Appalachian State clinches share of Sun Belt title

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Troy-Texas State

Appalachian State earned no worse than a share of the Sun Belt Conference football championship with a win against New Mexico State this past Saturday. This is the first Sun Belt football title for the preseason Sun Belt favorites. The Mountaineers will now wait to learn their postseason bowl destination as they do not play this upcoming Saturday.

Two teams that do play Saturday will be looking to join in on a share of the Sun Belt title as Arkansas State and Troy are only one win away from adding to their collection of Sun Belt trophies.

Arkansas State will travel to San Marcos to play Texas State in an ESPN2 affair set for Saturday evening. Troy will play at Georgia Southern on ESPN2 Saturday morning.

Arkansas State can grab a sixth Sun Belt title with a win – including five in the last six seasons. Troy can also claim its sixth Sun Belt title and first since 2010.

With their upset defeat of Arkansas State this past Saturday, Louisiana is only one win away from playing in its fifth bowl game as the Cajuns can climb to 6-6 with a win against ULM this Saturday.
South Alabama can also hit the 6-6 mark with a win against New Mexico State.

The Sun Belt Conference has never sent more than four teams to the postseason and that could very well change this season with either the Cajuns or Jaguars – or both – earning bowl bids.

The Sun Belt maintains tie-ins with five bowl partners. App. State, Arkansas State, Idaho and Troy are all currently bowl eligible. Bowl selections will be announced Sunday, Dec. 4.

Upcoming Schedule

Saturday, December 3
* Troy at Georgia Southern – 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
* New Mexico State at South Alabama – 12 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Louisiana at ULM – 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Georgia State at Idaho – 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Arkansas State at Texas State – 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

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

Recent Results
Saturday, November 26
* Louisiana 24, Arkansas State 19 –11 a.m. (ESPN3/American Sports Network)
* Idaho 38, South Alabama 31 – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN3/American Sports Network)
* Appalachian State 37, New Mexico State 7 – 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
* Troy 40, Texas State 7 – 3 p.m. (ESPN3/Texas State Sport Properties Production)
* denotes Sun Belt Conference game
All times Central (CT)

Players of the Week
Offensive Player of the Week

Isaiah Saunders (Idaho, So., RB, Sociology/Criminology)
Saunders was the driving force for Idaho’s offense in the Vandals’ 38-31 victory over South Alabama for their seventh victory of the season. Saunders carried the ball 23 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and was caught for a loss just once – for one yard. He scored the first touchdown of the game with 9:48 in the first quarter then came back with scoring runs in the third quarter (which returned the lead to the Vandals) and the fourth quarter (to give the Vandals a 10-point advantage with 14:27 to play).

Defensive Player of the Week

Jalen Thompson (South Alabama, So., DB, Exercise Science)
Thompson intercepted a pair of passes and added a career-high 10 tackles — all unassisted — at Idaho last time out, breaking up another pass as well. The sophomore cornerback became the first Jag to pick off multiple passes in a game in more than a year, and the first since the 2010 finale and season opener in 2011 to record an interception in back-to-back outings. He was also the first USA cornerback to finish with a double-digit tackle total since Nov. 2, 2013.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Bentlee Critcher (Appalachian State, Sr., P, Business and Marketing Education)
Critcher was 8-for-8 on kickoffs for touchbacks and punted once for 53 yards in the Apps’ 37-7 win against New Mexico State on Saturday. Critcher kept the Aggies backed up throughout with his lone punt downed at the 3-yard line. App faked one punt, on which Critcher took the snap and rumbled 28 yards for a first down.

Sun Belt News and Notes

Sun Belt Membership

The Sun Belt’s 11-school football membership includes Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy. Little Rock and UT Arlington compete in all sports as non-football members while Idaho and New Mexico State are football-only members. Coastal Carolina official entered the league on July 1, 2016 and currently competes as an all-sport member. The CCU football program will begin Sun Belt play in 2017.

