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Football: Sun Belt Conference Team Notes Week of Sept 21st

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Football: Sun Belt Conference Team Notes Week of Sept 21st

Sun Belt Conference Team News & Notes

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Senior defensive end Alex Carrington recorded his first sack of the season against Nebraska , giving him 13.5 sacks for his career  and leaving him just 2.5 sacks shy of tying the fifth most in school history .

Demario Davis (10), Cordarious Mingo (7), Nathan Herrold (6), Greg Smith (5), Kelcie McCray (5) all set new career highs for tackles in a game.  Davis ’ 10 tackles topped his previous best by seven tackles and are the most by an ASU player this season.

Senior running back Reggie Arnold posted his fifth rushing TD of the season and 26th of his career, which places him in a tie with Calvin Harrell (1968-71) for the third most in school history .   Rushing for 83 yards against Nebraska , Arnold now has 3,419 career rushing yards and passed Louisiana-Monroe’s Calvin Dawson (2004-07) for the fourth most rushing yards in Sun Belt Conference history.

Senior wide receiver Jahbari McLennan tied his career high for receptions with seven against Nebraska .  McLennan also finished with 69 receiving yards, 10 yards short of his career high.

Handling punting duties for jus the second game of his career at ASU, sophomore Ryan Wilbourn booted a career-best 57 yard punt against No. 18 Nebraska that is the longest of the season by a Sun Belt Conference player.  After averaging 20.1 yards per punt last week, he punted five times for 225 yards against Nebraska for a 45.0-yard average per punt.  His 45.0 average was the best single-game average by an ASU player since the 2007 season.

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic faced off against the University of South Carolina and took a 16-17 score into the half and were scheduled to receive starting the second half. FAU’s first drive of the second half ended with an interception and later Gamecock score that ultimately gave USC the game.

Lester Jean drew his first start of the 2009 season and the second of his career. His first catch of the night was a 14 yard reception.

Ross Gornall kicked a 37 yard field goal with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter to put FAU on the board for the first time of the night. It is his career long to date.

Junior Dino Cox recorded the first sack of the season for the Owls. Cox’s sack began the second quarter.

Tavious Polo was back for kick returns for the first time in his career. His first return was for 38 yards and set up the first TD drive of the 2009 season.

Senior Chris Bonner had a 23 yard TD reception with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter. Bonner’s score was the seventh of his career and the first of the young season for the Owls.

Ed Alexander had five first half tackles and nine on the night for a new career high.

FAU will play host to ULM , 3 p.m. Saturday in its season home opener. ULM holds the all-time series at 3-2. In a reversal of fate, ULM has won the three games played at FAU and FAU has captured the two at Monroe . The last outing at FAU was a triple overtime thriller. The game will mark the 99th for the Owls.

FIU Golden Panthers

FIU’s offense took a while to get going against Rutgers , but once it did, it showed how explosive it can be as the Panthers scored twice in the last seven minutes, but eventually ran out of time in a 23-15 loss. The two scores came in similar fashion as the Panthers drove down the field and capped off both drives with a Paul McCall to T.Y. Hilton touchdown strike. With his touchdown grab in the fourth quarter, Hilton, who had a career-best nine catches, has now scored or thrown a touchdown in seven consecutive games. The last time he didn’t score a touchdown was in FIU’s 33-23 loss at Troy on October, 18 2008. T.Y. also extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 13 games.

Hilton wasn’t the only receiver that McCall was in sync with on Saturday night as he found Ty Frierson seven times, giving Frierson a new career-best mark for receptions. All in all, McCall connected with seven receivers, finishing the game 24-37 with 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Scott Bryant was his usual ball-hawking self as he finished the game with 12 tackles. Thatcher Starling recorded a sack and a half while Winston Fraser also recorded his first-career sack and Toronto Smith also added a sack.

Up next for the Panthers is their home opener as they welcome the Rockets of Toledo and their high-powered offense to FIU Stadium. Even with the shutout they suffered at the hands of Ohio State this past weekend, the Rockets are averaging 28.3 points per game. However, they have also given up 42.7 points per game. The matchup will be a rematch of last year’s meeting in Toledo ’s Glass Bowl, when FIU stunned the Rockets’ faithful by beating Toledo 35-16. In that game, T.Y. Hilton scored the first receiving touchdown of his career.

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

The Cajuns have already put together nine drives greater than 60 yards this season. Seven of those drive resulted in a touchdown, while one other ended in a field goal.

The Cajuns have five interceptions after three games, putting the team on pace for 20 this season.  ULL had only nine picks in 2008, nine in 2007 and just six in 2006.

Tyler Albrecht’s first career field goal attempt will be talked about for a long time.  His 48-yard game-winning blast with 32 seconds left carried the Cajuns to a 17-15 win over Big XII-member Kansas State .  Showing he wasn’t a one-kick wonder, Albrecht nailed his second career attempt, a 40-yard boot at Louisiana State .

The Cajuns are one of just 13 FBS schools returning all five starters to their offensive line.  UL joins Clemson, East Carolina , Florida State, Georgia , Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Minnesota , Rutgers, San Jose State , Southern California, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest .

Entering the 2009 season, the Cajuns current offensive linemen have combined for 113 career start.  That ranks second in the FBS, behind only Colorado State (125).  Behind the Cajuns are UAB (107), East Carolina (101), FIU (101), Notre Dame (100) and Virginia Tech (100).

After defeating Kansas State by a final score of 17-15, the Cajuns are now 2-2 at home vs. the Big 12 .  ULL beat Texas A&M 29-22 in 1996, while losing to Oklahoma State in 1997 and Texas Tech in 1999.  The Cajuns are in search of their first road victory over a Big 12 opponent (0-13).

