JONESBORO, AR (ASU) — The Arkansas State football team piled up 328 rushing yards and sophomore running back Michael Gordon scored three touchdowns in a 38-21 victory over Texas State Saturday at Liberty Bank Stadium, giving A-State its sixth victory of the year to make them bowl eligible for sixth time over the last nine seasons.
A-State claimed its third straight win of the year, improving to 6-4 overall and 4-1 in Sun Belt Conference play as they maintained its hold on sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt Conference standings. Texas State dropped to 6-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
Gordon rushed for a career-high 184 yards and had three rushing touchdowns for the Red Wolves, which has now won 19 of its last 21 conference games. Junior linebacker Qushaun Lee had a team-high 12 tackles, while senior defensive end Darius Dunaway and junior defensive back Artez Brown combined for a sack to lead the way for the A-State defense.
"I'm really proud of the way our team played again tonight," A-State head coach Bryan Harsin said. "Second half, defensively, they came out there and didn't score any points, so great adjustments by the defense and the same goes for the offensive side. We always want to start off fast in both areas, but we have made good adjustments each game so we can go out there and finish these games off. We wanted to run the football tonight, that was a goal for us and we were able to do that."
The Red Wolves fell behind 14-7 after the first quarter, but Gordon scored his second touchdown of the night to tie the score at 14-14 with 12:44 to go in the first half. The Bobcats took the lead back on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Jones to Ryan Carden with 5:35 to go in the quarter to take a 21-14 lead.
The advantage would not last long as A-State responded with a 10-play, 71-yard drive before the half that was culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Adam Kennedy to J.D. McKissic to tie the score with just over a minute left to go in the first half.
Gordon finished the first half with 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 carries, while the Red Wolves racked up 273 of total offense during the first 30 minutes of play.
A-State took the lead for good in the with 7:57 to go in the third quarter when Gordon crossed the goal line for his third score of the night to put the Red Wolves up 28-21. The lead expanded to 35-21 when David Oku punched it in from 1-yard out with 27 seconds to go in the third quarter.
The Red Wolves took advantage of a Texas State miscue in the fourth quarter when Texas State punter Zach Robinson was ruled to have had taken a knee while fielding the punt and A-State took over at the Bobcats' 10 yard line. Brian Davis connected on a 23-yard field goal with 12:14 to go in the game to set the final at 38-21.
Davis also became the Sun Belt Conference all-time leader in career points when he added the extra-point on Gordon's first touchdown of the night in the first quarter. He now has 303 career points.
Gordon scored on his first touchdown of the night when he broke a 40-yard run to tie the score at 7-7. He finished the night with 184 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while Kennedy rushed for 78 yards and Oku added 55 yards.
McKissic hauled in seven receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown and also had a long punt return of 43 yards on the night.