The Rimel Report

This is a look around the Sun Belt Conference for Week 13, as provided by Duane Rimel, who is a regular contributor to the Vandal eMail List.

North Texas continued their march toward another New Orleans Bowl by shutting out Idaho and remaining undefeated in conference play. The Sun Belt title boils down to this weekend's game between NT and New Mexico State - the winner is the champion. NMSU lost a close non-conference game to Utah State and broke up their five game winning streak. Louisiana Lafayette won a close one over Arkansas State, while Louisiana Monroe was pasted by Auburn. Middle Tennessee had the weekend off. With two more non-conference losses the Sun Belt's record against non-conference teams dropped to 10-31.

In spite of a good defensive effort, it was another dismal Saturday for the Vandals (2-8, 1-3) in front of 11,698 in Denton. The Vandals are now 8-24 under Tom Cable. Sadly it is the worst record of any UI football coach since 1920, with the exception of JA Brown who was 2-15 in 1945-46. Making it even worse the Vandals lost QB Brian Lindgren to injury for the rest of the season. Back up Adam Malette struggled completing only 7 of 23 attempts. How dominating is the NT defense? REAL dominating. They held stellar UI running back Blair Lewis to 23 yards on 15 carries! The Vandals further hurt themselves with 14 penalties for 100 yards. We feel so sorry for the Vandal players who have worked so hard, especially the seniors who have had such a very rough last two years. The Vandals are at rock bottom, as the Lewiston Tribune did not even send their Vandal beat writer to the game - he listened on the radio!!

Next up for NT (5-5, 4-0)is the game for the Sun Belt Championship, as they host NMSU as 7 point favorites. We think NT's defense will slow down the NMSU option attack enough to allow a close win.
NT 19 NMSU 17.

The Vandals return to the Kibbie Dome to host Arkansas State and UI is a four point favorite. This is the fourth time this year that the Vandals have been favored and they lost the previous three (UM, ULM, ULL). Based on this track record and the fact that the Vandals have lost their QB it is hard to predict a Vandal victory. Plus Arkansas State, under first year head coach Steve Roberts, has already won 5 games. Unfortunately it looks like an ASU win.
ASU 24 UI 17.

In spite of dominating the game in yardage (392 to 261) and time of possession (37 to 23), ULL (3-7, 2-3) needed a 49 yard fourth quarter FG to win, in front of 14,117 in Lafayette. ULL held ASU (5-7, 2-3) to just 8 first downs. Next up for ULL is a visit to Arkansas as 33 point underdogs. Arkansas beat South Carolina on the road last week 23-0 and are 6-3. This one will be ugly. UA 56 ULL 10. ASU next visits the Vandals as 4 point underdogs, but as noted earlier we like ASU 24-17.

Utah State 32 NEW MEXICO STATE 30
USU (3-6) had to stop a NMSU two point conversion with 9 seconds left to preserve the mild upset of NMSU (6-4, 4-0), in front of 12,291 in Logan. The USU Aggies ended the NMSU Aggies 5 game winning streak. NMSU's option attack produced 422 yards, but they gave up 481 to USU. NMSU coach Tony Samuel has a habit of getting his team ready for big games, and it will take a spectacular effort Saturday for the Aggies to upset North Texas. It should be a great game and the winner is the Sun Belt conference champion. As mentioned earlier we think NT has too much defense for NMSU.
NT 19 NMSU 17 in a hard fought championship game.

It was 42-0 before ULM (2-8, 1-3) scored in a blow out at Auburn in front of 84,618. Auburn outgained ULM 503 yards to 276 and improved their record to 7-3. Next up for ULM is a trip to Middle Tennessee as 15 point underdogs. MTSU (2-7, 1-3) had the weekend off and should be ready to pounce on poor ULM.
MTSU 38 ULM 20.


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