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 three years the Sun Belt Conference has gone from having two primary bowl partnerships to five in 2016. 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 new rules on championship games, means that the championship game has become a reality.
The Sun Belt Conference Experience
For student-athletes, Sun Belt institutions are leaders in providing career services and the tools to assist in the pursuit of personal goals. Sun Belt members all employ full-time academic advisors and have on average more than 20 tutors for academic support. During the 2015-16 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 Sun Belt’s commitment to academic excellence remains a hallmark, with the league and its institutions annually rewriting the Sun Belt record book for grade-point averages and academic honors. This past spring, a record-tying 14 league programs were recognized for outstanding performance in the classroom, with those teams earning NCAA Public Recognition Awards for posting APR scores in the top 10 percent of their sport nationally. It was the second straight year for the Sun Belt to have 14 programs honored, doubling the amount of the previous years.

Team News and Notes

Appalachian State Mountaineers
App State rolled up 604 yards of total offense en route to a 37-7 win at New Mexico State on Saturday in Las Cruces. The Apps finish the regular season at 9-3 overall and 7-1 in Sun Belt play. The win, coupled with Arkansas State’s loss earlier in the day, guarantees App a share of the Sun Belt Championship, their first in the Sun Belt and first conference title since winning the Southern Conference in 2012.

App State in now 31-18 overall under Scott Satterfield and 20-2 in their last 22 Sun Belt games. App finishes their second-straight season at 7-1 in Sun Belt play and is 20-2 in their last 22 Sun Belt games.

RB Jalin Moore eclipsed 2,000 yards for his career on his 63-yard run on the Mountaineers’ first drive. Moore has had 100 yards rushing in eight of the Apps’ last nine games.

App allowed only 11.8 points per game (94) in Sun Belt play this season, the fewest allowed against an eight-game schedule in league history and the second fewest per game in league history (North Texas, ‘02 – allowed 59 pts in six games).

App had, essentially (299 vs. GaSo on final kneel), 300 yards rushing for the fourth time in five games. The Mountaineers had 48 carries for 384 yards and are averaging 354 yards per game rushing in their last four wins.

QB Taylor Lamb accounted for 291 yards of total offense and three TDs as App rolled through New Mexico State. He had 4 & 48 yard runs to close out the game.

RB Marcus Cox rolled up 140 yards rushing on 16 carries for his 28th career 100-yard game, a school record. Cox needs (872 yards) 128 yards to become only the ninth running back in NCAA history with 1,000 yards in all four seasons. Cox and Moore both went over 100 yards rushing for the fourth time in five games to close out the season since Cox’ return.

Arkansas State Red Wolves
Arkansas State is bowl eligible for the ninth time over the past 12 seasons . . . A-State’s 15-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak, which was tied for the longest in the nation at the time, was snapped last week with the Red Wolves’ 24-19 setback at Louisiana . . . The Red Wolves hold a 6-1 or better Sun Belt Conference record through seven league games for the second consecutive year and fifth time in school history . . . A-State holds a 39-7 record over its last 46 Sun Belt Conference games . . . A-State has won 18 of its last 22 conference road games . . . The Red Wolves need one more victory to secure a sixth consecutive winning season for the first time since 1912-17 . . . A-State can clinch its fifth Sun Belt Conference championship over the last six seasons with a victory over Texas State . . . Arkansas State has played Texas State three previous times, holding a 2-1 record in those games . . . The Red Wolves’ game at Louisiana marked the third time this season A-State dropped a game when posting more offensive yards than its opponent . . . A-State produced 521 yards total offense, its second most this season, while holding Louisiana to 292 yards, the third fewest by an opponent this year . . . Junior defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones broke the Sun Belt Conference record for career sacks and tied the school record during A-State’s game at Louisiana, finishing the game with 2.0 sacks to push his career total to 28.0 . . . Sophomore QB Justice Hansen posted career highs for completions (35), passing yards (393) and total offense (440 yards) during the Red Wolves’ game against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Georgia Southern Eagles
Georgia Southern and Troy have met 15 times on the gridiron with the Trojans holding a 10-5 lead in the series that dates back to 1934, although that number is a little misleading. Since Georgia Southern re-started its football program for the 1982 season, the Eagles are 5-2 against Troy, including 2-1 at Allen E. Paulson Stadium. The Eagles are on a three-game winning streak against the Trojans. They beat them 24-21 in the 1995 I-AA Playoffs on the road, beat them 42-10 in 2014 at Paulson Stadium and won 45-10 last year on the road. The two teams played every year from 1935-1941 with the Trojans winning all eight contests.

