WEEK 9 SCHEDULE
Thursday, Oct. 26
Georgia State at Georgia Southern 6:30 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, Oct. 28
Southern Miss at App State 2:30 p.m. ESPN+
Arkansas State at ULM 4:00 p.m. ESPN+
Louisiana at South Alabama 4:00 p.m. ESPN+
Marshall at Coastal Carolina 5:00 p.m. NFL Network
Troy at Texas State 6:00 p.m. ESPN+
Old Dominion at No. 25/25 James Madison 7:00 p.m. ESPNU
All Times CT
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
MODERN DAY HATE
In-state foes Georgia State and Georgia Southern will meet in the Modern Day Hate rivalry game at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, on ESPN2. The Panthers lead the all-time series, 6-3, and became the first un Belt program to clinch bowl eligibility last weekend. The Eagles could become the second bowl eligible Sun Belt team with a win on Thursday night. The power of Allen E. Paulson Stadium has been felt this season, with Georgia Southern maintaining a perfect 4-0 record at home. Each of the past three meetings have come down to the wire as one-possession contests and Thursday night should continue that trend with both teams firmly in the Sun Belt title race.
IN THE ZONE
South Alabama, which has scored on every trip to the red zone this season, will attempt to maintain that streak when it hosts Louisiana at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, on ESPN+. The Jaguars’ La’Damian Webb is 1-of-3 Sun Belt running backs—and 1-of- 7 in the country—to have amassed 10-or-more rushing touchdowns on the year. His 12 rushing touchdowns thus far rank second in the nation. South Alabama snapped a six-game losing streak in the series in 2022 on a walk-off field goal.
BALLIN’ AT THE BEACH
Coastal Carolina will aim to make it back-to-back wins over Marshall, as it welcomes the Thundering Herd to the Surf Turf at Brooks Stadium for the first time at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, on NFL Network. The Chanticleers won the first-ever meeting between the two programs, 24-13 in Huntington a year ago, and will look to stay perfect in the all-time series on homecoming. In addition to looking for its first-ever win over Coastal Carolina, Marshall will attempt to turn the tide on its 2023 season Saturday, having dropped three-straight games following a 4-0 start.
TOP OF THE TABLE
The winner of the Troy at Texas State game, which will kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, on NFL Network, will clinch bowl eligibility with its sixth victory of the 2023 campaign and will remain atop the Sun Belt West Division standings. The reigning Sun Belt champion Trojans are 12-1 in the all-time series against the Bobcats with 12-straight wins dating back to 1998—though the past two meetings have been decided by just a field goal. The game will feature a pair of dynamic running backs in Texas State’s Ismail Mahdi and Troy’s Kimani Vidal, who are two of the top three players in the nation in all-purpose yardage this season. Mahdi ranks second, averaging 169.86 yards per game, while Vidal ranks third at 155.86 yards per game. Vidal also leads the nation with 951 rushing yards this year, needing just 49 to reach the 1,000-yard threshold and 142 to establish a new Trojans career high-water mark Saturday.
In-state foes Old Dominion and No. 25/25 James Madison will bookend Sun Belt Week 9 action with another rivalry game. The Royal Rivalry, which will be broadcast nationwide on ESPNU at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, has already been announced as a sellout and will be James Madison’s first-ever nighttime kickoff on homecoming. The Monarchs lead the all-time series 2-1, though the Dukes won the first matchup as Sun Belt Conference foes, 37-3 in 2022. James Madison comes into the contest riding a 10-game winning streak—the fifth-longest active streak in the FBS—and as 1-of-9 remaining undefeated teams in the country this season.