ULM Warhawks

Safety Greg James extended his team-leading starts streak out to 35 games; punter Scott Love and linebacker Josh Thomas extended their respective streaks to 27 games.

Aaron Morgan’s three sacks propelled him to three-consecutive games with a sack. It was also the third time in his career that he has recorded two sacks in a contest.

Darrell McNeal’s 14-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was the second-consecutive game this season in which he has caught a pass for a score.   McNeal was the only ULM receiver to catch multiple passes during Saturday’s game against Arizona State . It was also the 28th game of his career in which he has hauled in multiple throws.  McNeal is ranked 15th in the NCAA with 25-consecutive games with a catch.

Running back Frank Goodin’s 62 yards pushed him into sole possession of eighth place all-time in ULM history with 1,606 yards. He is now 52 yards shy of tying seventh place all-time (1,658 yards).

Linebacker Cardia Jackson moved within 21 tackles of 10th place on the all-time ULM tackles list with 283.

Anthony McCall’s fourth quarter touchdown pass was the first of the season and the fifth different ULM receiver to catch a touchdown strike.

The Warhawks open Sun Belt Conference play next weekend at Florida Atlantic. ULM is 5-0 all-time in the state of Florida against SBC teams.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Middle Tennessee earned its fifth win in 35 all-time meetings against schools from the Big Six conferences with the 32-31 triumph Saturday against Maryland . The Blue Raiders picked up their first road win against one of the Big Six since a 2005 win at Vanderbilt.

Senior Chris McCoy turned in his best game as a Blue Raider against Maryland . The defensive end set career highs in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (4.0) to go along with a blocked field goal, a pass breakup and a sack. McCoy added 2.5 tackles for loss last week in the win over Memphis and now has 6.5 over the last two games combined. The four tackles for loss tie for second all-time in program history for a single game with nine other players and is the first time a Blue Raider had that many since J.K. Sabb posted a school-record five against North Texas in 2005.

Junior quarterback Dwight Dasher registered his personal-best third straight 200-yard passing game, and career-high 324 yards, when he completed 27 of 44 passes for 2 touchdown passes. Dasher’s 27 completions and 44 attempts against Maryland were also career-highs for the Folkston, Ga. , native.

Junior Garrett Andrews came up with a career-best four receptions for 83 yards and his first touchdown as a Blue Raider. The junior college transfer thought he had a touchdown in the third quarter but a replay review reversed the call. Andrews came right back on the next possession and took a pass 32 yards on 4th and 1 for his first touchdown.

Senior wide receiver Desmond Gee scored his first touchdown of the season in the third quarter against Maryland on a six-yard run from the tailback position. It was Gee’s sixth career rushing touchdown and his first since his freshman year in 2006. Overall, Gee now has 14 career touchdowns with eight on receptions and six on rushes.

North Texas Mean Green

Alabama had touchdown drives of 95 and 67 yards on in the first quarter. Those are the two longest drives given up by the Mean Green defense this season.

Quarterback Nathan Tune threw a 17-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Darius Carey with under two minutes to play in the first quarter for the Mean Green’s first, first down of the game.

The 14 points that North Texas allowed in the first quarter were the only points the Mean Green has allowed in the first quarter this season.  The Mean Green had outscored its opponents 10-0 in the first quarter of the first two games.

North Texas’ 29 yards of offense in the first quarter was the fewest it has posted in any quarter this season.  It was the fewest yards gained in a quarter by North Texas since it had 28 in the fourth quarter against LSU in 2008.

North Texas trailed 30-0 at halftime which was the first time it had been held scoreless in a half since Florida International jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead in 2008.

North Texas was outgained 352-62 in total offense in the first half, which was the largest differential in total offense since it was outgained 482-75 against Oklahoma in the 2007 season opener.

Sophomore running back James Hamilton recorded his first carries of the season when he entered the game in the third quarter.

Troy Trojans

The Trojans’ 2009 home debut featured the team wearing white pants for the first time since the 2005 season.

Sophomore Tebiarus Gill’s touchdown catch with 5:58 left in the first half was the first of his Troy career.

Chip Reeves hauled in a 63-yard pass for a score with seven minutes left in the third quarter for his first career touchdown.

Troy tied a school record with 15 penalties in the game against UAB.  The Trojans have been flagged for 15 penalties on three previous occasions.  The 142 yards in penalties against the Trojans fell short of the school record of 168 yards set against West Alabama in 1961.

Senior receiver Zack Marcum set a career-high with 46 yards receiving on four catches.

Senior quarterback Levi Brown set a personal-high with 413 yards passing. He also tossed two touchdowns. His 413 yards passing were the second-highest total in school history and just the second 400-yard game in the history of the program (Hall of Famer Sim Byrd threw for 454 yards against Samford in 1968).

WKU Hilltoppers

The Hilltoppers dropped a 28-7 decision to Central Arkansas at home on Saturday.

Senior quarterback Brandon Smith rushed for his first touchdown on the season late in the second quarter, getting into the end zone from four yards out.  Smith led WKU in rushing for the second straight game with 59 yards on the ground.

WKU passed for a season-high 141 yards in the contest, with Smith accounting for 66 yards, and redshirt freshman Kawaun Jakes passing for 75 yards.  The duo combined to complete 17 of 36 passes.

Senior linebacker L.J. Harbison recorded his first career interception on Saturday.

Sophomore Bobby Rainey led WKU in all-purpose yards for the third time in as many games, racking up 84 yards – including 68 on four kickoff returns.

The Hilltoppers play their final nonconference game of the season this Saturday, traveling to Annapolis , Md. , to take on Navy.

Source:  Sun Belt Media Relations

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