Head coach Tyson Summers was a graduate assistant at Troy in 2004 while defensive backs coach Jeremy Rowell spent 15 seasons at Troy, including the final six as the Trojans’ defensive coordinator. Director of Football Administration Steve Dennis was the athletics director at Troy for seven years.

Senior Day

Twenty-four players will be recognized before the game for their contributions to the program. Over the past four seasons, this group has seen the transformation of the program as it has gone from the FCS to bowl champions. These players have been a part of 29 wins, a league title and a bowl win. They made history with Georgia Southern’s first win over an BCS program in 2013, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference championship and again last year by becoming bowl eligible for the first time. They did it all under three different head coaches during their career.

Senior kicker Younghoe Koo made 14 straight field goals to a school record for consecutive field goals made in a season over previous record-holder Tim Foley’s (12 set in 1985). The Lou Groza Award finalist is 19-for-20 on the season. He is the first Georgia Southern player to be a national finalist for an award since the Eagles joined the FBS in 2014. Koo has five makes of 40 yards or more, including a 53-yarder at Arkansas State. For his career, he has eight made field goals of 40 yards or longer.

Georgia State Panthers
Georgia State concludes the season at Idaho, the alma mater of interim head coach Tim Lappano. The native of Spokane, Wash., and 1983 graduate began his coaching career as the Vandals’ running backs coach (1982-85) under Dennis Erickson. In his five-year stint as tight ends and wide receivers coach with the Detroit Lions (2009-13), Lappano coached on the same offensive staff with Scott Linehan, the father of Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan.

In its last game, Georgia State downed in-state rival Georgia Southern for the second straight year, winning 30-24 in the Panthers’ final game at the Georgia Dome. Georgia State jumped to a 20-0 lead in the first eight minutes and never trailed in the game.

Georgia State is the ONLY FBS TEAM that has not allowed an offensive play (rushing or passing) of 50 yards or longer all season. The longest pass play allowed by the Panthers covered 37 yards, while the longest run was 46 yards.

The Panthers rank sixth in the FBS in pass efficiency defense and ninth in passing yards allowed (177.2) while leading the Sun Belt in both categories.

The Georgia State defense leads Sun Belt with an average of 4.9 yards per play allowed.

Quarterback Conner Manning, who passed for 318 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the win over Georgia Southern, leads the Sun Belt with 268.7 passing yards per game and ranks second in total offense with 265.0 yards per game.

Tight end Keith Rucker caught eight passes for 145 yards vs. Georgia Southern. Rucker is the fifth different Panthers to record a 100-yard receiving game this season, and fourth in the last two games. Robert Davis, Glenn Smith and Jawan Nobles had 100-yard efforts one game earlier vs. ULM, and Todd Boyd topped 100 yards vs. Troy.

Idaho Vandals
Idaho’s Vandals secured a berth in a post-season bowl for the first time since their victory in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. They improved to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the Sun Belt after downing South Alabama 38-31 with a performance that reflected the path they took to their other six ¬¬victories – with significant contributions from every phase of the game.

There were Isaiah Saunder’s career-best 142 yards rushing – a high out of the backfield for a Vandal this fall. His 23 carries and three rushing touchdowns also were bests for an Idaho player this season. A Vandal has scored three or more rushing touchdowns only 25 times in school history. Of those 25, six were games of four rushing touchdowns.

Tony Lashley’s 14 total tackles were second this season only to the 15 stops Ed Hall had at UNLV. Speaking of Hall, he had three tackles for loss against the Jaguars. That matched three TFL single-game efforts by Akeem Coleman (twice), Kaden Elliss, Glen Antoine and Lashley.

Elliss became the Vandals’ leader in interceptions when he picked off USA’s Dallas Davies to run his season total to four, which is third in the Sun Belt and 25th among FBS players.

