Arkansas state (1-3) vs. Louisville (1-2)
Oct. 2, 2010 - ASU Stadium (30,406) - Jonesboro, Ark. - 6:00 P.M.
RADIO: EAB SPORTS NETWORK (KFIN 107.9 FM, FLAGSHIP)
LIVE STATS: astateredwolves.com, A-State TAPSTATS
ON TAP: Arkansas State takes a break from Sun Belt Conference play this week to host Louisville on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in its 2010 Homecoming game, which is also both its second non-conference game and second home contest of the season. Saturday's game will be televised by ESPN3.com, while every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area. The live radio broadcast can also be accessed through the Arkansas State athletic website (AStateRedWolves.com).
THE PRINCIPALS: Arkansas State's last three games have all been against Sun Belt Conference opponents, but the Red Wolves will face Louisville in their second of four non-conference games this season. A-State dropped a 35-28 decision to Troy its last time out, one game after defeating ULM 34-20 to break into the win column for the first time this year. Louisville also enters the game with one victory under its belt, a 23-13 home win over Eastern Kentucky. The Cardinals are coming off an open week, but will play their second straight road game after falling 35-28 at then-ranked No. 25 Oregon State their last time out.
THE ARKANSAS STATE-LOUISVILLE SERIES: Arkansas State and Louisville are playing each other for the second consecutive year, but also for just the second time ever. The Red Wolves suffered a 21-13 setback at Louisville last year at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
THE LAST TIME vs. THE CARDINALS LOUISVILLE, Ky. (10/31/09): The Arkansas State Red Wolves rallied to within a touchdown and a two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter but could not punch the ball into the end zone on their final drive as the Louisville Cardinals held on for a 21-13 non-conference victory Saturday afternoon at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Senior kicker Josh Arauco put the Red Wolves within eight points when he booted a 21-yard field goal with 7:47 remaining, but Arkansas State came up 14 yards short of the tying score on its final drive.
Arkansas State's final possession began at its 24 yard line with 2:42 remaining, and the Red Wolves drove as deep as the Cardinals' eight yard line in the final minute. Senior quarterback Corey Leonard's fourth-down pass from the Louisville 14 yard line was just out of the reach of tight end Trevor Gillott ending the final Red Wolves threat.
Louisville got on the board first, scoring on a 26-yard rush by Darius Ashley in the first quarter. ASU answered with a 24-yard field goal from Arauco to start the second quarter.
The Cardinals stretched their lead to 21-3 with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by Brandon Heath just before the half and a one-yard rushing touchdown by Ashley with 8:23 remaining in the third.
The Red Wolves cut the lead to 21-10 on a four-yard touchdown pass from Leonard to Brandon Thompkins with just over a minute to play in the third quarter, then used Arauco's 21-yarder to pull within a score with 7:47 to play.
Arauco's two field goals on the day made him the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in field goals made with 51, while Thompkins became the SBC all-time leader in kickoff return yards when he returned three kickoffs on the day for 56 yards, giving him 2,357 for his career.
Leonard passed for a season-high 303 yards and a touchdown to lead the Arkansas State offense on the day, completing 23-of-42 passes to become ASU's all-time completions leader with 565.
Junior safety M.D. Jennings had a season-high 11 tackles against the Cardinals to lead the Red Wolves defense.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. THE BIG EAST: Including Louisville, Arkansas State has played just two teams all-time that are currently a member of the Big East Conference. ASU split a pair of games with Cincinnati, defeating defeating the Bearcats 14-9 in 1975 before playing them again in 1998 and dropping a 51-7 decision in that game. Both games were played at Cincinnati.
HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arkansas State is 55-26-1 all-time in Homecoming contests. The Red Wolves have won their last seven Homecoming games dating back to the 2003 season.
WELCOME TO ASU STADIUM: Louisville will become the 54th A-State opponent to ever play a game at ASU Stadium. The Cardinals will be the first Big East opponent to ever play a game at ASU Stadium as well. The last time ASU hosted a team from a BCS conference was 2001 when it played Ole Miss at ASU Stadium.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: ASU holds an 11-2 non-conference record at ASU Stadium under head coach Steve Roberts. The Red Wolves' hold victories over teams such as Tulsa, Army, SMU and Memphis over that span, while its only two setbacks came 27-24 against Southern Miss in 2008 and 47-35 against then-ranked No. 25 Memphis in 2004.
20 SOMETHING: Arkansas State has scored at least 24 points in each of its first four games and is averaging 28 points a game, which ranks third in the Sun Belt Conference. The last time A-State scored 20 or more points in four consecutive games was the 1995 season when it did so in five straight.
AN ASU VICTORY WOULD . . . improve its non-conference home record under head coach Steve Roberts to 12-2 . . . give it eight consecutive Homecoming victories . . . give the Red Wolves its second win over a BCS conference school since joining the FBS . . . give the Red Wolves their third consecutive home victory . . . snap a four-game skid against non-conference opponents.
