No. 23/23 Louisiana completes unbeaten conference campaign in week 13, set to host App State in Sun Belt Championship game

Published 11:02 am Monday, November 29, 2021

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Four Sun Belt programs—App State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and No. 23/23 Louisiana—are bowl eligible following the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.

First, West Division champion No. 23/23 Louisiana will host East Division champion App State in the Hercules Tires Sun Belt Football Championship Game at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 4, in Lafayette, La. The game—which is the third matchup between the two teams in the four-year history of the event—will be broadcast on ESPN. To purchase tickets to the championship game, click here.

It took overtime, but Coastal Carolina secured a 27-21 victory over South Alabama Friday to record back-to-back 10-win seasons for just the second time in program history (2013 and 2014). Redshirt sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall scored on the first play of the overtime period, scampering into the end zone from 25 yards out. The Chanticleer defense then held the Jaguars on the ensuing possession, with a sack by super senior linebacker Silas Kelly on the fourth-down attempt punctuating the game-winning stop.

Senior wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh became Coastal Carolina’s all-time leader in receptions (84) and receiving yards (2,731) in the victory. Defensively, freshman defensive lineman Josaiah Stewart shattered the Chanticleer single-season sacks record, pushing his total to 13.0 on the season with a 3.0 sack effort. South Alabama junior wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (3,140) became just the fourth player in Sun Belt history to record 3,000 receiving yards in a career, with 10 catches, 191 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

After starting the 2021 campaign 1-4, Georgia State concluded its regular season winning six of its last seven games, including Saturday’s 37-10 victory over Troy. The Panthers jumped out to a 17-0 advantage and never trailed in the blowout win that ran Georgia State’s Sun Belt record to a program-best 6-2. Georgia State’s defense recorded four takeaways, while redshirt senior running back Jamyest Williams rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown. Panthers senior kicker Noel Ruiz connected from 50 yards out—his longest field goal in a Georgia State uniform—as part of a 3-for-3 effort.

Texas State held on to knock off Arkansas State, 24-22, to secure its first four-win season since a 7-5 mark in 2014. With 2:12 to play, the Bobcats stopped a Red Wolves two-point conversion attempt to maintain the two-point advantage. Freshman running back Calvin Hill paced the Bobcat offense with 123 rushing yards and a touchdown.

App State took down rival Georgia Southern, 27-3, on Senior Day to reach the 10-win mark for the fifth time in the last seven years. Super seniors scored every point for the Mountaineers with touchdowns from wide receivers Malik Williams, Jalen Virgil and Thomas Hennigan and a pair of field goals from kicker Chandler Staton. Staton became App State’s career scoring leader with 449 points in a Mountaineer uniform, while fellow special teamer Virgil scored his touchdown via a 97-yard kickoff return. The Mountaineers averaged a program and Sun Belt record crowd of 30,441 at home games this season.

No. 23/23 Louisiana closed out a perfect conference regular-season, extended its program-record winning streak to 11 games and kept head coach Billy Napier perfect against Sun Belt West Division opposition in four years at the helm. The Ragin’ Cajuns toppled in-state foe ULM, 21-16, in the final game of the Sun Belt regular season. A 37-yard touchdown connection from redshirt sophomore running back Chris Smith to freshman wide receiver Kyren Lacy on a halfback pass highlighted the Louisiana output.

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

Coastal Carolina def. South Alabama, 27-21 (OT)
Georgia State def. Troy, 37-10
Texas State def. Arkansas State, 24-22
App State def. Georgia Southern, 27-3
No. 23/23 Louisiana def. ULM, 21-16

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