Cajuns, Warhawks win Sun Belt openers

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NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana and ULM proved victorious in their Sun Belt Conference openers, while No. 17/17 Coastal Carolina completed an unbeaten non-conference campaign. The nationally-ranked Chanticleers are off to a 4-0 start for the second-straight season.

App State erased a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to earn a 31-30 victory over Marshall Thursday night, in front of a primetime audience on ESPN. Running backs junior Camerun Peoples and sophomore Nate Noel combined for 265 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, while super senior wide receiver Corey Sutton made a highlight-reel grab in the end zone for the Mountaineers fourth touchdown.

No. 17/17 Coastal Carolina scored on 8-of-9 offensive possessions and tallied 558 yards of total offense en route to a 53-3 win over UMass Saturday. The Chanticleers defense allowed just 28 rushing yards—the fewest since Coastal Carolina became a full-time FBS member in 2017. With the win, Coastal Carolina completed an unblemished non-conference campaign and moved to 4-0 on the season for the fifth time in program history (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2020).

Texas State fell, 59-21, at Eastern Michigan in the first-ever meeting of the two programs.

Georgia State nearly snapped No. 23/23 Auburn’s 29-year winning streak on homecoming. The Panthers led the Tigers, 24-12, at the half and held a 24-19 advantage until Auburn scored the go-ahead touchdown with 45 seconds remaining, converting on 4th-and-9 from the Panther 10-yard line. Auburn senior safety Smoke Monday intercepted a pass from redshirt junior quarterback Darren Grainger on the ensuing Georgia State possession, returning it 36 yards for a touchdown to provide the final 34-24 margin.

Panther senior running back Tucker Gregg rushed for a career-high 150 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort. Gregg’s 142 first-half rushing yards were the most allowed by the Auburn defense since conceding 169 to LSU’s Leonard Fournette in 2015 and the most by a visiting back at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2002.

A pair of special teams scores—a 63-yard punt return touchdown by redshirt junior running back Johnnie Lang and a 93-yard kickoff return touchdown by senior running back Alan Lamar—headlined Arkansas State’s production in a 41-34 one-possession loss at Tulsa.

Senior quarterback Levi Lewis threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns to lead Louisiana to a 28-20 victory in its conference opener at Georgia Southern. Redshirt sophomore running back Gerald Green rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles in defeat.

ULM joined Louisiana at 1-0 in Sun Belt Conference play with a 29-16 victory over Troy. The Warhawks earned back-to-back victories for the first time since a string of four-straight wins from Oct. 13-Nov. 10, 2018. A Ja’Cquez Williams interception at the ULM four-yard line and a 96-yard return for a touchdown halted a potential Troy scoring drive with 9:40 remaining and cemented the victory for the Warhawks. Williams’ interception return is the second-longest in ULM program history.

For exclusive Sun Belt football content on game days and throughout the 2021 season, follow @SunBeltFB on Twitter.

SUN BELT FOOTBALL – WEEK 4 RESULTS
App State def. Marshall, 31-30
No. 17/17 Coastal Carolina def. UMass, 53-3
Eastern Michigan def. Texas State, 59-21
No. 23/23 Auburn def. Georgia State, 34-24
Tulsa def. Arkansas State, 41-34
Louisiana def. Georgia Southern, 28-20
ULM def. Troy, 29-16

About the Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference is made up of 12 members: App State, Arkansas-Little Rock (Little Rock), Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe (ULM), South Alabama, Texas-Arlington (UTA), Texas State and Troy.

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