PLAY AFTER PLAY: Arkansas State has run at least 80 offensive plays in three of its first four games, including a season-high 84 at Auburn. Prior to this season, the last time ASU had run at least 80 plays in a game was Oct. 13, 2007 when it ran 85 against Louisiana-Monroe. If the Red Wolves maintain their average 77.5 plays per game, they would finish the regular season with 930 total plays to easily break the school record of 848 set in 2007.
WRAPPING UP: Junior safety Kelcie McCray and senior linebacker Javon McKinnon both recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Troy last week. The 12 tackles are the most by an ASU player this season, just ahead of the 11 recorded by M.D. Jennings in the season opener at Auburn. McKinnon is ranked tied for ninth in the Sun Belt Conference in tackles with 7.5 per game, while McCray is 27th with 5.5 stops per game.
FORCING TURNOVERS: The Red Wolves posted one interception and a fumble recovery against Troy, giving them back-to-back games with at least one pick and two games this year with a fumble recovery (Auburn and Troy). Sophomore defensive back Tausean Holmes recorded his first career interception against the Trojans, while sophomore cornerback Chaz Scales posted his first career fumble recovery.
PLAYING IN THE BACKFIELD: Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Amos Draper recorded his second sack of the season and a career-high three tackles for loss against Troy. His two sacks are the second most on the team and his 5.5 tackles for loss rank not only second in the Sun Belt Conference, but also 55th in the nation.
SULLIVENT HAS CAREER GAME: Junior Neely Sullivent set new career highs for punting yards (258) and average yards per punt (43.0) against Troy, while also recording three punts inside the opponent's 20 to tie the most of his career. Sullivent also had two punts that traveled at least 50 yards against Troy, including a career-long 57 yarder. Prior to the Troy game, the longest punt of his career was 49 yards.
ZALUD STEPPING UP: True freshman kicker Bobby Zalud is ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring by kick despite not attempting a field goal in the Red Wolves' season opener and last week against Troy. However, Zalud is 11-of-11 on extra point attempts and 3-of-5 on field goal attempts over the last three games to give him 20 points.
IN THE ZONE: The Arkansas State offense is almost perfect in the red zone, scoring on 15 of 16 opportunities for a 93.8 percentage. That percentage is ranked first in the SBC and 12th in the nation in red zone offense.
IN THE ZONE (PART II): The Arkansas State defense is second in the Sun Belt Conference and 11th in the nation in red zone defense, holding opponents to a 63.2 scoring percentage. A-State's four opponents this season have turned just 12 of their combined 19 red zone opportunities into points (9 TD, 3 FG).
BIG PLAY: Arkansas State has run 24 plays (6.0 per game) this season that have covered at least 20 yards, including eight last week against Troy and a season-high nine against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves have already ran four plays that covered at least 53 yards with a long play of 65 yards (Ryan Aplin pass to Taylor Stockemer) against ULL.
MUSE CONTINUING TO PUT UP BIG NUMBERS: Allen Muse caught a career-high seven passes for 119 yards and his first career touchdown last week against Troy, two weeks after posting five receptions for a career-high 133 yards against UL Lafayette. Muse's 133 receiving yards against the Ragin' Cajuns were the 21st most in school history for a single game. The last time an A-State player had recorded more receiving yards was in 2000.
NCAA HIGH: Ryan Aplin's school-record 438 passing yards against Louisiana-Lafayette remains the most by any NCAA FBS player this season. T.J. Yates of North Carolina has the second highest total with 412 yards passing against LSU on Sept. 4. Aplin's 438 yards not only broke the ASU single-game record, but also tied UCF's Daunte Culpepper's total in 1998 for the most ever by an opponent at Cajun Field.
APLIN NOTABLES: Ryan Aplin is ranked first in the Sun Belt Conference in total offense (335.5 ypg) and second in passing yards (299.0 ypg). He is also ranked fifth in the nation in total offense and ninth in passing yards. Aplin has thrown for at least 237 yards in every game this season and has posted a completion total that that ranks among the top 10 in school history at both Auburn (28, tied for 3rd most) and ULL (25, tied for sixth most).
300-PLUS: Arkansas State posted at least 366 yards of total offense in each of its first four games, marking the first time since its last four games of the 2008 season to do so. The last time A-State posted over 300 yards of total offense in five straight games was games 3-7 of the 2008 campaign as well. The Red Wolves recorded over 300 yards of offense in six games last season. ASU is currently ranked second in the SBC and 29th in the nation in total offense with 436 yards per game.
APLIN EARNS SBC HONOR FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK: Sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin was named the Sun Belt Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 20, marking the second straight week he earned the league's offensive honor. Aplin recorded 318 yards of total offense with a rushing and passing touchdown against ULM, while he threw for a school-record 438 yards and two touchdowns the week prior against Louisiana-Lafayette.
TELEVISION TIME: Arkansas State currently has eight televised games scheduled for the regular season, tying the most in school history. A-State played eight regular-season games on television last season as well. The Red Wolves have four league games (UL Lafayette, ULM, Troy, FAU) televised on the Sun Belt Network, while the Auburn game was carried by Fox Sports South. The Louisville game will be carried by ESPN3.com, while the Middle Tennessee game by ESPN2 and the Navy game by CBS College Sports.