GAME 5: Arkansas State Red Wolves (2-2) at Missouri Tigers (3-0)
Sept. 28, 2013 | Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium
Columbia, Mo. | 6:30 p.m.
Radio: EAB Red Wolves Sports Radio Network (107.9 FM, flagship)
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State continues its non-conference slate this weekend at Missouri, the second SEC opponent on the Red Wolves schedule this year. The Red Wolves, in the midst of three consecutive non-conference games, face the Tigers on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in a CSS-televised game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium. Every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area as part of the EAB Red Wolves Sports Radio Network, and the live radio broadcast can be accessed through the A-State athletics Web site (AStateRedWolves.com).
THE PRINCIPALS: A-State will carry a 2-2 overall record into Saturday's game after dropping a 31-7 decision to American Athletic Conference foe Memphis its last time out. The Red Wolves have alternated wins and losses through its first four outings, claiming a season-opening victory over UAPB and a win over Troy in its first Sun Belt game. Missouri is undefeated through its first three games and receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches (2) and Associated Press (2) Top 25 polls. While the Red Wolves are looking for their first road victory of 2013, the Tigers are 2-0 at home this year. Both offenses are averaging over 450 yards per game, while the Missouri defense is giving up 386 yards per game to the Red Wolves 440.
BY THE NUMBERS . . .
1 of just 16 FBS programs to win at least 20 games over the last two years (2011 & 2012).
1 receiving touchdown needed by both Allen Muse & Julian Jones to tie the 8th most (9) in school history.
1 field goal needed by Brian Davis to tie the fifth most in Sun Belt Conference history (45).
2 rushing touchdowns needed by David Oku to tie the seventh most (22) in school history.
2 SEC opponents on A-State's schedule in the same season for the first time since 2004.
3 ASU was picked to finish 3rd in the preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll with 45 pts. and 2 first-place votes.
4 players with 100 yards rushing vs. UAPB, making A-State just the 7th FBS team to accomplish the feat.
5 consecutive victories at Liberty Bank Stadium.
5 of the last eight seasons have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility.
5 players named to one of college football's major award watch lists.
7 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, the most in the league.
7.8 tackles for loss per game by A-State, the 15th highest average in the NCAA.
8 players (Albright, Carrethers, Haunga, Kennedy, McCants, Muse, Oliver, Williams) already with their degree.
8 game Sun Belt Conference winning streak held by A-State.
8 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium.
10 win seasons in 2011 & 2012, making ASU the first team in SBC history w/ back-to-back 10-win campaigns.
10 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards over the last 11 years.
13 votes in the final 2012 USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
15 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List (3.5 GPA or higher).
16 Sun Belt Conference victories over its last 17 league games.
16 statistical categories in which A-State ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation after two games.
18 A-State players named to at least one preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
21 receptions recorded by Julian Jones over the last three games.
21 A-State wins over its last 28 regular-season games dating back to 2011.
23 All-Sun Belt Conference selections over the last two years combined.
27 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher).
28 votes in the final 2012 Associated Press Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
30 or more points scored by A-State in 20 of its last 27 games.
38 points needed by Brian Davis to break the Sun Belt record for career points by kicking (295).
53 percent of A-State's scoring drives this season have taken less than two minutes (9 drives).
91 yd rush by Michael Gordon vs UAPB matched the 2nd longest in ASU history.
240.3 rushing yards per game by A-State ranks 25th in the nation.
300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 38 of its last 42 games.
400 or more yards total offense by A-State in three of its first four games.
26.7 million-dollar football facility project in Liberty Bank Stadium's north end zone announced.
HEAD COACH BRYAN HARSIN: Bryan Harsin was named the Red Wolves' 29th head football coach on Dec. 12, 2012. Harsin is a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator. Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State's head coach. Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns.
