of the game. Place-kicker Jack Griffin hit two field goals and two extra points and is now just seven points behind Adam Moss (233) for the most points in program history. FIU (1-5, 0-2 Sun Belt) tries to end its slide this Saturday when it hosts Middle Tennessee.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC: The Owls were idle over the weekend, and they will try to end a four-game losing streak this Saturday when they play at ULM.

LOUISIANA: The Ragin' Cajuns moved to 4-1 with an impressive 41-13 non- conference home win over Tulane. The offense put up 444 yards, including 294 rushing, and scored 40 points for the third time this season. Alonzo Harris carried the ball 23 times for a game-high 123 yards and he found the end zone once. Effrem Reed was also productive on the ground with 12 totes for 85 yards. Terrance Broadway completed just 9-of-22 passes for 150 yards with an interception, but he threw a pair of touchdown passes to Javone Lawson (four receptions, 82 yards). Broadway also did some damage with his legs, rushing for 36 yards and another score. The defense contributed on the scoreboard as well, with Justin Anderson returning an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Louisiana has off this week and will return to conference action on Oct. 16 when it takes on North Texas on the road.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: The Blue Raiders saw their recent three-game win streak come to an end as they dropped a 31-17 decision to visiting ULM. They tallied just 304 yards of total offense on the afternoon, while allowing the Warhawks to pile up 500 yards. Logan Kilgore completed 23-of-34 passes for 238 yards with zero touchdowns and an interceptions. Anthony Amos was the most productive receiver with seven catches for 96 yards. Benny Cunningham sported a mediocre yards-per-carry average (14 carries, 62 yards), and accounted for the only two touchdowns for the home team. Craig Allen was the standout on defense, tallying 15 tackles, surpassing his previous career-high of 10 set the week prior against Georgia Tech. Middle Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 Sun Belt) will try to get back on track this Saturday when it travels to Miami to play FIU.

NORTH TEXAS: The Mean Green found themselves in a 17-0 hole after one quarter against Houston, and it proved to be too big a deficit to overcome as they succumbed in a 44-21 final. The defense had no answer for the Cougars' potent offensive attack as it surrendered 321 yards passing and 302 yards rushing. Derek Thompson threw for 252 yards and contributed a rushing touchdown for UNT, but completed just 20-of-38 passes with two interceptions. Brandin Byrd led the team in rushing with 96 yards on 19 carries, and Jeremy Brown (80 yards) and Antoinne Jimmerson (37 yards) both had rushing TDs. Cornerback Hilbert Jackson recorded 15 tackles, breaking his previous career-high of nine. North Texas (2-4) has off this week before returning to Sun Belt action against Louisiana on Oct. 16.

SOUTH ALABAMA: The Jaguars were idle this past week following a 1-4 start (0-1 Sun Belt). Snapping their current three-game losing streak will be difficult as they hit the road to take on Arkansas State this Saturday.

TROY: The Trojans (3-2, 2-0 Sun Belt) won their first two conference matchups, both on the road, before enjoying a bye over the weekend. They return home for the first time in nearly a month this Thursday when they face off against Western Kentucky.

ULM: The Warhawks continued their impressive start to the season with a road victory over Middle Tennessee, 31-17. They put up 500 yards of total offense, highlighted by 285 passing yards and 44 yards rushing from quarterback Kolton Browning, who threw a touchdown pass to Je'Ron Hamm (three receptions, 62 yards). Jyruss Edwards had 17 carries for 87 yards with a pair of rushing scores, and Centarius Donald turned 20 carries into 71 yards and a touchdown. Brent Leonard tallied eight catches for 73 yards. The team's defensive effort was stellar as well with three turnovers, including a fourth-quarter interception by Isaiah Newsome, the fourth of his career. ULM (3-2, 1-0 Sun Belt) returns home this week to take on Florida Atlantic.

WESTERN KENTUCKY: After a fantastic start to the season, the Hilltoppers (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) enjoyed a bye week. They will attempt to win their second straight conference road game this Thursday night when they take on the Troy Trojans.

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