Arkansas State (1-4, 0-2) hosts Florida International (1-5, 1-2)
Oct. 24, 2009 l ASU Stadium (30,406)
Jonesboro, Ark. l 6:00 p.m.
Radio: Arkansas State Radio Network (KFIN 107.9 FM, flagship)
Television: JumpTV Webcasting (AStateRedWolves.com)
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State continues Sun Belt Conference play Saturday when it catches Florida International in its Homecoming game at ASU Stadium at 6:00 p.m. 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 PRINCIPALS: The Red Wolves enter their game against Florida International looking to snap a four-game skid and pick up their first Sun Belt Conference victory of the season after dropping their last three games by a combined 12 points. The Golden Panthers enter the game with a 1-2 league record and 1-5 overall mark after dropping a 42-33 decision against Troy in Miami their last time out.
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 27-9 record at ASU Stadium over the last seven years for .750 winning percentage. Not only that, the Red Wolves are 18-4 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 21-15 record in games decided by eight points or less (40 percent of all his games). Roberts' teams hold a 19-12 record in their last 31 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 5-7
4 points 6-1
5 points 1-2
6 points 2-2
7 points 3-1
8 points 2-1
17 AND UNDER: Arkansas State holds an 18-4 record under head coach Steve Roberts when holding its opponents to 17 points or less. The Red Wolves have won 15 of their last 17 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: Iowa was the 10th 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 under Roberts:
No. 4 Texas (2007) L, 13-21
No. 4 LSU (2004) L, 3-53
No. 6 Auburn (2006) L, 0-27
No. 13 Iowa (2009) L, 21-24
No. 16 Virginia Tech (2002) L, 7-63
No. 17 Missouri (2004) L, 20-52
No. 18 Nebraska (2009) L, 9-38
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
TEAM ACADEMIC AWARD: The Arkansas State football team has won the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award five of the past six years.
THE ARKANSAS STATE-FIU SERIES: ASU leads the all-time series with FIU 3-1, but dropped the last season's meeting in Miami by a 22-21 score. Arkansas State defeated Florida International each of the previous three seasons, including a 66-24 victory in 2005 in Jonesboro that was the first game ever between the two schools. ASU came back to pick up a 31-6 victory over the Golden Panthers in Miami in 2006 and picked up a 27-24 home win last year.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE: Arkansas State is 56-56-1 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, the Red Wolves are 27-29 against all opponents that have been a member of the league. Against current members of the conference, ASU is 22-25 since 2001. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Lafayette with 17, while its most victories against a Sun Belt opponent since 2001 is Louisiana-Monroe with five. The Red Wolves have defeated every team in the Sun Belt Conference since the football league was formed in 2001.
HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arkansas State is 54-26-1 all-time in Homecoming contests. The Red Wolves have won their last six Homecoming games, including the last five against Sun Belt Conference opponents.
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).
BACK-2-BACK: ASU played back-to-back nationally televised games for the first time in school history at Iowa on Oct. 3 and at ULM on Oct. 13 as both games were televised by ESPN2. ASU's outing at Iowa marked its first national television appearance since the 2005 New Orleans Bowl when it was on ESPN2 as well.
GAMEDAY SHOWCASES MUSE STORY: Freshman wide receiver Allen Muse's story of his courageous path to the football field with the Red Wolves went national when ESPN's College GameDay showcased his story on Oct. 3 . . . Prior to signing with ASU, Muse was a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and a record-setting pass catcher at Leesville, La., High School - where he had wound up after the storm. After signing with the Red Wolves, a physical followed by further tests uncovered a problem with Muse's heart. Extra tissue was restricting blood flow and making the heart work harder than it should . . . On Sept. 11, 2008 Muse went into major surgery not knowing if he would be able to play football again, but six months later he was working out with the ASU football team during its spring camp. Now fully recovered, Muse has played in all three games this season as a true freshman and is playing a major role on the team as a key receiver.
LEONARD NOTABLES: Corey Leonard threw his fifth TD pass of the season against ULM and now has 45 for his career, leaving him three shy of tying the school record . . . After completing a combined 31 passes the first three games of the season, Leonard has connected on at least 20 attempts each of the last two games . . . Leonard threw for a season-high 234 yards against ULM, giving him 6,803 yards for his career and leaving him just 197 shy of becoming just the second player in school history to pass for over 7,000 yards.
NOTING THOMPKINS: Brandon Thompkins recorded his third TD reception of the season against ULM. All three of his TD's came over the last three games and he now has six for his career . . . Thompkins set a new career high for receptions with eight against Iowa and posted a season-high 90 receiving yards against ULM . . . He now has 17 receptions for 248 yards and 3 TD's over the last three games. Thompkins also went over 100 all-purpose yards for the third straight game against ULM and the fourth time this season.
THOMPKINS TOPS 2,000: With 329 kickoff return yards this season, senior Brandon Thompkins now has 2,235 yards and became the first player in school history and second player in SBC history surpass the 2,000-yard mark. Thompkins, already the school record holder in kickoff return yards, needs 111 more yards to break the SBC record. Thompkins has posted over 100 kickoff return yards in a game eight time times during his career at ASU.
GROWING CROWDS: With a crowd of 21,056 on hand for the MVSU game 23, 641 at the Troy game, ASU has now drawn a crowd of over 20,000 in 15 games all-time at ASU Stadium and six of those have come over the last seven games. Of those 15 games, 11 have been played with Steve Roberts as head coach. The crowd of 23,641 for the Troy game was the seventh largest in ASU Stadium history.
GAINING GROUND: With 3,538 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. Arnold needs 410 more yards to pass Richie Woit as ASU's all-time rushing leader.
A NEW LEADER: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard became ASU's all-time leader in total offense this season, finishing the MVSU game with a combined 136 rushing and passing yards to push his total to 7,433 career yards. After five games, he now has 8,203 yards to his credit. 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.
BIG AUDIENCE: The crowd of 85,035 for the ASU-Nebraska game was the fifth largest to ever watch an Arkansas State game, while the crowd of 67,989 in attendance for the ASU-Iowa game was the 13th largest. The largest crowd is 102,368, set at Tennessee in 2007. Four of the top five ASU games with the largest crowds have now been played under head coach Steve Roberts
UNBUCKLE THE BELT: ASU is now 7-2 all-time and 6-2 under head coach Steve Roberts in Sun Belt Conference openers after falling 30-27 against Troy in its first league game this year. The Red Wolves have dropped a Sun Belt Conference opener at ASU Stadium for the first time, now standing 4-1 in those games
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arkansas State is 12-3 in home conference games since 2005, its only setbacks coming against Troy in 2007 and 2009 and Middle Tennessee in 2006. The Red Wolves are 18-7 in home conference games all-time under Roberts.
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.
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 14 games.
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 409-438-37 record since the inaugural 1911 season and has played in seven bowl games.
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.
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 Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 13. The Red Wolves have a school-record seven televised games this season, including the Nebraska (Fox Sports Net PPV), Troy (Sun Belt Network), Iowa (ESPN2), Louisiana-Monroe (ESPN2), LouIsiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt Network), Middle Tennessee (ESPN Game Plan) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt Network) games.
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.
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.
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.