Arkansas State (1-0) at No. 18/22 Nebraska (1-0)
September 12, 2009 l MemorialStadium (81,091)
Lincoln, Neb. l 1:10 p.m.
Radio: Arkansas State Radio Network (KFIN 107.9 FM, flagship)
Television: Fox Sports Net PPV, Jump TV Webcasting (AStateRedWolves.com)
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State is set for its first road contest of the year Saturday, a 1:10 p.m. game against nationally-ranked Nebraska that features a matchup of 1-0 teams which combined to outscore their week one opponents by a total of 110-3. Every Arkansas State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area and the live radio broadcast can be accessed through the Arkansas State athletic Web site (AStateRedWolves.com). The game will also be televised by Fox Sports Net on a pay-per-view basis.
THE PRINCIPALS: ASU will play its ninth nationally-ranked opponent under head coach Steve Roberts on Saturday when it faces Nebraska in the first ever meeting between the two teams. The game will mark the seventh consecutive year the Red Wolves have played a Big 12 opponent in one of their first two games to begin a season. ASU is coming off a 61-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State, while Nebraska defeated Florida Atlantic 49-3 in the first of its three games this season against Sun Belt Conference opponents.
HEAD COACH STEVE ROBERTS: Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts is in his eighth year at Arkansas State after leading the Red Wolves to the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Championship and to bowl eligible seasons three of the last four years. During his first seven seasons as the Red Wolves' head coach, he guided ASU to 37 wins for its most over a seven-year span at the school since 1985-1992. Roberts was named the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Under Roberts, the Red Wolves have had 64 All-Sun Belt Conference selections, an Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, SBC Offensive Player of the Year, two SBC Defensive Players of the Year and an SBC Newcomer of the Year.
ROBERTS CLIMBING VICTORIES LADDER: In his first eight seasons as the Red Wolves head coach, Steve Roberts already has the fifth most victories among ASU's 26 all-time head coaches with 38 wins. Larry Lacewell (1979-89) holds the record for victories with 69 and is followed by Bennie Ellender (1963-70) with 52 wins, Bill Davidson (1971-78) with 51 and Forrest England (1946-53) with 49.
ROBERTS AND ASU STADIUM: Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts has led the Red Wolves to a 27-8 record at ASUStadium over the last seven years for .771 winning percentage. Not only that, the Red Wolves are 18-3 at ASU Stadium over the last five seasons.
ROBERTS IN CLOSE GAMES: Eighth-year skipper Steve Roberts has seen numerous close games during his tenure with the Red Wolves, holding a 21-12 record in games decided by eight points or less (39 percent of all his games). Roberts' teams have been especially successful recently in games decided by just one score, holding a 19-9 record in their last 28 games that ended under those circumstances. Following is his record in close games:
Margin Roberts record
1 point 1-1
2 points 1-0
3 points 5-5
4 points 6-1
5 points 1-2
6 points 2-1
7 points 3-1
8 points 2-1
17 AND UNDER: Arkansas State holds an 18-3 record under head coach Steve Roberts when holding its opponents to 17 points or less. The Red Wolves have won 15 of their last 16 games when holding their opponent to 17 or fewer points and have won 27 straight games when holding their opponents to 10 or fewer points.
THE TOP 25: Nebraska will be the ninth ASU opponent ranked among the nation's top 25 teams at the time of a game with the Red Wolves under head coach Steve Roberts. Following is a list of ranked opponents that ASU has played
No. 4 at Texas 2007 L, 13-21
No. 4 at LSU 2004 L, 3-53
No. 6 Auburn 2006 L, 0-27
No. 16 Virginia Tech 2002 L, 7-63
No. 17 Missouri 2004 L, 20-52
No. 25 Memphis 2004 L, 35-47
No. 25 Mississippi 2002 L, 17-52
DOUBLE-DIGIT COMEBACKS: Arkansas State has rallied for a victory in seven games when trailing by double-digits under head coach Steve Roberts. Following is a year-by-year list of ASU's double-digit comeback victories under Roberts:
Year Opponent Trailed by Final
2002 ULM 11 33-2
2003 ULM 14 44-41
2003 NMSU 10 28-24
2005 ULL 16 39-36
2005 UNT 10 31-24
2007 Memphis 25 31-24
2007 UNT 21 31-27
2008 TAMU 11 18-14
THE ARKANSAS STATE-NEBRASKA SERIES: Saturday's game will be the first ever meeting between Arkansas State and Nebraska. The game will be played at Memorial Stadium, which seats 81,067, and could potentially draw one of the top crowds to ever witness an ASU football game. A capacity crowd would be the seventh largest to ever watch an ASU football game.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. BIG 12: ASU has played at least one Big 12 opponent each of the last seven seasons. The Huskers will be the 10th Big 12 opponent all-time for ASU, which picked up an 18-14 victory at Texas A&M last season for its first ever win against a member of the league. The full list of all-time ASU opponents that are currently members of the Big 12 Conference includes Baylor (0-1), Kansas (0-1), Kansas State (0-2), Missouri(0-2), Oklahoma (0-2), Oklahoma State (0-2), Texas (0-1), Texas A&M (1-3) and Texas Tech (0-1). The Red Wolves are 1-14 against Big 12 opponents.
