The Rimel Report

This is a look around the Sun Belt Conference for Week 12, as provided by Duane Rimel, who is a regular contributor to the Vandal eMail List.

Sun Belt conference action goes as we expected, except for Idaho, as the Vandals were eliminated from the Sun Belt Conference race by Louisiana Lafayette. North Texas and New Mexico State remain undefeated in conference play, with their big showdown set for November 16 in Denton. Only NT and NMSU remain in the hunt for the Sun Belt Conference title. Arkansas State picks up an easy win over 1-AA Southern Utah, improving the Sun Belt's record against non-conference teams to 10-29. Only two conference games take place this coming weekend, as NMSU and ULM play non conference games and MTSU takes the weekend off.

We predicted a 31-27 outcome, but we had Idaho winning - close but no cigar. The Vandals found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, by blowing a 28-17 fourth quarter lead. Three interceptions and a fumble by the Vandals assist in their demise. The Vandals are now 0-3 in games they have been favored in during the 2002 season - sad, sad, sad! ULL scored the winning touchdown with 49 seconds left in the game, to give the Ragin Cajuns their first lead of the game. This one just makes us want to cry! TheVandals drop to 2-7 (1-2), while ULL improves to 2-7 (1-3). The Vandals are now 8-23 under Tom Cable. Next up for ULL is a home game against Arkansas State as 5 point favorites. We will go with the home team, ULL 27 ASU 20. Next up for UI is a trip to Denton to face North Texas as 14 point underdogs. The Eagles are on a roll having won three in a row and have a dominating defense. Last year NT blasted the Vandals 50-27 in the Kibbie Dome and it may get worse this year.
NT 45 UI 10.

As we predicted, NT gets payback for their only conference loss last year and crush ULM. The Eagles dominating defense holds the Indians to 186 total yards and forces three turnovers. NT (4-5, 3-0) rushes for 322 yards on 49 carries (over 6 yards per rush) to grind up ULM (2-7, 1-3). Poor ULM now heads to Auburn of the SEC as 36 point underdogs. Auburn (6-3) is coming off a big win over Ole Miss and this one could get real ugly. Auburn 63 ULM 6. North Texas hosts the Vandals this weekend and should roll. Let's see now, Idaho lost to ULM by 20 and NT beat ULM by 39 so NT should win by 59?? We are hoping for a big Vandal upset, but it should be a NT Blow out.
NT 45 UI 10.

The Aggies get their fifth win in a row in front of 19,562 in Las Cruces, but it was not easy. Trailing 10-14 after three quarters NMSU (6-3, 4-0) needed two fourth quarter TD's to hold off the determined Blue Raiders. Our prediction of 27-20 was fairly close. NMSU won the yardage battle convincingly 448 to 346, but their vaunted option attack had trouble getting into the end zone. Even with all their QB injuries, MTSU put up a heck of a fight. Next up for MTSU is a needed weekend off to heal their QB's. NMSU heads to Logan, Utah to face an old rival who will be joining the Sun Belt next year. Utah State is only a 2 point underdog, in spite of their 2-6 record. USU has a very poor defense and we think the Aggie option attack will give them fits. Unless the cold weather gets to the warm weather Aggies, we see a non conference win for NMSU.
NMSU 45 USU 37.

ARKANSAS STATE 38 Southern Utah 16
This one was over at half time as ASU led 35-3, and cruised to an easy win, letting reserves play the fourth quarter. ASU outgained SU 471 to 236 and our predicted score of 41-17 was pretty accurate. Southern Utah of 1-AA dropped to 1-8, while ASU improved to 5-6 (2-2). Next up for ASU is a trip to Lafayette to take on ULL as 5 point underdogs. As noted earlier we like ULL 27-20.


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