ASU hosts Georgia State Saturday in home finale

GAME 11:  Arkansas State Red Wolves (6-4, 4-1) host Georgia State Panthers (0-10, 0-5)

Nov. 23, 2013 | Liberty Bank Stadium

Jonesboro, Ark. | 2:00 p.m.

Radio:  EAB Red Wolves Sports Radio Network (107.9 FM, flagship)

Television:  ESPN3

Live Stats:  AStateRedWolves.com, TapStats

ON TAP: Arkansas State is set to hold its annual Senior Day on Saturday when it hosts Sun Belt Conference newcomer Georgia State in its 2013 home finale at Liberty Bank Stadium.  The game, which is the fifth of six consecutive league contests to close out the regular season for the Red Wolves, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast 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:  Winners of its last three games, Arkansas State became bowl eligible for the third straight season and the sixth time over the last nine years with its victory over Texas State last week.  The Red Wolves are 4-1 in Sun Belt Conference play and remain in sole possession of second place in the league standings with two regular-season games remaining on their schedule.  A-State is 15-2 over its last 17 games at Liberty Bank Stadium and will bring a 4-1 home record this season into Saturday's contest, while Georgia State is looking for its first win of the season.

BY THE NUMBERS . . .

1 of just 24 FBS programs to win at least 26 games over the last three years.

1 receiving TD needed by both Allen Muse and J.D. McKissic to tie the 9th most (9) in school history.

1.2 passes defended per game by Rocky Hayes ranks 31st in the nation.

3 A-State players (Davis, Hayes, McKissic) ranked 1st in the Sun Belt in at least 1 statistical category.

3 ASU was picked to finish 3rd in the preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll with 45 pts. and 2 first-place votes.

4 out of the last five games Qushaun Lee has posted double-figure tackles (12.6 tpg over that span).

4 games with over 300 yards total offense by Adam Kennedy.

4 consecutive seasons with a victory over the top team in the Sun Belt Preseason Coaches Poll, including 2013.

4 straight weeks an A-State player has been named one of the Sun Belt Conference's players of the week.

5 players named to one of college football's major award watch lists.

6 of the last nine seasons have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility, including 2013.

7 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, the most in the league.

8 straight victories in games decided by 7 points or less, the second longest active streak in the nation.

9 consecutive wins in the month of November dating back to the 2011 season.

9 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium, including 2013.

9 players (Albright, Campbell, Carrethers, Haunga, Kennedy, McCants, Muse, Oliver, Williams) already with their degree.

10 turnovers lost by A-State is tied for the sixth fewest in the nation.

10 game Sun Belt Conference road winning streak held by A-State.

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.

10.2 tackles per game by Qushaun Lee is ranked as the 16th highest average in the nation.

12 passes defended by Rocky Hayes is three more than the most by an ASU player for all of last season.

13 consecutive field goals made by Brian Davis for the second longest streak in school history.

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.

14 consecutive victories by A-State when scoring at least 30 points, including the last two games.

15 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List (3.5 GPA or higher).

15 statistical categories in which A-State ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation.

19 Sun Belt Conference victories over its last 21 league games.

19. 6 points allowed per game over A-State's last five contests, 11.4 less than its first five games.

22 receptions by Darion Griswold are the most by an A-State tight end since Trevor Gillott (24) in 2009.

23 All-Sun Belt Conference selections over the last two years combined.

25 A-State wins over its last 34 regular-season games dating back to 2011.

26.2 yards per kickoff return by ASU is ranked 5th in the nation, and 18.9 ypr KO coverage is ranked 26th.

26 victories over the last three seasons ranks tied for the 20th most in the nation.

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 23 of its last 33 games (69 percent).

46.1 third-down conversion percentage by A-State is ranked 27th in the nation.

69.0 completion percentage by Adam Kennedy is ranked 7th in the nation.

73 tackles by Ryan Carrethers are the second most in the nation by a defensive lineman.

102 tackles by Qushaun Lee this year makes him the first ASU player since 2002-03 with 100 stops in consecutive seasons.

164 career receptions by J.D. McKissic, the most ever by an Arkansas State player.

300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 43 of its last 48 games.

400 or more yards total offense by A-State in seven of its first 10 games.

432.3 yards total offense per game is the third highest in school history for a single season.

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."

OUT OF THE GATE:  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 37 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, 37 (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)

FAST START:  Out of 29 all-time head coaches at Arkansas State, Bryan Harsin has become one of just six to win at least six games in their first season at the school.  The other head coaches to win at least six games in their first season as a head coach at A-State are Gus Malzahn (2012), Hugh Freeze (2011), Steve Roberts (2002), Gene Harlow (1955) and Jack Dale (1931).

THE ARKANSAS STATE - GEORGIA STATE SERIES:  Saturday's game will mark the first ever meeting between Arkansas State and Georgia State.

A-STATE vs. THE SUN BELT:  Arkansas State has won 19 of its last 21 league games to run its all-time record in the conference to 53-38. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Monroe with 21. With the exception of Georgia State, which is in its 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.

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 LaAngelo Albright, Phillip Butterfield, Jake Campbell, Ryan Carrethers, Brian Davis, Amos Draper, Darius Dunaway, R.J. Fleming, John Gandy, Steven Haunga, Julian Jones, Adam Kennedy, Carlos McCants, Cliff Mitchell, Allen Muse, David Oku, Cade Oliver, Eddie Porter, Dexter Samuel, Sirgregory Thornton and Aaron Williams.

GEORGIA RED WOLVES:  Arkansas State has five players on its roster from the state of Georgia, including deep snapper Ryan Eustace, center Bryce Giddens, wide receiver Tres Houston, defensive back Ryan Jacobs and linebacker Troy Wyche.