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This Week in The American and Sun Belt – Aug. 29

August 29, 2019 | Orlando Sports Foundation, Inc

This Week in The American and Sun Belt – Aug. 29

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – The 2019 college football season is set to begin for the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt Conference starting on Thursday with five games. The week also includes a pair of Friday night contests, 13 Saturday games and one Sunday match on a busy weekend in the two leagues.


UCLA Bruins (0-0) at Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0)
Thursday, Aug. 29 | 7:00 p.m. | ESPN
Cincinnati, Ohio | Nippert Stadium

Series: Cincinnati 1-0
Last Meeting: Cincinnati won 26-17 in 2018

  • The Bearcats have 14 returning starters from last year
  • Quarterback Desmond Ridder was The American’s Rookie of the Year after he threw for 2,445 yards and 20 touchdowns
  • Running back Michael Warren II rushed for 1,329 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Wagner Seahawks (0-0) at UConn Huskies (0-0)
Thursday, Aug. 29 | 7:00 p.m. | ESPN3
Hartford, Conn. | Pratt & Whitney Stadium

Series: First meeting

  • The Huskies have won their last five games against FCS opponents.
  • The offense is led by running back Kevin Mensah, who tallied 1,042 yards and six touchdowns.
  • Quarterback Mike Beaudry was named the starter after transferring from West Florida where he totaled 3,215 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2017.

Florida A&M Rattlers (0-0) at No. 17 UCF Knights (0-0)
Thursday, Aug. 29 | 7:30 p.m. | CBS Sports
Orlando, Fla. | Spectrum Stadium

Series: FAMU leads 1-0
Last Meeting: FAMU won 19-14 in 1987

  • UCF has won 25 of its last 26 games and has a 15-game winning streak at Spectrum Stadium.
  • Quarterback Brandon Wimbush was named the starter after transferring from Notre Dame.
  • The Knights return three first team all-conference players on one of the nation’s top offensive lines.

FIU Panthers (0-0) at Tulane Green Wave (0-0)
Thursday, Aug. 29 | 8:00 p.m. | ESPN3
New Orleans, La. | Yulman Stadium

Series: FIU leads 1-0
Last Meeting: FIU won 23-10 in 2017

  • Tulane is coming off a first place finish in the west division following a 5-3 mark and a win in the Cure Bowl.
  • Running Back Darius Bradwell was named Cure Bowl MVP and tallied 1,134 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last year
  • Linebacker Patrick Johnson recorded 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss to pace the Green Wave defense.

Texas State Bobcats (0-0) at No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies (0-0)
Thursday, Aug. 29 | 8:30 p.m. | SEC Network
College Station, Texas | Kyle Stadium

Series: Texas A&M leads 2-0
Last meeting: Texas A&M won 44-31 in 2015

  • This is the third meeting between Texas A&M and Texas State with each occurring in College Station.
  • Texas State is playing a national-ranked FBS opponent for the second time in school history.
  • Bobcats head coach Jake Spavital was the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach for the Aggies from 2013-15.

Wisconsin Badgers (0-0) at USF Bulls (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 30 | 7:00 p.m. | ESPN
Tampa, Fla. | Raymond James Stadium

Series: Wisconsin leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Wisconsin won 27-10 in 2014

  • USF has been ranked in the Top 25 in each of the past three seasons.
  • The offense is paced by the running back tandem of Jordan Cronkrite and Johnny Ford, who combined for 1,908 yards and 17 touchdowns.
  • Quarterback Blake Barnett tossed 2,710 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (0-0) at Michigan State Spartans (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 30 | 7:00 p.m. | FS1
East Lansing, Mich. | Spartan Stadium

Series: First meeting

  • Tulsa has turned in three 10-win seasons since 2010.
  • The Golden Hurricane are led by running backs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor, who have combined for 1813 yards and 18 touchdowns.
  • Linebacker Cooper Edmiston had a team-best 113 tackles, four interceptions and three fumbles recoveries

Mississippi State Bulldogs (0-0) vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 12:00 p.m. | ESPNU
New Orleans, La. | Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Series: Mississippi State leads 4-0
Last Meeting: Mississippi State won 56-10

  • – Louisiana is playing its seventh game all-time at Mercedes-Benz Superdome since the 2010 season.
    – The Ragin’ Cajuns have faced an SEC opponent in every season since 2012.
    – Wide receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley enters 2019 after tying the school record with 10 receiving touchdowns last year.

South Alabama Jaguars (0-0) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Lincoln, Neb. | Memorial Stadium

Series: Nebraska leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Nebraska won 48-9 in 2015

  • South Alabama is facing its fourth nationally-ranked opponent since the program’s inception in 2009.
  • The Jaguars are 1-2 vs. ranked teams, including a 42-24 victory over No. 19 San Diego State in 2016.
  • South Alabama is 6-4 in season openers, including a 21-20 win over Mississippi State in 2016.

ECU Pirates (0-0) at NC State Wolfpack (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 12:00 p.m. | ACC Network
Raleigh, N.C. | Carter-Finley Stadium

Series: NC State leads 17-13
Last Meeting: NC State won in 2018

  • Head coach Mike Houston begins his tenure in Greenville after leading James Madison to a 37-6 mark and a 2016 NCAA FCS Championship
  • Quarterback Holton Ahlers made five starts as a true freshman and threw for 1,607 yards and six touchdowns
  • Kicker Jake Verity was The American’s top kicker last year, going 19-for-21 on field goal attempts.

