F is for Fun Belt Conference

Sun Belt Conference
Photo credit: (AP/Photo Orlin Wagner)

By: Morgan Jenkins

The first week of the college football season is in the books. While Big 12 teams thought the first week would be a breeze, The Sun Belt Conference showed otherwise.
The Big 12 Conference had seven teams play this weekend and of the seven who player, three teams lost…to teams in the Sun Belt Conference. The Sun Belt Conference is an FBS Division 1 conference, its teams are rarely picked to do well or at least better than a Power 5 conference. So, let’s look at the three games that shocked Big 12 fans.
University of Louisiana Lafayette- 31 Iowa State- 14
Number 25 AP Poll ranked Iowa State was predicted to defeat the ULL, but the Rajin Cajuns beat those odds. The Cyclones QB Brock Purdy has been known for this strong passing game. After last season of setting 18 school records, three of which were: passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passing completions the playing expectations for this game were high. Purdy however threw for a percentage of only 46%.
Although the team’s performance does not solely fall on just the quarterback, his performance did not reflect his passing history. ULL’s secondary was on fire, they played simple textbook coverage, which seemed to be overlooked by the Cyclone’s offense.
Another mistake that cost the Cyclones the game was the lack of defense. The defense allowed ULL running back Chris Smith and cornerback Eric Garror to score touchdowns on kick returns.
This loss caused Iowa State to drop out of the AP poll and ULL to be pushed to number 21. Now with the season just starting, a lot of improvements need to be made. To say this was once a ranked team, this past performance was sloppy on both lines. Iowa State has a lot to work on before facing TCU for their first conference game on September 26th.
Coastal Carolina- 38 Kansas- 23
The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defeated the Kansas Jayhawks for the second year in a row. Last year the score was 12-7, this time the Chanticleers spared no mercy.
In the first half, Kansas had three turnovers. And just like a strategic offense should do, the chanticleers capitalized off of every mistake made. Coastal Carolina’s offense was quicker and more efficient with their possessions. For example, a simple play that stood out occurred in the second quarter. It was the Chanticleers ball at Kansas 25 on 1st and 10, when quarterback Grayson McCall threw a pass to wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh for a touchdown. There was not a cornerback within 5 yards of Heiligh when the pass was caught.
Kansas attempted to close the 25-point gap in the second half, but still came up short.
Coach Miles has a somewhat new group of quarterbacks to help build a strong offense. However, there are mistakes such as accuracy and timing for offense and coverage for the defense that the Jayhawks are going to have to tighten up on before they face Big 12 opponent Baylor on September 26th.
Arkansas State- 35 Kansas State- 31
This matchup was not expected to be a blowout however, Kansas State was the predicated favorite in this game. This ended up being an entertaining showdown. We love it when the underdog proves everyone wrong.
The Red Wolves wanted to draw blood from the Wildcats. Wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr was “a match-up nightmare,” said K-State head coach Chris Klieman. Adams caught 8 passes for 98 yards, scoring a total of three touchdowns. Defensively, the Wildcats were not prepared for the matchup against Adams, but still played a good man to man coverage overall.
As for the Wildcats offense, QB Skylar Thompson hesitated to throw a few times, which resulted in him running the play himself. Overall, the Wildcats have some coverage errors they will want to patch up before facing Oklahoma’s wide receivers.
Next up, the Wildcats will travel to Norman, Oklahoma. Skylar Thompson has to be more precise with his deep throws. He cannot get too comfortable with thinking he is playing the same OU defense he did last season. Last year Kansas State defeated Oklahoma 48-41, which has left a bitter taste in the Sooner’s mouth and Lincoln Riley is ready for redemption.
Morgan Jenkins
About Morgan Jenkins 3 Articles
Morgan is a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma. She is a sports blogger who loves collegiate football. During her free time she enjoys watching documentaries on the late Paul “Bear” Bryant.
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