SEASON OPENERS: With its victory over Mississippi Valley State, the Red Wolves have now won three of their last four season openers, including the last two in a row. ASU defeated Texas A&M 18-14 last season and Army 14-6 in 2006, but dropped a tough 21-13 decision to then-ranked No. 4 Texas to open the 2007 season. ASU is 45-44-6 all-time in season openers.
STARTING AT HOME: ASU opened its season at ASU Stadium for the first time since the 2006 campaign when it defeated Army 14-6. ASU has started just three of the last 14 seasons with a game at ASU Stadium, including 2009.
HOME OPENERS: Arkansas State improved to 7-1 in home openers at ASU Stadium under head coach Steve Roberts, who has led the Red Wolves to a 27-8 record on their home field, with its 61-0 victory over MVSU. ASU has now won its last five home openers. The last time ASU dropped a home opener was in 2004, when it fell 47-35 to then-ranked No. 25 Memphis. In addition to MVSU, ASU also won home openers over Texas Southern (83-10 in 2008), SMU (45-28 in 2007), Tulsa (21-19 in 2002), Tennessee-Martin (63-6 in 2003 and 56-7 in 2005) and Army (14-6 in 2006) during the last five seasons.
THE SHUTOUT: With its 61-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State, ASU shutout an opponent for the first time since defeating Florida Atlantic 3-0 in three overtimes in 2005, a span of 41 games.
A LARGE MARGIN: ASU'S 61-point victory over Mississippi Valley State tied the seventh largest margin of victory in school history. ASU also picked up a 61-point win when it defeated St. Mary (Kan.) 68-7 in 1963. The largest margin of victory in school history was a 101-0 win over Central Arkansas in 1917.
CHANGING THE RECORD BOOKS: ASU changed a number of ASU and Sun Belt Conference records during its game against the Delta Devils. ASU's 21 rushing first downs tied the second most in Sun Belt Conference history. It scored nine touchdowns, tying the third most and fifth most in SBC and ASU history, respectively. The Red Wolves' eight rushing touchdowns tied their own SBC record, previously set against Tennessee-Martin in 2003. The eight rushing touchdowns also tied the third most in school history and were just three shy of the school record.
STINGY DEFENSE: ASU held MVSU to just 69 yards of total offense, which is the second fewest allowed in Sun Belt Conference history and the lowest total ever allowed by ASU under head coach Steve Roberts. ASU gave up just 1.6 yards per play, which is the second lowest in SBC history as well.
GROWING CROWDS: With a crowd of 21,056 on hand for the MVSU game, ASU has now drawn a crowd of over 20,000 in 14 games all-time at ASU Stadium and five of those have come over the last six games. Of those 14 games, 10 have been with Steve Roberts as head coach.
A NEW LEADER: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard became ASU's all-time leader in total offense, finishing the MVSU game with a combined 136 rushing and passing yards to push his total to 7,433 career yards. Leonard passed former ASU standout and now NFL quarterback Cleo Lemon for the record. Lemon piled up 7,309 yards of total offense from 1997-00.
PASSING A MILESTONE: Corey Leonard became just the second player in ASU history and sixth in SBC history to record over 6,000 career passing yards (6,032) during the MVSU game.