Of course, Austin Rehkow was dependable as Idaho’s kicker and punter. His five PATs Saturday pushed him into third on Idaho’s career list with 123. His 126 career attempts with his career percentage of .976 both are fifth. He moved into second on Idaho’s all-time scoring list with 324 career points. He’s second only to running back Sherriden May, who scored 366 from 1991-93. Already Idaho’s all-time field goal leader with 67 made and 88 attempts, he moved into No. 1 on the field goal percentage list at .761. For the 2016 season, Rehkow is the Sun Belt Conference leader in scoring average (9.1) and field goals per game (2.09). He’s second in field goal percentage (.920) and third in punting average (.42.8).

Idaho returns to the Kibbie Dome for the regular-season finale against Georgia State. Kickoff for Senior Day/Dads’ Weekend is 2 p.m. Bowl selections will be announced Sunday, Dec. 4.

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will wrap up the regular-season on Saturday (Dec. 3) when it visits ULM in the 51st meeting between the in-state schools at JPS Malone Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., and will be streamed live on ESPN 3. A win by Louisiana (5-6, 4-3 SBC) over its in-state rival would make the Ragin’ Cajuns bowl eligible for the fifth time in six years under head coach Mark Hudspeth.

The Ragin’ Cajuns snapped Arkansas State’s 15-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak dating back to the 2014 season with a dramatic 24-19 victory on Saturday at Cajun Field. Anthony Jennings threw for a pair of touchdown passes while Taboris Lee helped fueled the defense with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown (the 15th defensive TD for Louisiana in the Mark Hudspeth era) in the first quarter.
The win on Senior Day snapped a three-game losing streak in home finales for Louisiana and helped the Ragin’ Cajuns finish with a 3-3 record at home. Louisiana improved its record against the Red Wolves in games played in Lafayette to 15-8 overall and 7-1 since joining the Sun Belt Conference.

Louisiana capitalized on a goal-line stand in the second quarter and took a 14-7 lead after driving 99 yards in 11 plays. Elijah McGuire capped the drive with a 14-yard scoring pass from Jennings. The touchdown for McGuire was the 10th TD reception in his career and increased his career total to a school-record 51.

Jennings threw for 242 yards – the second-highest total of his career – with his two passing TDs his first since the Texas State game (10/22). Redshirt freshman Ja’Marcus Bradley recorded a season-high 113 yards, marking his first career 100-yard game. His 42-yard reception in the third quarter was a season-best.

Stevie Artigue’s 34-yard field goal with 10:24 remaining was his 16th of the season, moving him into sole possession of fourth-place on the school’s single-season field goal list.

ULM Warhawks
ULM has been one of the least penalized teams in the country so far this season. The Warhawks rank fifth nationally with just 47 total penalties having been called on them, balancing out to a 4.27 penalties per game average (seventh nationally). ULM’s minuscule 510 total penalty yards ranks 19th nationally in fewest penalty yards, while 46.36 penalty yards per game average ranks 36th in the country through Nov. 26 games. ULM is tops in the Sun Belt Conference in all four of those categories.

Through 10 games this season, the Warhawks have accumulated 1,835 total yards on the ground, averaging 183.5 yards per game. That rushing yardage is 497 yards more than the team’s final rushing yardage of the 2015 season (1,338 yards in 13 total games). ULM’s 1,835 total rushing yards to date is better than its final season rushing yardages the past three seasons, and is one yard shy the team’s final 1,836 total yard rushing tally from the 2011 season. The largest rushing total over the past 10 ULM seasons was a 2,207 rushing yard season in 2009.

With Caleb Evans’ three-touchdown game in the overtime win over South Alabama, the Warhawks have now seen three different quarterbacks – Garrett Smith, Will Collins and Caleb Evans – all throw for two or more touchdowns in a game, marking the second consecutive season ULM has notched the obscure stat.

