Jonesboro (ASU) – The Red Wolves' offense and defense both had their moments during a lengthy full-contact scrimmage held during the Arkansas State football team's Thursday practice inside ASU Stadium. A-State played 19 series made up of close to 90 plays that gave the offense an opportunity to sustain drives and score points in the traditional fashion.
While the offense was able to move the ball at times early during the scrimmage, the defense didn't give up a score until the 29th play when Brandon Parker hit a 31-yard field goal. The defense, which forced four interceptions and recovered a fumble, allowed just one score among the eight drives that started in the offense's territory.
"I am Really proud of the way we are running to the football defensively," said ASU head coach Steve Roberts. "We are making some plays, making some big plays. We made some big plays offensively as well, we just didn't capitalize on some opportunities."
"We are still learning and had a real mixed match of who was out there," added Roberts. "Once we hone in and know who is going to be playing with who, things will clean up."
The offense mounted its longest drive of the evening 61 plays into the scrimmage, capping a 75-yard march down the field with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin. The series included a 40-yard pass from Aplin to senior receiver Jonathan White for the longest offensive play of the scrimmage.
The offense's other three scores, all touchdowns, came on drives that started inside the 50-yard line. The first touchdown of the scrimmage came on a one-yard run by running back Rod Smith, capping a 35-yard drive. Aplin scored his first touchdown 22 plays later and the offense tacked on its last two touchdowns on two of the last four series, both which started at the defense's 18-yard line.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Phillip Butterfield hooked up with sophomore receiver Taylor Stockemer for a 13-yard touchdown pass on the 81st play, and Aplin scored his second rushing touchdown on a 3-yard run on the 85th play.
"Offensively, I thought our running backs ran the football very well," said Roberts. "Stockemer had a big play and R.J. Fleming had a nice play, and Jackson and Thornton ran the ball tough as well."
The defense got interceptions from freshman linebacker Qushaun Lee, sophomore linebacker Nathan Herrold, defensive back Reggie Hobson and junior safety Jaquan Kilcrease, who ended the outing with his pick in the end zone. Herrold was also responsible for the defense's only fumble recovery, while Lee returned his interception 41 yards for the longest play made on either side of the ball.
"You noticed Nathan Herrold a lot defensively, and obviously Brian Hall every time he steps on to the field," said Roberts. "Kelcie McCray had a great play, a big hit down the middle."