The news of the week had to be ULM's impressive win over Arkansas State.
Coming into the game, ASU was widely considered the second best team in the Sunbelt and ULM something of a mirage.
You are not a mirage when you can punch a good team in the mouth like ULM did ASU, especially without your starting QB for most of the game.
ULM hit two big passing plays, one for a TD and one that was down at the one and lead to a TD. On the surface that may have accounted for the margin of victory, but around those plays ULM grounded out the clock on a wet field, while shutting down the ASU running game.
ULM ran the ball 41 times at 3.0 yards a carry while holding ASU to 0.9 yards per carry. ASU fought back from a 16-0 deficit in the third quarter to get within a TD of the lead, but ULM shut the Red Wolves down in the fourth quarter.
An impressive team win by the Warhawks.
Florida International also notched their first win of the season over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. In last week's projections, I had predicted a strong game from freshman QB Kawaun Jakes, but the Golden Panther defense held him under control as FIU won 37-20.
And finally, Louisiana Lafayette's Ragin' Cajuns refused to lose, coming back from a 10 point deficit to beat the North Texas Mean Green 38-34 on a late TD. An argument can be made that UNT gave the game away to ULL, but it is not that valid of an argument. Winning teams make plays when the game is on the line; losing teams do not.
This weeks' schedule:
Mississippi State @ Middle Tennessee State - Is MTSU a good team or are they merely good for the Sunbelt? Mississippi State has lost to a number of good teams... 49-24 to Auburn when Auburn was playing well, 30-26 to LSU, 42-31 to Georgia Tech, and 31-24 to Houston.
I am not prepared to say MTSU belongs with those teams. Add in the distractions of the week and subtract MTSU's home field advantage and I think this is a close 35-32 win for the SEC's Bulldogs.
UL- Lafayette @ Western Kentucky - Which Kawaun Jakes shows up? If the good one shows, the Hilltoppers have a shot to win this one. ULL's tackling is suspect, as is their passing defense. I am not prepared to back Jakes two weeks in a row. ULL 48, WKU 30
Troy @ Florida International - Troy will destroy FIU, to recapture more of their pre-season swagger. 56 -10.
Florida Atlantic @ North Texas - This is potentially a season turning game for each team. Ultimately, I question whether UNT thinks they can beat the Owls. If they don't, they won't.
It is as simple as that. (The fact that Howard Schnellenberger owns UNT doesn't hurt either.) If this game follows the trends of this season, look for UNT to give this game away in the fourth, 37-34.
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