The Rimel Report

This is a look around the Sun Belt Conference for Week 10, as provided by Duane Rimel, who is a regular contributor to the Vandal eMail List.


All three conference games go as we predicted, with the favorite winning each game. New Mexico State has moved into first place in the conference, followed by North Texas - and are the only two unbeatens left in conference play. We think that when NMSU visits North Texas on November 16, the conference title may be on the line. Louisiana Lafayette and Louisiana Monroe both picked up their second conference losses, virtually eliminating them from the conference title chase. In a small conference like the Sun Belt, it is highly unlikely that the Champion will have more than one conference loss. Because there were no nonconference games played last weekend, Sun Belt teams remain 8-29 against nonconference foes.

MTSU (2-5, 1-1) got their second consecutive win Saturday and first conference win by defeating ULL. Idaho (1-6, 0-1) had the weekend off after two consecutive ugly losses, in games they were favored. It is back to the underdog roll for the Vandals as the Blue Raiders come to UI's homecoming as 4 point favorites. We hope the Vandals play like they did as 7 point underdogs to San Diego State! For both teams this is a must win, as both already have one conference loss and a second loss will realistically put them out of the race for the Sun Belt Conference Championship. We got rid of our rose colored glasses after UI's loss to ULM, and will try to use logic on this game. MTSU comes in with positive momentum from two consecutive wins and have their backs to the wall. The Blue Raiders also have memories of last year's very successful 8-3 (5-1) season. UI comes in with negative momentum from consecutive upset losses and have their backs to the wall. The Vandals also have memories of last year's very unsuccessful 1-10 (1-5) season. We will be in the stands cheering for a Vandal upset, but the outcome will probably resemble last year's homecoming game.
MTSU 54 UI 37.

MTSU blows open a close game (17-15 MTSU at halftime) with 21 third quarter points rolling up 520 yards offense in front of a small crowd of 9,726 in Murfreesboro. Although ULL gained 416 yards, the Blue Raider defense shut down the Ragin Cajun running game, holding them to 20 yards on 32 attempts! MTSU QB Andrico Hines completed 17 of 24 passes for 347 yards, an eye-popping 20 yards per completion. Wow - if Mr. Hines throws like that in the Kibbie Dome, it could be a long day for the Vandals. ULL (1-6, 0-2) nexts hosts North Texas (2-5, 1-0) as 4 point underdogs. We think the solid NT defense will produce another conference road win for the Eagles.
NT 19 ULL 13.

This game was much closer than our 23-10 prediction and NT had to pull it out with a 4 yard TD pass in the final minute of play. But a road win is a road win and NT knocked ASU out of first place in the conference. We thought NT's defense would win it and it did, holding ASU to just 10 first downs and 223 total yards. NT (2-5, 1-0) pounded out 210 yards rushing (290 total yards), but three lost fumbles hurt their scoring efforts. ASU hurt themselves with 9 penalties for 81 yards in front of 12,671 in Jonesboro. Next up for ASU (4-5, 2-1) is a home game against conference leader New Mexico State (4-3, 2-0) as seven point underdogs. We think that NMSU is on a roll and their option attack will overwhelm the Indians.
NMSU 39 ASU 24.
As noted previously NT heads to ULL and we like the Eagles 19-13.

This one went fairly close to our 38-16 prediction, but ULM played a great first half and led 14-13 in Las Cruces. NMSU (4-3, 2-0) came out fired up in the second half and scored 21 consecutive points in the third and fourth quarters to put the game away. The Aggies option attack produced 319 yards rushing on 51 attempts (over six yards per carry!) and another 185 passing. ULM (1-6, 1-2) did well on offense gaining 410 yards. ULM next hosts Utah State (2-5) as seven point underdogs and we think USU will win a close one (As most of you know Utah State is a 1-A independent this year, but will join the Sun Belt next year).
USU 35 ULM 31.
As mentioned previously NMSU heads to ASU and we like the Aggies 39-24.


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