2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12 - Sun Belt Previews
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Nov. 19 Western Kentucky 31 … at North Texas 21
(AP) DENTON, Texas -- Kawaun Jakes threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns to lead Western Kentucky over North Texas 31-21 on Saturday night.
Jakes' longest touchdown pass was for 63 yards to Tyler Higbee late in first half, giving the Hilltoppers (6-5, 6-1 Sun Belt) a 17-14 lead. They never trailed again.
Bobby Rainey led the game in running with 214 yards and a touchdown for Western Kentucky. Casey Tinius added a field goal.
Derek Thompson led in passing with 254 yards and two touchdowns for the Mean Green (4-7, 3-4) while James Hamilton ran for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Western Kentucky (5-5) at North Texas (4-6) Nov. 19, 7:00 Sun Belt Network
Here’s The Deal … This is a huge game for the Hilltoppers as they have to win out and hope that Arkansas State loses its last two games to have a chance to win the conference championship. Also, with a win over North Texas, this would be the first time since WKU moved up to the FBS level that it will have qualified for a bowl game. The Hilltoppers had their five game losing streak end last week at LSU, but they gave the Tigers a scare in the first half. North Texas is going to be playing with a purpose as well because the Mean Green still have a chance at making a bowl game if they win their last two games. It has been seven years since North Texas won back-to-back games, and the Mean Green will be looking to make a statement in front of their home fans.
Why Western Kentucky Might Win: The Hilltoppers have been on an absolute roll lately except for the game against LSU which is excusable. With a five game conference winning streak, WKU is poised to have one of the best seasons in school history. The Hilltoppers are led by star RB Bobby Rainey, who ranks fourth nationally with 125.40 yards per game. It has been three weeks though since his last touchdown, and WKU will need him to find the endzone if they are going to go into Denton and emerge with the victory.
Why North Texas Might Win: North Texas has never lost to WKU, winning all four meetings in series history. The Mean Green will counter with their own stud rusher in RB Lance Dunbar. Dunbar only needs 129 yards to become the sixth player in NCAA history with over 4,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 career receiving yards. He is not having a great season by his standards, and North Texas will need him to have a breakout game in this one for the Mean Green to get the big conference win.
What To Watch Out For: WKU QB Kawaun Jakes & UNT WR Chris Bynes. Jakes has been very inconsistent this year tossing 12 interceptions against only seven touchdowns. The Hilltoppers will need him to be efficient and not make mistakes if they are to pull off the road victory. Bynes had the first 100 yard receiving game of his career last week in which he had seven catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. If North Texas can get the passing game going to take the pressure off Dunbar then the Mean Green attack could produce some fireworks in this matchup.
What Will Happen: North Texas has many intangibles in its favor for this game, but the Mean Green have not been consistent in years, and WKU is on track for a very special season . The Hilltoppers will come out focused, and the Mean Green will look like they are running in mud compared to what WKU faced in Baton Rouge last week. Rainey will run for over 150 yards, and WKU will pull away in the fourth quarter for the two touchdown victory.
CFN Prediction: Western Kentucky 31 … North Texas 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: WKU -3 O/U:
Nov. 19 FIU 28 … at ULM 17
(AP) MONROE, La. -- Wesley Carroll came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes to lead Florida International to a 28-17 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
Carroll, who passed for 213 yards, came in after starter Jake Medlock was injured on the second play of the game. Carroll had touchdowns of 13 yards to Colt Anderson, 27 yards to Glenn Coleman and 58 yards to T.Y. Hilton as the Golden Panthers (7-4, 4-3 Sun Belt Conference) built a 21-7 lead in the first half.
The seven regular-season wins are the most in program history for FIU.
Louisiana-Monroe (3-8, 2-5) had more first downs (25-17) and total yards (356-340) than FIU, but its offense had trouble reaching the end zone. Kolton Browning scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to provide the final margin. The Warhawks' only other touchdown came on a 98-yard kickoff return by Luther Ambrose.
Florida International (6-4) at ULM (3-7) Nov. 19, 5:00
Here’s The Deal … Both teams enter this contest after impressive victories a week ago. FIU dominated rival FAU throughout the contest, winning by a final score of 41-7. The Panthers are bowl-eligible for a second consecutive year, and with a win here would be an attractive candidate for an at-large selection since they are eliminated from the conference championship race. ULM has actually had a very good season statistically, but that has not translated to the win/loss column. The Warhawks did steamroll Middle Tennessee 42-14 last week, and they will be looking to finish the season strong with wins in their last two conference games to finish the season at .500 in Sun Belt play.