Ole Miss Rebels (0-0) at Memphis Tigers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 12:00 p.m. | ABC
Memphis, Tenn. | Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

Series: Ole Miss leads 49-11-2
Last Meeting: Ole Miss won 48-28 in 2016

  • Memphis has won at least eight games in each of the lat five seasons, including two 10-win seasons.
  • The Tigers have played a school-record five-straight bowl games.
  • Quarterback Brady White tossed 26 touchdown passes and accumulated 3,296 yards.

Bucknell Bison (0-0) at Temple Owls (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:00 p.m. | ESPN3
Philadelphia, Pa. | Lincoln Financial Field

Series: Bucknell leads 20-16-8
Last Meeting: Temple won 24-20 in 1970

  • Temple has been bowl-eligible in each of the last five seasons.
  • Head coach Rod Carey is in his first season leading the Ows after spending six years at Northern Illinois.
  • Quarterback Anthony Russo threw for 2,563 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first year as a starter.

Georgia State Panthers (0-0) at Tennessee Volunteers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Knoxville, Tenn. | Neyland Stadium

Series: Tennessee leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Tennessee won 51-13 in 2012

  • Georgia State is opening the season on the road and on a Saturday for the first time in its 10 year history.
  • All previous openers for the Panthers have occured during the week.
  • Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott served as South Carolina’s interim head coach in 2015, where the Gamecocks fell, 27-24, on the road.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (0-0) at Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Conway, S.C. | Brooks Stadium

Series: First meeting

  • Chanticleers’ Brooks Stadium is known for its teal surf turf and Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium features a gray surface.
  • First-year head coach Jamey Chadwell is entering his third year leading the Coastal Carolina offense.
  • Chadwell also served as the Chanticleers’ interim head coach in 2017.

ETSU Bucs (0-0) at Appalachian State Mountaineers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Boone, N.C. | Kidd-Brewer Stadium

Series: Appalachian State leads 31-14-1
Last Meeting: Appalachian State won 21-7 in 2003

  • The former Southern Conference rivals are less than 60 miles apart.
  • ETSU temporarily dropped football after the 2003 campaign and restarted the program in 2015.
  • Mountaineer head coach Eliah Drinkwitz is making his FBS head coach debut after being an offensive coordinator at NC State, Boise State and Arkansas State.

Holy Cross Crusaders (0-0) at Navy Midshipmen (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 3:30 p.m. | CBS Sports
Annapolis, Md. | Navy-Marine Corps Stadium

Series: First meeting

  • Quarterback Malcolm Perry returns as the primary signal caller after rushing 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns.
  • Fullback Nelson Smith tallied 411 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Linebacker Nizaire Cromartie registered 58 tackles.

Campbell Fighting Camels (0-0) at Troy Trojans (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 6:00 p.m. | ESPN+
Troy, Ala. | Veterans Memorial Stadium

  • Troy’s 21-combined wins the past two years and the most in consecutive seasons in the program’s FBS history.
  • The Trojans are 22-5 over their last 27 games and 17-3 over their last 20 games.
  • First-year head coach Chip Lindsey has served as the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss, Arizona State and Auburn.

SMU Mustangs (0-0) at Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 7:00 p.m. | ESPN+
Jonesboro, Ark. | Centennial Bank Stadium

Series: SMU leads 2-1
Last Meeting: SMU won 44-21 in 2017

  • Arkansas State defeated SMU 35-28 at home in 2007.
  • The Red Wolves have registered eight-straight winning seasons, which included a bowl appearance following each campaign.
  • Defensive Coordinator David Duggan is serving as interim head coach while head coach Blake Anderson takes a leave of absence.
  • SMU topped No. 17 Houston, 45-31 and faced four Top-25 teams last year.
  • Wide Receiver James Proche paced The American with 92 receptions, 1,199 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Linebacker Richard Moore led the Mustangs with 92 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss in 2018.

Grambling State (0-0) at ULM Warhawks (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 7:00 p.m. | ESPN3
Monroe, La. | Malone Stadium

Series: ULM leads 3-0
Last Meeting: ULM won 48-10 in 2013

  • ULM has won all three of the meetings against Grambling State on its home field.
  • Senior quarterback Caleb Evans is back to start his third-straight season and is on the Maxwell and Unitas preseason watch lists.
  • Head coach Matt Viator has tallied 92 career victories.

Georgia Southern Eagles (0-0) at LSU Tigers (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 31 | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Baton Rouge, La. | Tiger Stadium

Series: First meeting

  • Georgia Southern’s matchup at LSU is its only scheduled game on natural grass.
  • The Eagles own one victory over a Power Five opponent – 26-20 over Florida in 2013.
  • Georgia Southern has won 12 of its last 16 games and its last four have been decided by 10 points or less.

Houston Cougars (0-0) at Oklahoma Sooners (0-0)
Sunday, Sept. 1 | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN
Norman, Okla. | Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

Series: Oklahoma leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Houston won 33-23 in 2016

  • Houston will play its first game under new head coach Dana Holgorsen, who spent the past eight years at West Virginia.
  • The Cougars have won eight of their last 10 games vs. Top-25 teams.
  • Quarterback D’Eriq King threw for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns and enters the campaign as a Heisman Trophy candidate.