FOUR SCORE: Senior running back Reggie Arnold scored a career-high four rushing touchdowns against MVSU that tied the third most in school history and second most in Sun Belt history. Arnold also posted his 15th career 100-yard rushing game, tying the second most in school history.
OFFENSIVE OUTBURST: ASU posted 496 yards of total offense against MVSU, its most since piling up 670 yards in last season's home opener against Texas Southern. Dating back to last season, ASU has now posted at least 350 yards of total offense in 10 of its last 13 games.
RECORDS WATCH: Senior Brandon Thompkins (two receptions for 65 yards) took over sole possession of 10th place on ASU's all-time receptions (83) and receiving yards lists (1,168) last game. In the Sun Belt record books, senior quarterback Corey Leonard will enter Saturday's game within 297 yards of second place for total offense and 209 yards of fifth place for passing yards and senior running back Reggie Arnold will start within 42 yards of fourth place for career rushing yards. Thompkins needs just 64 kick return yards to become the first player in ASU history and second in SBC history to record 2,000 career kickoff return yards.
Red Wolves Participate in AFCA/NCAA Respect WeekenD: In cooperation with the NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association, Arkansas State University participated in the AFCA/NCAA Respect Weekend when the Red Wolves kicked off the season last Saturday against Mississippi Valley State University. Prior to kickoff, the teams, head coaches and administrators from both schools met at midfield to shake hands, illustrating and emphasizing respect for the opponent.
RED WOLVES TAKE TIME TO SHOW APPRECIATION TO LOCAL BUSINESSES: While their fall camp was in full swing, members of the Arkansas State football team and head coach Steve Roberts took some time away from the meeting rooms and practice fields to visit local businesses and thank them for their support of the Red Wolves. A number of the players and coach Roberts divided up into groups early on the morning of Aug. 20 and left the ASU Football Complex with not only orange juice, doughnuts and gift bags in hand, but also looking forward to the opportunity to show their appreciation for all the ways area businesses have backed the program.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arkansas State's 6-6 record last year made it bowl eligible for the third time over the last four seasons. The Red Wolves have made eight bowl appearances all-time, the last being the 2005 New Orleans Bowl. The 2005 New Orleans Bowl is the Red Wolves only appearance in a bowl game as an NCAA FBS member.
TEAM CAPTAINS: ASU's senior class will alternate throughout the year as team captains. The team will vote on permanent captains at the end of the year.
95th SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off off its 95th season of football in 2009. ASU holds a 409-435-37 record since the inaugural 1911 season and has played in seven bowl games.
TEAM ACADEMIC AWARD: The Arkansas State football team has won the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award five of the past six years.
PRESEASON ALL-SBC ACCOLADES: Five Arkansas State football players were tabbed Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference, including Co-Offensive Player of the Year Corey Leonard (Covington, La.) and Defensive Player of the Year Alex Carrington (Tupelo, Miss.). Joining Leonard and Carrington on the all-conference team are Reggie Arnold (Little Rock, Ark.), Josh Arauco (Grand Prairie, Texas) and Drew Hilton (Batesville,Ark.).
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The Red Wolves are predicted to finish second in the conference according to the league's 2009 preseason coaches poll, announced July 20 as part of the Sun Belt Conference Media Days. ASU received 69 points, just three fewer than defending Sun Belt champion Troy.
TELEVISION TIME: Arkansas State will play in its first nationally televised game since the 2005 New Orleans Bowl when it faces Louisiana-Monroe at Malone Stadium on Oct. 13. The Red Wolves currently have four other games set to be televised, including the Nebraska (Fox Sports Net PPV), Troy (Sun Belt Network), LouIsiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt Network) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt Network) games. The Red Wolves five regular-season televised games in 2009 is the second most in school history, just one game behind its school-record six televised games during the 2007 campaign.
OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER BACK FROM RECORD-BREAKING TEAM: ASU returns its top passer, top three rushers and top two receivers from last year's team that piled up 4,786 yards last season to break the 57-year old school record for total offense. ASU posted 4,722 yards of total offense in 1951 for the previous record.
CARRINGTON WATCH LIST: Senior defensive end Alex Carrington is not only the preseason Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, he is currently on three prestigious watch lists. Carrington is on the Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy and Ted Hendricks watch lists.