New Mexico State Aggies
Rodney Butler remains the nation’s leading tackler with 150 total tackles (13.6/game) while his 57 solo tackles (5.2/game) sits him in 30th. Butler has now led the nation in tackling 11 out of the 13 weeks since NM State opened up the 2016 season on Sept. 3 at UTEP. Butler’s 364 career tackles ranks him fourth-best amongst active FBS players and No. 23 compared to Division I players. His career tackling average of 7.91 is good for 10th amongst active FBS players.

The tackling duo of Butler (150) and Dalton Herrington (98) are second amongst FBS players with 248 tackles combined.

NM State’s Butler, Herrington and Terrill Hanks own the top-eight spots in Sun Belt play in total tackles with Nos. 1, 3 and 8.

Noah Brown recorded his first fumble recovery of the season, in the second quarter.

Conner Cramer set career-highs in rushing yards (74) and passing yards (93). Cramer notched his first career touchdown on a 54-yard pass to Tyrian Taylor in the second quarter.

Larry Rose III gained 33 all-purpose yards which put his career total at 4,060 and he is now 39 yards away from passing Taeveon Rogers (4,098) for fourth all-time on the career list.

NM State’s 3-2 mark at home is the first time its head three-plus wins at home in a season since 2007.

South Alabama Jaguars
The Jaguars head into their final regular-season contest Saturday against New Mexico State needing a win to be considered for a postseason bowl game for the second time in three years. … Prior to the match-up, South will recognize 23 seniors playing in their final regular-season game with the program. … This marks the third time in four years that the Jags will conclude play on the final day of the regular season with a home contest, and the fourth straight fall they will end the regular-season campaign at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. … The Jaguars are 3-4 all-time on Senior Day, with the last victory — a 30-8 decision over Louisiana-Lafayette — coming on Dec. 7, 2013. … USA is looking for its first three-game winning streak at home since Oct. 18-Nov. 15, 2014. … A victory over the Aggies would give the Jags a .500 or better record at home in Sun Belt Conference action for the fourth straight season. … Maaseiah Francis recorded career highs with seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns in South Alabama’s game at Idaho, leading all players in each category while posting the most receiving yards by a Jaguar this fall. Both his touchdowns came in the first half and helped the Jags draw within one score of the Vandals, including a career-long 75-yard reception on the first play after South fell behind by 10 points midway through the second quarter. It was the first time in over a year that a Jaguar has caught multiple touchdown passes in a game — Gerald Everett was the last to do so in an Oct. 3 victory at Troy last fall — and the second-highest yards receiving posted by a tight end in program history. Coming into the contest, the sophomore had collected 110 yards on 10 receptions in USA’s first 10 outings. … Jalen Thompson intercepted a pair of passes and added a career-high 10 tackles — all unassisted — at Idaho last time out, breaking up another pass as well. The sophomore cornerback became the first Jag to pick off multiple passes in a game in more than a year (Kalen Jackson was the last to accomplish the feat a year ago in a win at Troy), and the first to record an interception in back-to-back outings since Ken Barefield turned the trick in the 2010 finale and season opener in 2011. He was also the first USA cornerback to finish with a double-digit tackle total since Montell Garner was credited with 10 stops against Arkansas State on Nov. 2, 2013 … Junior RB/RS Xavier Johnson reached multiple milestones with his performance against the Vandals after posting a team-leading 83 yards on 14 carries and 118 all-purpose yards. Johnson became just the second player in program history to surpass 2,000 rushing yards and 3,000 all-purpose yards, while he is the first individual to record multiple seasons with 1,000 or more all-purpose yards in the school’s record books. It was also the fifth straight outing that he led South’s ground game — the first time an individual has accomplished the feat since the program’s inception in 2009 — and the eighth time in 10 appearances this fall that Johnson has paced the Jaguars in rushing yards.

Texas State Bobcats
Bryan London enters Saturday’s game against Arkansas State leading the nation’s freshmen defenders and ranks third overall among NCAA Division I FBS tackling leaders with 123 total tackles this season.

London’s 123 stops rank ninth among Texas State’s all-time single season leaders. He needs three more tackles to tie for seventh place on the list and 10 more stops to move among Texas State’s top five leaders.

