Arkansas State (2-5, 1-2) hosts Louisiana-Lafayette (4-4, 2-2)
Nov. 7, 2009 l ASU Stadium (30,406)
Jonesboro, Ark. l 2:30 p.m.
Radio: Arkansas State Radio Network (KFIN 107.9 FM, flagship)
Television: Sun Belt Network, JumpTV Webcasting (AStateRedWolves.com)
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State returns to Sun Belt Conference play this week, hosting Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at ASU Stadium. 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: ASU's remaining five regular-season games will all be played against Sun Belt Conference opponents, starting Saturday when the Red Wolves host the Ragin' Cajuns in their fourth home outing of the season. Arkansas State carries a 2-1 home record into the game, while Louisiana-Lafayette holds a 1-3 mark in road contests. The Red Wolves dropped a 21-13 decision at Louisville last Saturday, their fourth setback of the season by a touchdown or less, but defeated Florida International on Oct. 24 in their last Sun Belt Conference game. The Ragin' Cajuns started league play with back-to-back victories over North Texas and Western Kentucky, but have lost their last two against Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
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 39 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 28-9 record at ASU Stadium over the last seven years for .757 winning percentage. Not only that, the Red Wolves are 19-4 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 21-16 record in games decided by eight points or less (41 percent of all his games). 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 2-2
17 AND UNDER: After limiting FIU and MVSU to 10 points or less this season, Arkansas State now holds a 19-4 record under head coach Steve Roberts when holding its opponents to 17 points or less. The Red Wolves have won 16 of their last 18 games when holding their opponent to 17 or fewer points and have won 28 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-LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE SERIES: Arkansas State holds an all-time record of 18-18-1 against Louisiana-Lafayette in the series that dates back to the 1953 season. As Sun Belt Conference opponents, the Ragin' Cajuns lead the series 4-3. The home team won the last eight meetings dating back to the 1999 season, and seven of the last nine meetings have been decided by six points or less, including last year's game that saw the Ragin' Cajuns pull out a 28-23 victory . . . Saturday's game will be the 38th meeting all-time between ASU and Louisiana-Lafayette. Arkansas State's 37 games played against the Ragin' Cajuns ties the third most against any opponent in school history
OLD TIES: While Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette have both played as members of the Sun Belt Conference since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, it is not the first time the two teams have shared a league. The Red Wolves and Ragin' Cajuns were both members of the Big West Conference from 1993 to 1995 and the Southland Conference from 1971 to 1981.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE: Arkansas State is 57-56-1 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, the Red Wolves are 28-29 against all opponents that have been a member of the league. Against current members of the conference, ASU is 23-25 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 with the exception of Western Kentucky, which ASU will play for the first time on Dec. 3.
NO RUNNING ROOM: The ASU defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, the closest being ULM's Frank Goodin with 97 yards. Dating back to last season, ASU has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in eight games. North Texas' Cam Montgomery (Nov. 29, 2008) was the last player to post 100 yards rushing (121) against the ASU defense, which is ranked 27th in the nation in rushing defense.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arkansas State is 13-3 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 19-7 in home conference games all-time under Roberts.
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).
GAINING GROUND: With 3,664 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 16 times for his career for the second most in school history. Arnold needs 284 more yards to pass Richie Woit (1950-53) as ASU's all-time rushing leader.
LEONARD BREAKS ANOTHER CAREER RECORD: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard broke another career record at ASU last Saturday at Louisville, becoming the school's all-time leader in completions with 565. Leonard broke ASU and NFL quarterback Cleo Lemon's (1997-2000) previous school record of 551 completions. Leonard completed 23 passes for 303 yards, both season highs, against Louisville . . . Leonard broke the school record for total offense in the Red Wolves season opener against MVSU and now has 8,793 yards of total offense for his four-year career.
LEONARD NOTABLES: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard threw at least one touchdown pass for the fifth straight game last week and now has 47 for his career, one short of the school record . . . He threw for a season-high 303 yards against Louisville, giving him 7,255 passing yards to become just the second player in ASU history to throw for over 7,000 yards.
THOMPKINS BREAKS SBC RECORD: Senior wide receiver Brandon Thompkins became the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in kickoff return yards last week, finishing the Louisville game with three returns for 56 yards that gave him 2,357 yards for his career. He passed Troy's Leodis McKelvin who had 2,346 kickoff return yards for Troy from 2004-07. Thompkins is the only player in school history to record over 2,000 kickoff return yards. He has posted over 100 kickoff return yards in a game eight times during his career at ASU.
