ATLANTA (astateredwolves.com) – Total domination was put forth by the Arkansas State University football team this Saturday (Oct. 11) afternoon as the Red Wolves were unstoppable offensively and stellar defensively in handing Georgia State a one-sided 52-10 setback in Sun Belt Conference (SBC) play at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
The victory extended A-State's present winning streak to three straight as the Red Wolves not only improved their season record to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the conference, but won a league outing for the 22nd time in their last 25 such encounters. The win also gives A-State its 11 conference road triumph in the last 12 contests. Georgia State falls to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in league action with the loss.
“We have not played a complete game until now and had too many mistakes to be consistent,” A-State head football coach Blake Anderson said. “The guys were extremely nervous about Georgia State's offense and the defense stepped up early and played well, and the offense got the ball when they needed to. They set the tone for the game. I can say this was definitely the most complete game that we played and we eliminated a lot mistakes. There is still some things that we need to work on, but all in all, I am really proud of the way the guys played, and really hammered down to have a great second half as well.”
A-State executed well on both sides as the offense totaled 618 yards while the Red Wolves' defense limited Georgia State to a 269-yard output. Individually, junior running back Michael Gordon rushed for a career-high 188 yards with two TD's and averaged an impressive 10.4 yards per attempt. Junior quarterback Fredi Knighten also was productive, throwing for 215 yards and running for another 93 yards. On the other side of the line, A-State held Georgia State to 71 yards on the ground, forced two turnovers , and constantly pressured the Panthers' two signal-callers.
A-State bolted out to a decisive 24-0 first-quarter advantage in the ESPN2 televised contest as the Red Wolves' offense amassed 244 total yards while holding the Panthers' to only 19 yards. A seven-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Fredi Knighten to redshirt junior tight end Darion Griswold gave the Red Wolves a 7-0 lead at 8:32 of the opening quarter. A nifty 41-yard catch by freshman wide receiver Dijon Paschal of a Knighten aerial was the key play in the 85-yard A-State scoring drive, moving the ball from the A-State 46-yard line down to the GSU 13-yard mark. The Red Wolves would then go up 13-0 just under six minutes on junior kicker Luke Ferguson's 26-yard field goal after A-State gained ball possession at the GSU 22-yard line on a fumble recovery by freshman defensive end Caleb Caston following a force by redshirt senior middle linebacker Qushaun Lee.
The Red Wolves increased their margin to 17-0 on the next offensive possession as junior running back Michael Gordon took a Fredi Knighten handoff and broke up the middle through the Georgia State defense untouched for a 50-yard score with 3:20 left on the clock. A-State kept its scoring streak alive with its third touchdown of the game as redshirt senior tight end Kenny Rains caught his first collegiate TD pass on a two-yard Fredi Knighten toss on the final play of the quarter as the Red Wolves upped their lead to 24-0. A 16-yard run by Fredi Knighten on the series' first play followed by a 48-yard strike from Knighten to Dijon Paschal put A-State in prime scoring position at the Panthers' five-yard line.
Georgia State averted going scoreless in the opening half by putting a three on the scoreboard as Wil Lutz booted a 26-yard field goal at 2:22 of the second quarter. The Panthers capitalized on a Fredi Knighten fumble and appeared on the verge of scoring a TD by moving the ball down to the visitor's six-yard line, but the Red Wolves' defense came up big by sacking GSU quarterback Nick Arbuckle for a four-yard loss and forcing the Panthers into a field goal. A-State, which netted 335 total offensive yards in the first half of which 214 occurred on the ground, bumped its lead to 28 points (31-3) with 35 seconds to go before halftime as freshman running back Johnston White tallied on a 13-yard TD dash after a exploded for a 53-yard run.
A-State picked right up where it left off early in the second half as Fredi Knighten scored from 51 yards out on the keeper, breaking a tackle near the GSU five to get into the end zone at 12:40 of the third quarter as the Red Wolves extended their advantage to 38-3. Eight minutes later, Michael Gordon scored his second TD of the game with an 11-yard run to cap a 93-yard scoring drive as A-State's lead bulged to 45-3. In the fourth quarter, the Red Wolves hit paydirt again to take a 52-3 advantage with under 10 minutes remaining as Fredi Knighten completed a two-yard TD pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Warren Leapheart. Georgia State scored its lone touchdown with 3:49 left in the game on running back Gerald Howse's two-yard scamper.
Leading the defensive charge for A-State were four players with seven tackles apiece – Qushaun Lee (six solos), junior outside linebacker Austin Copeland (six solos), sophomore outside linebacker Xavier Woodson (four solos), and redshirt senior cornerback Andrew Tryon (four solos).
The Red Wolves are back in action on the road in Sun Belt Conference action Tuesday, Oct. 21, against the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in Lafayette, La. Kickoff for the ESPN2 televised game at ULL's Cajun Field is slated for 7 p.m. (CT).