Why Florida International Might Win: The Golden Panthers will have the best player on the field in T.Y. Hilton. He had a 97 yard punt return for a touchdown against FAU, and he is a threat to score from anywhere. FIU is 2nd in the nation in punt returns with a 17.55 average per return. This will help to set the Panthers up in outstanding field position throughout the game. Couple this with ULM’s 118th ranked punting unit that only averages 31.44 yards per punt, and this could be the difference in the ball game.
Why ULM Might Win: The Warhawks have an outstanding return man as well in Luther Ambrose. He ranks 14th in the country with 28.65 yards per kick return. Special teams may be the deciding factor in a close battle. Also, ULM has one of the best rushing defenses in the nation, ranking 11th in the country allowing only 101.60 yards per game. The FIU offense has struggled at times this year, so if ULM can force FIU to become one-dimensional through the air then the Warhawks could pull off the mild upset at home.
What To Watch Out For: FIU FS Justin Halley & ULM RB Jyruss Edwards. Halley is just a freshman but made a name for himself last week in the win over FAU. He came up with two interceptions in the game which gives him three for the season. The Panthers will need him to make a big play in this game if they are going to stop ULM QB Kolton Browning and the Warhawks offense. Edwards has turned into a scoring machine the last couple of weeks for the Warhawks. He has crossed the goal line seven times in the past two games, getting three rushing touchdowns in both and adding a receiving touchdown against ULL. Last week was his first game to eclipse the century mark in rushing yards when he racked up 191 against Middle Tennessee. If he has another productive outing then ULM will be able to put pressure on the FIU defense for four quarters.
What Will Happen: FIU is probably the better team, but the Warhawks have a renewed sense of confidence after seeing what they were capable of last week against the Blue Raiders. This game will be a defensive battle, and Hilton will make at least one breathtaking return, but it will not be enough as ULM will sustain drives and win the time of possession battle which will lead to the game winning drive at the end of the game.
CFN Prediction: ULM 20 … Florida International 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: ULM -1.5 O/U: 50
Nov. 19 Arkansas State 45 … at Middle Tennessee 19
(AP) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Ryan Aplin threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Arkansas State defeated Middle Tennessee 45-19 on Saturday.
Aplin was 25 of 57 passing for 294 yards and ran for 41 more on 15 carries.
Aplin's 21-yard TD pass to Anthony Kincy started a 17-point scoring streak for the Red Wolves (9-2, 7-0 Sun Belt Conference).
Frankie Jackson scored on an 8-yard run and Brian Davis kicked a 24-yard field goal to give Arkansas State a 25-2 lead with 5:54 left in the second quarter.
Middle Tennessee (2-8, 1-5) made it 25-19 on Jeff Murphy's 12-yard pass to Sancho McDonald, but Jackson (2 yards), Jermaine Robertson (30 yards) and Aplin (2 yards) all ran in touchdowns for Arkansas State, to seal it.
The Red Wolves finished with 536 yards of total offense, and held the ball for almost 10 more minutes than the Blue Raiders (34:31-25:29).
Arkansas State (8-2) at Middle Tennessee (2-7) Nov. 19, 3:00, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … The ASU fans are going through the roof. Their team is on a seven game winning streak and is on the verge of a Sun Belt title. This has already been the best season in school history, and while a loss wouldn’t damper the fun too much, it would be a big disappointment if the team didn’t close strong against the lousy Blue Raiders this week and an awful Troy team next week.
Middle Tennessee can’t get the season going. The offense has gone into the tank at the worst time possible, and the defense hasn’t exactly picked up the slack giving up 111 points over the last three weeks and with four losses in the last five games. The bowl hopes were gone last week in a 42-14 loss to ULM, and while it can’t really play a role of spoiler with ASU all but assured of a Sun Belt title, closing out strong with games against FIU and North Texas would finish up a bad year on a high note.