THOMPKINS NOTABLES: Senior receiver Brandon Thompkins recorded his team-best fourth touchdown reception of the season against Louisville and has now caught a touchdown pass in four of the last five games. Thompkins needs one more touchdown reception to tie the fifth most in school history for a single season. He also finished with a team-high seven receptions and is averaging over five catches per game over the last five games.
ARAUCO BREAKS SBC RECORD: Senior kicker Josh Arauco became the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in field goals made with 51 last week during the Louisville game. The former record of 50 was held by Troy's Greg Whibbs (2004-07). Arauco connected on both his field goal attempts and has now made multiple field goals in a game 17 times. Arauco also took over sole possession of second place for the most points by kicking in Sun Belt Conference history with 254 points.
GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK: Sophomore linebacker Demario Davis recorded at least one sack for the second straight game against Louisville and now has three for the season, which ties senior defensive end Alex Carrington for the team high . . . Carrington also finished with a sack against the Cardinals and now has 15.5 for his career, which leaves him just half a sack shy of tying the fifth most in school history.
PICK IT OFF: Sophomore safety Kelcie McCray recorded his team-high third interception of the season against Louisville and has now intercepted a pass in three straight games. McCray is ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in interceptions . . . ASU didn't record an interception its first three games, but has now picked off at least one pass in the last five consecutive games.
THE DOCTOR IS IN: Junior safety M.D. Jennings recorded a team and season-high 11 tackles against Louisville, which was just two shy of his career best and the third most stops by an ASU player this season.
STOCKEMER STANDING OUT: Highly touted redshirt freshman wide receiver Taylor Stockemer had the best two games of his young career the past two weeks, posting team highs of four receptions for 81 yards against FIU and two receptions for 76 yards against Louisville. Stockemer has five receptions for 157 yards over the last two games after posting just four receptions for 43 yards over the Red Wolves first five games.
WILBOURN NOTABLES: In Sun Belt Conference games only, Ryan Wilbourn is ranked fourth in the league with a 42.3 yards per punt average. Wilbourn had a career-long 65 yard punt against ULM that is the second longest punt by a Sun Belt player this season and the longest by an ASU player since Jarod Little posted a 66-yard punt against LSU in 2004 . . . Wilbourn also kicked a 49-yard field goal against ULM on his only attempt of the season. The 49-yard field goal was the longest by an ASU player since 2005 when Eric Neihouse hit a 50-yarder against ULM as well.
DAVIS NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore linebacker Demario Davis was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 26 after recording eight tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Red Wolves 27-10 homecoming victory over Florida International.
WILBOURN NAMED CFPA PUNTER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Ryan Wilbourn has been named the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) national punter of the week on Oct. 25 after averaging a career-best 48.0 yards per punt in the Red Wolves 27-10 homecoming victory over Florida International . . . Wilbourn received the weekly punting honor along with Utah's Sean Sellwood and Tulsa's Michael Such . . . The Searcy, Ark. native punted five times for 280 yards and his 48.0 yards per punt average was over five yards higher than the top average in the Sun Belt Conference at the time. He pinned FIU inside its own 20-yard line three times and booted three punts that covered at least 52 yards, including a long of 57 yards. He also had one punt ruled a touchback.
TWICE AS NICE: Senior quarterback Corey Leonard and senior running back Reggie Arnold posted 120 and 104 yards rushing, respectively, against FIU on Oct. 24, marking the first time since the 2008 season opener against Texas Southern that ASU had two players rush for over 100 yards in the same game.
HOMECOMING HISTORY: With its 27-10 victory over FIU, Arkansas State improved to 55-26-1 all-time in Homecoming contests. The Red Wolves have now won their last seven homecoming games, including the last six against Sun Belt Conference opponents.
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.
GROWING CROWDS: With a crowd of 21,056 on hand for the MVSU game and 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 eight 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.
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
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 410-439-37 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 played in its first nationally televised game since the 2005 New Orleans Bowl when it faced Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 13. The Red Wolves have a school-record eight televised games this season, including the Nebraska (Fox Sports Net PPV), Troy (Sun Belt Network), Iowa (ESPN2), Louisiana-Monroe (ESPN2), Louisville (WHAS-TV), 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.
ASU ANNOUNCES FOOTBALL GAME REPLAY PACKAGE: ASU has reached deals with several cable providers, which have a total subscriber count of over 100,000 households and businesses, to replay its football games in 2009. The replays will be televised on the ASU campus and in over 110 towns and cities across northeast and central Arkansas as well as Missouri. ASU replays could only be seen in Jonesboro, Bay and on campus last year, marking an increase of over 100 towns and cities in 2009.