HIGH MARKS: Arkansas State head football coach Bryan Harsin was ranked as the sixth best hire in the nation among 26 new coaches at the time, according to CBSSports.com. The article written by Dennis Dodd said the following when referring to A-State's 29th head coach: "We're talking a Sun Belt program that has changed its AD (once) and coaches (twice) over the last two years. Somehow the Red Wolves went from national championship game offensive coordinator (Malzahn) to Fiesta Bowl-winning offensive coordinator with a stop in Texas (Bryan Harsin). Not too shabby."
STARTING STRONG: With the Red Wolves victory over UAPB, Bryan Harsin became the Red Wolves first head coach to win his inaugural game at the school since Larry Lacewell in 1979. ASU's previous seven head coaches all suffered setbacks in their first game, including Al Kincaid, Ray Perkins, John Bobo, Joe Hollis, Steve Roberts, Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn.
YOUNGEST FBS HEAD COACHES: At 36 years of age, Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin is the fourth youngest head coach in the nation. Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck is the youngest at 32 years old with a Nov. 29, 1980 date of birth.
Coach Age (DOB)
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan, 32 (11-29-80)
Matt Campbell, Toledo, 33 (11-29-79)
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech, 34 (8-9-79)
Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State, 36 (11-1-76)
Willie Taggart, USF, 37 (8-27-76)
Justin Fuente, Memphis, 37 (7-30-76)
Lane Kiffin, USC, 38 (5-9-75)
Matt Rhule, Temple, 38 (1-31-75)
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern, 38 (12-2-74)
Garrick McGee, UAB, 40 (4-6-73)
Matt Wells, Utah State, 40 (8-10-73)
THE ARKANSAS STATE - MISSOURI SERIES: Arkansas State visits Missouri on Saturday to play the first game of a home-and-home series with the Tigers. The return game is scheduled for Sept. 12, 2015, in Jonesboro. This season's contest will mark the third meeting all-time between the two schools and the first since 2005. While the 2005 game counted as a home contest for A-State, it was actually played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and saw the Tigers come away with a 44-17 victory. ASU also played Missouri, then ranked No. 17 in the nation, in 2004 in Columbia and dropped a 52-20 decision. Arkansas State has played eight schools a combined 43 times while they were members of the SEC, but the 2015 game against Missouri will be just the second time the Red Wolves have ever hosted an SEC team. The only other time A-State played an SEC member at home was in 2001 against Ole Miss. While the Red Wolves tied Mississippi State 15-15 in 1993, they will enter Saturday's game looking for their first win against an SEC team.
A-STATE vs. THE SEC: A-State is facing its second SEC opponent this season after catching Auburn on Sept. 7, giving the Red Wolves two games in the same year against a team from the conference for the first time since 2004 (Ole Miss and LSU). Prior to this season, the last time Arkansas State had played an SEC opponent was 2010. Although A-State has never defeated a team while it was a member of the SEC, it has picked up victories over two current schools prior to them joining the league. A-State defeated Ole Miss 10-0 in 1915 and has also tied the Rebels twice. The Red Wolves defeated Texas A&M 18-14 in 2008 as well while the Aggies were a member of the Big 12 Conference. A-State has played Ole Miss 23 times, more than any other current SEC member.
99th SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off its 99th season of football Aug. 31, 2013, vs. UAPB. A-State now holds a 428-459-37 record since its inaugural 1911 season and has played in nine bowl games. ASU did not field a football team from 1942-44 due to World War II. Arkansas State also didn't have a team in 1918 as World War I was ending.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . .: Make the Red Wolves 3-2 or better after their first five games for the first time since 2011 . . . Give it a victory over a team while it was a member of the SEC for the first time in school history . . . Give the Red Wolves at least two non-conference victories for the third consecutive year . . . Keep its streak without back-to-back losses in the same season since 2010 alive . . . Give the Red Wolves their second victory over a team from a BCS automatic qualify conference (def. Texas A&M, 18-14, in 2008) since joining the FBS in 1992.