Arkansas State faces Middle Tennessee for Sun Belt title - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Arkansas State faces Middle Tennessee for Sun Belt title

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GAME 12:  Arkansas State (8-3, 6-1) hosts Middle Tennessee (8-3, 6-1)
December 1, 2012  l  Liberty Bank Stadium
Jonesboro, Ark.  l   2:00 p.m.
Radio:  EAB Sports Radio Network (107.9 FM, flagship)
TV:  ESPN3.com
LIVE STATS:  AStateRedWolves.com, TapStats

ON TAP: Arkansas State will carry a six-game winning streak into its regular-season finale Saturday at Liberty Bank Stadium against Middle Tennessee.  Both the Red Wolves and Blue Raiders are receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, and the ESPN3.com-televised game will determine the 2012 Sun Belt Conference champion.  Every ASU game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area with the live radio broadcast accessible through the Arkansas State athletics Web site (AStateRedWolves.com).

BY THE NUMBERS . . .

  • 0 sacks allowed by ASU in six games this season.  A-State is ranked 23rd in the nation in sacks allowed.
  • 1 ASU's 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt by Rivals, ESPN.com, Scout and 247Sports.com.
  • 1 ASU's rank in the Sun Belt in rushing offense (212.3 ypg), scoring offense (35.6 ppg) and pass efficiency (150.9).
  • 1 reception needed by Josh Jarboe to become the 8th player in ASU history with 100 career catches.
  • 1 tackle needed by Nathan Herrold to become the first player with 100 in a season since 2007.
  • 2 passing touchdowns needed by Ryan Aplin for the most in school history for a single season.
  • 4 ASU players named an SBC Player of the Week, including LB's Herrold and Lee, QB Aplin and K Davis.
  • 4 or more receptions by J.D. McKissic in every game this season, including a career-high 12 the last two games.
  • 5 of the last eight seasons, including 2012, have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility with at least six victories.
  • 5 votes received by ASU in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.
  • 5 games this season the ASU defense hasn't allowed 200 yards passing.
  • 5.1 yards per rush by A-State, matching the single-season school record set in 1989.
  • 6.5 yards per play by the ASU offense, which would be the highest in school history for a single season.
  • 8 consecutive road victories by A-State against conference opponents, the most in school history.
  • 8 players have already earned their degrees from Arkansas State University.
  • 8 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium, including 2012.
  • 9 A-State games scheduled to be televised by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3.com in 2012.
  • 9 of the last 10 years the football team has won the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award.
  • 9 J.D. McKissic's national ranking in receptions per game (7.6 pg).
  • 9.0 tackles per game by Nathan Herrold, tied for the 3rd highest avg. in the Sun Belt Conference.
  • 11 receptions needed by J.D. McKissic for the most in school history for a single season.
  • 11.3 yards per rush by Rocky Hayes, which would easily break the school record for a season by almost 3 ypa.
  • 12.0 tackles for loss recorded by Tim Starson for the sixth most in the Sun Belt Conference.
  • 13 votes received by ASU in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll.
  • 14 A-State victories in its last 15 conference games played, dating back to the 2011 season.
  • 15 different ASU players with a touchdown this season, which is tied for the eighth most in the nation.
  • 16 first-time starters for A-State this season, tied for the 17th most in the nation.
  • 16 career touchdown receptions by Taylor Stockemer, the most in school history.
  • 17 combined true freshmen and redshirt freshmen have played for ASU, tied for the 31st most in the nation.
  • 18 A-State victories over its last 23 regular-season games.
  • 18 ASU's national rank in total offense (479.1 yards per game).
  • 20 statistical categories in which ASU ranks among the top half of the league, including total offense and defense.
  • 21 combined single game, season and career school records held by Ryan Aplin.
  • 21 Ryan Aplin's national rank in total offense (297.3 ypg).
  • 24 A-State's national rank in rushing offense (212.3 yards per game).
  • 25 consecutive games with at least one sack recorded by the A-State defense.
  • 26 completions needed by Ryan Aplin for the most in Sun Belt Conference history.
  • 27 A-State's national rank in scoring offense (35.6 ppg).
  • 31 Brian Davis' national rank in field goals made (1.3 per game).
  • 31 points needed by ASU for the fifth most in Sun Belt Conference history.
  • 33 is ASU's ranking in the latest CBSSports.com 124 rankings.
  • 40 A-State's latest position in the BCS rankings.
  • 40 consecutive games with a reception by Taylor Stockemer, tied for the third most in the nation.
  • 78 rushing yards needed by David Oku to become the 13th player in ASU history to rush for 1,000 in a season.
  • 300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 34 of its last 36 games.
  • 307 combined rushing yards allowed by the ASU defense the last four games for an average of just 76.8 yards.
  • 400+ yards of total offense recorded by A-State in eight of its first 11 games.

THE PRINCIPALS: Winners in seven of its last eight games, including the last six in a row, A-State moved its overall record to 8-3 and Sun Belt Conference mark to 6-1 with a 41-34 road victory over Troy its last time out.  Middle Tennessee is on a four-game winning streak, most recently defeating Troy 24-21 last week in its home finale to improve its overall record to 8-3 and Sun Belt mark to 6-1 as well.  Saturday's winner will be the outright 2012 Sun Belt Conference champion.  ASU carries a 4-1 home record into the contest, while the Blue Raiders are 5-1 on the road.

THE ASU-MIDDLE TENNESSEE SERIES: While Arkansas State is 4-9 all-time versus Middle Tennessee, the Red Wolves have won the last two meetings.  ASU claimed a 45-19 road win last season and a 51-24 home victory in 2011, while the Blue Raiders last win in the series came 38-14 in Murfreesboro in 2009.  Middle Tennessee won the first two games in the series in 1948 and 1949, and the two teams did not meet again until 2001 as Sun Belt foes.

SENIOR DAY:  The Red Wolves will hold their annual Senior Day this Saturday, recognizing their senior class for their contributions to Arkansas State University and the football program.  This year's 21 seniors are Ryan Aplin, Kevin Galindo, Nathan Herrold, Tausean Holmes, Shervarius Jackson, Josh Jarboe, Don Jones, Anthony Kincy, Cole Lorigan, Zack McKnight, Kedric Murry, Nick Nelms, Cody Prater, Chaz Scales, Andre Smith, Tim Starson, Taylor Stockemer, Neely Sullivent, Jonathan Victorian, Ryan Wilbourn and Ronnell Wright.

BACK IN BLACK:  A-State will have a "Back in Black" promotion in place for Saturday's game, encouraging fans to wear black to the game in support of the Red Wolves as they compete for their second consecutive Sun Belt Conference championship.

AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . :   Extend ASU's overall and Sun Belt Conference winning streak to seven games, its second longest since 1986 . . . Make the Red Wolves back-to-back conference champions for the first time since 1985-86 . . . Give it 19 victories since 2011 for its most over a two-year span in school history . . . Give ASU nine or more victories for the seventh time in school history . . . Give it seven Sun Belt wins for the second time ever (8 in 2011) . . . Make the Red Wolves 11-1 over their last 12 home games and give them three consecutive wins at Liberty Bank Stadium.

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