GAME 8: Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-4, 1-1) at South Alabama Jaguars (3-4, 1-2)
Nov. 2, 2013 | Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Mobile, Ala. | 6:30 p.m.
Radio: EAB Red Wolves Sports Radio Network (107.9 FM, flagship)
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State begins a two-game road swing Saturday when it travels to Mobile to play South Alabama in the second of six consecutive Sun Belt Conference outings to close out the regular season. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised by ESPN3.com. 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: The Red Wolves and Jaguars are both looking to get back to a .500 record after coming off Sun Belt Conference setbacks last week. A-State dropped a 23-7 home decision to preseason Sun Belt Conference co-favorite Louisiana-Lafayette, while South Alabama lost 33-31 at Texas State as both teams saw their records fall to 3-4 on the year. The Red Wolves are currently in fifth place in the Sun Belt standings with a 1-1 record, and the Jaguars stand sixth with a 1-2 mark.
QUICK GLANCE: Statistically, Arkansas State and South Alabama match up very evenly with no more than a 28-yard average separating them in total offense and total defense. The Jaguars are averaging almost four more points per game, but the Red Wolves have a lower scoring defense at 28.9 to 29.1.
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 Allen Muse to tie the 9th most (9) in school history.
1 rushing touchdown needed by David Oku to tie the seventh most (22) in school history.
3 ASU was picked to finish 3rd in the preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll with 45 pts. and 2 first-place votes.
3 A-State players (Davis, Hayes, McKissic) ranked 1st in the Sun Belt in at least 1 statistical category.
4 scoring drives put together by A-State on its first possession this season.
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.
5 points needed by Brian Davis to break the school record for points by kicking in a career (288).
6 consecutive wins in the month of November dating back to the 2011 season.
7 turnovers lost by A-State is tied for the sixth fewest in the nation.
7 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, the most in the league.
8 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium.
8 game Sun Belt Conference road winning streak held by A-State.
9 players (Albright, Campbell, Carrethers, Haunga, Kennedy, McCants, Muse, Oliver, Williams) already with their degree.
9 passes defended by Rocky Hayes ties the most by an ASU player for all of last season.
9.6 tackles per game by Qushaun Lee puts him on pace to break 100 for the second consecutive season.
10 win seasons in 2011 & 2012, making ASU the first team in SBC history w/ back-to-back 10-win campaigns.
10 A-State players named to Phil Steele's midseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team.
10 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards over the last 11 years.
11 consecutive field goals made by Brian Davis for the second longest streak in school history.
12 consecutive victories by A-State when scoring at least 30 points.
12 points needed by Brian Davis to break the Sun Belt record for points by kicking in a career (295).
13 votes in the final 2012 USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
13 A-State players named to at least one preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
13 statistical categories in which A-State ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation after six games.
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 18 league games.
16 players on the A-State roster from the state of Alabama, the most outside of Arkansas.
17 receptions by Darion Griswold are the most by an A-State tight end since Trevor Gillott (24) in 2009.
22 A-State wins over its last 31 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.
28.4 yards per kickoff return by ASU is ranked 4th in the nation, and 18.5 ypr KO coverage is ranked 19th.
30 or more points scored by A-State in 21 of its last 30 games.
35 of J.D. McKissic's 41 receptions have come over the last five games (7.0 per game).
42 receiving yards needed by Julian Jones to break 1,000 for his career.
47.2 third-down conversion percentage by A-State is ranked 31st in the nation.
54 tackles by Ryan Carrethers are the most in the nation by a defensive lineman.
67 percent completions by Adam Kennedy is ranked 16th in the nation.
300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 40 of its last 45 games.
300+ passing yards by Adam Kennedy, including a career-high 375 vs Idaho, in two of last three games.
400 or more yards total offense by A-State in five of its first seven games.
436.6 yards of total offense per game ranks as the 49th highest average in the nation.
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)
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 - SOUTH ALABAMA SERIES: Arkansas State and South Alabama are meeting for the first time in Mobile and just the second time ever. The Red Wolves hold a 1-0 record against the Jaguars after pulling out a 36-29 victory last season at Liberty Bank Stadium.
ALABAMA RED WOLVES: Arkansas State has 16 players on its roster from the state of Alabama, the most among any state outside of Arkansas. The next closest is Texas with 13 players from the Lone Star state. Players on A-State's roster from the state of Alabama includes Irving Adams (Florence), LaAngelo Albright (Prattville), Dexter Blackmon (Selma), Amos Draper (Tanner), Jamaris Hart (Florence), Rocky Hayes (Heflin), Chris Humes (Hoover), Carl Lee Jr. (Mobile), Qushaun Lee (Prattville), Carlos McCants (Mobile), J.D. McKissic (Phenix City), Dijon Paschal (Tallassee), Steven Stevens (Bay Minette), Chris Stone (Daleville), Xavier Woodson (Eufaula) and Sterling Young (Hoover).
FAMILIAR TURF: While Arkansas State has never played South Alabama in Mobile, it will be on familiar turf when it faces the Jaguars. The Red Wolves have played in each of the last two GoDaddy Bowl games at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, South Alabama's home stadium. A-State claimed a 17-13 win over then-ranked No. 25 Kent State in last year's bowl game, one year after suffering a 38-20 setback to Northern Illinois.
A-STATE vs. THE SUN BELT: Although A-State had an eight-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak snapped last time out, it has won 16 of its last 18 league games to run its all-time record in the conference to 50-38. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Monroe with 21. With the exception of Texas State and Georgia State, which are in their first season as a member of the league, the Red Wolves have defeated every team in the SBC since the football league was formed in 2001. Along with Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette, A-State is one of three teams that have been a part of the conference since 2001.