Why Arkansas State Might Win: The Middle Tennessee defense has been a disaster. The secondary got torched by Tennessee – and Tennessee’s passing game doesn’t torch anyone – while the run defense got lit up by UL Lafayette for 338 yards and four scores and ULM for 260 yards and four touchdowns. The Arkansas State offense has been solid enough to move the ball however it wants against the Blue Raider D, while on the other side of the ball the Red Wolves should be able to stuff the anemic run game. ASU is coming up with every big stop at key times, and the pass rush has been phenomenal, cranking out three sacks a game, but …
Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: The Blue Raider offensive line is doing a phenomenal job in pass protection. The backfield will get time to work, and the chances will be there to move the ball, but the skill players have to start to perform. There’s nothing to lose at this point and the passing game that’s been solid should be able to bomb away a bit as long as the line is doing its job. The team doesn’t make a slew of bad penalties, or any penalties at all, with just three in the last two games and a mere 39 on the season. Arkansas State committed 12 penalties last week against ULL alone.
What To Watch Out For: 6-3, 255-pound senior Brandon Joiner came in from the JUCO ranks to come up with a good first season, and now he’s turning into one of the Sun Belt’s best linemen. A star at getting into the backfield for Navarro College, he originally signed with Texas A&M and now is rocking with ten sacks on the year with four last week in an unstoppable performance against ULL, and he’s decent against the run at times, too, making eight tackles last week.
The Middle Tennessee offense needs Logan Kilgore to start bombing away again. He was great throughout the first half of the season with 200 yards or more in every game but one, but he was awful against Tennessee completing 4-of-10 passes for 25 yards and a pick, and he stunk against ULM last week. To have any chance, the combination of Kilgore and Jeff Murphy have to combine for over 300 yards and they have to own third downs. They came close to doing that last week, and it didn’t matter. Against ASU, they’re going to have to be perfect.
What Will Happen: The Arkansas State machine will keep on rolling. The team is playing too well in all phases and Middle Tennessee is too much of a mess right now to stop the momentum. The Red Wolves will put it away early.
CFN Prediction: Arkansas State 38 … Middle Tennessee 24
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Arkansas State -11 O/U: 56.5
Florida Atlantic (0-9) at Troy (2-7) Nov. 19, 3:30
Here’s The Deal … Troy is on a five game losing streak for the first time ever under head coach Larry Blakeney. The Trojans lost at home in a shootout against North Texas last week and are now ineligible to make a bowl game. Luckily, the Trojans are facing the one team that might be playing more poorly than themselves. FAU enters this game winless on the year, and the Owls were blown out last week in their rivalry game against FIU. Neither team has been able to find an identity this year, but both teams will be looking to this game as an opportunity to finish the last part of the season on a positive note.
Why Florida Atlantic Might Win: The Owls are very strong at pass defense, which will be a big deal going against Troy QB Corey Robinson and the Trojans passing attack. FAU has also done an outstanding job this year at making stops behind the line of scrimmage, averaging 6.22 tackles for loss per game which is good enough to rank 44th nationally. If the Owls can get to Robinson and force him to make decisions under pressure, then they have a chance to notch their first victory of the year.
Why Troy Might Win: Troy is much more familiar with winning than FAU, and Blakeney will have his team prepared to come out inspired on Senior Day and to play well in front of the home crowd. While FAU does have a strong pass defense, the Trojans aerial attack will be one of the best that the Owls have encountered all year. Robinson tied a career high with four touchdown passes last week in the loss to North Texas, and he will be looking to make big plays downfield throughout the contest. The Trojans have more speed and big-play potential on the outside than FAU, so if they can hit a couple of home runs down the field then it might be the difference in the game.
What To Watch Out For: FAU RB Alfred Morris & Troy WR Eric Thomas. Morris became the Owls all-time leader in rushing yards last week as he gained 110 yards against FIU and was one of the lone bright spots in a very poorly played game by FAU. He will need to have another outstanding performance and will have to keep the chains moving to keep the lethal Troy offense off the field. For Troy, Thomas had one of the best games of his young career last week as he accumulated three receptions for 70 yards, two of which went for touchdowns. He now has seven total touchdowns on the year and is just two shy of breaking the single season record for the Trojans. If he creates space downfield and allows room for Robinson to get him the ball then they could be a potent combination against the Owls.
What Will Happen: It is hard to pick either team to win this game since neither has had much success this year, but Troy appears to be the better team and playing in front of the home fans for the last time this season will motivate the players to bring their best efforts to the table. There will be several turnovers in this contest, but the Trojans will make more impact plays than the Owls and win the game in a close, low-scoring contest.
CFN Prediction: Troy 34… Florida Atlantic 17
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Troy -10.5 O/U:
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