THREE'S COMPANY: Senior running back Reggie Arnold and senior kicker Josh Arauco are keeping good company early in the 2009 season. Arnold and Arauco are ranked among the top three active players in the nation in career rushing yards and field goals made, respectively.
ELITE EIGHT: After rushing for over 1,000 yards each of his first three seasons, senior Reggie Arnold can become the eighth player in NCAA history to hit the rushing mark all four years of his career. The seven players who have currently achieved the feat are Tony Dorsett of Pitt (1973-76), Amos Lawrence of North Carolina (1977-80), Denvis Manns of New Mexico State (1996-99), Cedric Benson of Texas (2002-05), Ron Dayne of Wisconsin (1996-99), DonTrell Moore of New Mexico (2002-05) and Tyrell Fenroy of Louisiana-Lafayette (2005-08).
ARNOLD ON DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior running back Reggie Arnold has been named to the list of candidates for the 2009 Doak Walker Award, released by the Guaranty Bank SMU Athletic Forum. Arnold, one of 45 players on the list, is the first player in ASU history to be named a candidate for the award three different seasons.
LEONARD ON JOHNNY UNITAS AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard is one of 21 candidates listed on the 2009 Johnny Unitas Award Watch List. The award is given to the top senior quarterback in the nation.
ASU's Arauco Named to Lou Groza Award Watch LisT: Arkansas State senior kicker Josh Arauco has been named to the 2009 Lou Groza Award Watch List, announced by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Arauco, a 2008 finalist for the award, is one of 30 players that have been named to the watch list for the top place kicker in college football's FBS division.
Butterfield Helps USA to IFAF Junior World Championship: Arkansas State freshman quarterback Phillip Butterfield completed 11-of-18 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown to help the United States to a 41-3 victory over top-seeded Canada in the gold medal game of the International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship Saturday at Fawcett Stadium. For the tournament, Butterfield completed 30-of-45 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns. The incoming freshman from Hot Springs (Lake Hamilton HS), Ark. was one of 45 graduating high school seniors to be selected to play on the United States' first national team comprised of players ages 19 and under.
ABOVE AVERAGE: Running back Derek Lawson impressed his freshman season, rushing for 695 yards with a 7.2 average per carry. Lawson's 7.4 yards per rush was the fifth highest in the nation among all running backs ranked in the top-100 for rushing yards. He ranked No. 9 in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing yards, led all SBC freshmen in rushing and ranked No. 10 in the nation in rushing among all freshmen.
BREAKING 1,000: Junior wide receiver Brandon Thompkins recorded 511 receiving yards last season to give him 1,103 career yards and make him just the 12th player in school history to record over 1,000 career receiving yards. With 83 career receptions, Thompkins holds the 10th most receptions in ASU history as well.
GAINING GROUND: With 3,336 career rushing yards, junior running back Reggie Arnold is ranked second among the career rushing leaders in ASU history. Arnold has rushed for at least 100 yards in a game 15 times for his career to tie the second most in school history.
INTERIOR TERROR: Sophomore defensive lineman Bryan Hall not only ranked fifth in the Sun Belt Conference in sacks and 115h in tackles for loss among all players in 2008, his 8.5 tackles for loss were the second most in the league among interior defensive linemen and his six sacks tied the most in the league among interior defensive linemen.
DISRUPTING THE BACKFIELD: Alex Carrington had a Sun Belt Conference-high 19.0 tackles for loss in 2008, which more than tripled his previous career best for a single season (5 in 2007). Carrington had 10.5 sacks that ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference as well, which easily topped his total of two for his freshman and sophomore seasons combined. The junior defensive end ranked seventh in the nation in tackles for loss and tied for 14th in sacks.
ASU EXTENDS RADIO CONTRACT WITH EAB: The Arkansas State University Athletic Department recently announced it has extended its radio contract with East Arkansas Broadcasters. ASU teamed up with EAB last year to make KFIN 107.9 FM, a 100,000-watt radio station located in Jonesboro, the new flagship station and home of Red Wolves' football broadcasts. Along with affiliate station KABF 88.3 FM in Little Rock, the Red Wolves will have two 100,000-watt anchor stations broadcasting the games in 2009. The Arkansas State Network's full list of affiliates can be found on the media information page located at the back of the notes package.