Bryan London and Gabe Loyd have combined for 216 tackles as a duo this season and that ranks 10th among NCAA Division I FBS tackling duos this season.
Tyler Siudzinski ran for a season-best 52 yards on 11 carries to lead the Bobcats in rushing against Troy.

Redshirt sophomore Connor White made his first career start at quarterback against Troy. White completed eight of his 16 passes for 108 yards and one interception. He completed a 33-yard pass to Elijah King.

Connor White’s start against the Trojans marks the first time in 35 games that Tyler Jones has not been Texas State’s starting quarterback. Jones had started 34 consecutive games before the Troy contest. Troy is the only Sun Belt team that Jones has not played against.

Elijah King led the Bobcats with four catches for 84 yards against Troy after sitting out the New Mexico State game. He leads the Bobcats with 453 receiving yards on 28 catches this season.

Brandon McDowell had a season-best of 137 yards on five kickoff returns against Troy. McDowell’s 42-yard return in the second quarter is the second-longest return for the Bobcats this season.

Troy Trojans
Neal Brown is the fourth-youngest head coach at the FBS level. Brown turned 36 on March 11 … only Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck and Georgia Southern’s Tyson Summers are younger … A Troy victory would give the Trojans their sixth Sun Belt Conference championship since joining the league in 2004; no team would have more Sun Belt titles than the Trojans … Troy became just the second team to hold both of App State’s running backs (Jalin Moore & Marcus Cox) under 100 yards [Miami, Fla.] … the pair had 10 combined 100-yard games entering their contest with Troy … Troy became the first team in Sun Belt Conference history to open a season 8-1 … Troy has held an opponent under 100 yards rushing five times this season, which is the tied for the third most in Troy’s FBS history … Troy’s two-minute offense has converted points on 4-of-6 drives (66.7 percent); the national average is 15.9 percent … Neal Brown coached offenses — OC at Troy, Texas Tech and Kentucky & HC at Troy — have never been shutout … a span of 111 games … Troy has adopted the motto #RebuildTheWall. The saying is crafted from Greek mythology and the Iliad. The city of Troy had a mighty wall that surrounded the city before it was eventually destroyed thanks to the Trojan Horse … Troy Football built a wall around the Sun Belt with five straight league titles (2006-10) & is now looking to #RebuildTheWall under Neal Brown … Troy has worn a different uniform combination in all 11 of its games this season … The crowd of 25,782 to watch Troy beat App State was the largest to watch a SBC game in Veterans Memorial Stadium history and the fifth largest overall … Troy set the single-season overall (135,203) and single-season average (22,534) attendance records this season … Troy’s four straight road wins currently ranks as the sixth-longest active streak in the country … Troy’s five-win improvement from last year currently stands as the fifth best in the country … Troy’s defense has allowed just eight rushes of 20 or more yards allowed by the Troy defense, which is the fifth fewest allowed in the country … Brandon Silvers moved into ninth place in Troy history with 2,707 passing yards in a single season after throwing for 218 yards on Saturday … Jordan Chunn moved into a tie for third place on the Troy career rushing touchdown list after rushing for one touchdown against Texas State; he now has 32 in his career.

About the Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference’s “Together We Rise” motto isn’t just hyperbole. It’s proven fact on many different levels, not the least being its place in the hierarchy of collegiate athletics. The league’s embracing of innovations and advancements, its constant efforts to adapt in the ever-changing world of college athletics, and its continuing process of evolving to better serve its membership has been well documented since the day the conference was founded in 1976.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Since that founding, the Sun Belt Conference has always been a league of opportunity. Athletic and academic programs who have shown progressive thinking and the desire to improve have always found a home in the Sun Belt. For student-athletes, Sun Belt institutions are leaders in providing career services and the tools to assist in the pursuit of personal goals. Sun Belt members all employ full-time academic advisors and have on average more than 20 tutors for academic support. During the 2015-16 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 Sun Belt Conference’s membership consists of 11 football members – Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy. Little Rock and UT Arlington compete in all-sports as non-football members while Idaho and New Mexico State are football only members. Coastal Carolina joined the Sun Belt Conference in all sports but football in 2016. The CCU football program will begin Sun Belt play in 2017.

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

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