MOBILE, Ala. (1/4/13) — The Arkansas State football team was back on the practice field Friday night, holding its third GoDaddy.com Bowl practice in Mobile at UMS-Wright High School in preparation for its Sunday-night game against No. 25 Kent State.
The Red Wolves held several meetings over the course of the day and also attended the GoDaddy.com Bowl Mayor's Luncheon at the Mobile Convention Center before setting their sights on their 15th postseason practice since defeating Middle Tennessee in their regular-season finale.
"We've had a lot of practices, probably close to what you go through in spring camp, and I think our guys are tired of hitting each other and ready to play the game," said ASU Interim Head Coach John Thompson. "It's been a great time down here and a great week, but I'm really happy with our focus and what our guys have accomplished down here in practice. We've still got a day or so, but I think we're prepared to step in there and play Sunday night."
Thompson also addressed what the Red Wolves will be facing when they play 25th-ranked Kent State. The Golden Flashes produced an 11-2 overall record this year and will make their first bowl appearance since 1972. Kent State is ranked 17th in the nation in rushing offense and tied for first in the FBS in both turnover margin (+21) and turnovers gained (38).
"Slowing those guys down is going to be challenging," said Thompson. "Their offense is led by Dri Archer, and he's got world-class speed, and then their quarterback (Spencer) Keith is also very good and does a great job maintaining the game and putting the ball in the right spot. They also have a tremendous offensive line. Their defense is really good and is one of the best in the country at creating turnovers. It's going to be a great matchup."
A-State is making its second consecutive appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl after suffering a 38-20 setback against Northern Illinois in the 2012 version of the game. The Red Wolves ended the 2012 regular season with a 9-3 overall record and are back-to-back Sun Belt Conference champions. ASU is receiving votes in both major polls and is listed No. 37 in the latest BCS rankings.
"The guys that were here last year, especially our seniors and our leadership on our team, had a good trip, but they didn't achieve their main objective to win the game," said Thompson. "You come to a bowl game and it's great and it's a reward, but the point is winning the game and our players know that. If you don't win the game, it's not the same."
The Red Wolves will hold a walk-thru tomorrow at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in their final tune-up before the GoDaddy.com Bowl. The game is set to kickoff at 8 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.