JONESBORO, Ark. (3/18/16) – Unfavorable weather conditions Friday evening prompted the Arkansas State football team to move its first spring scrimmage indoors to the Student Activity Center, where the Red Wolves ran approximately 95 full-contact plays while also working on special teams.
A-State suited up in full pads for the first time since opening its spring camp March 9 to conduct its fifth-and-final practice before Arkansas State University’s spring break week. The Red Wolves will report back to camp Sunday, March 27, and resume their practice schedule the following Wednesday.
The scrimmage featured one rushing and two passing scores by the offense and a pick-six by the Red Wolves’ defense, which led the nation last season in both interceptions and defensive touchdowns. A-State also broke the Sun Belt Conference records for touchdowns scored and most points in a season during its 2015 campaign.
In addition to its three touchdowns, the offense recorded 10 explosive plays that covered at least 20 yards. Senior safety Bo Sentimore ended the scrimmage with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown, while the defense also forced and recovered a fumble, came up with some big tackles for loss and were in position to make several sacks before the play was whistled dead.
“It will be hard to tell what all the little details are that we need to fix until we watch film, but I thought there were some big plays and big hits on both sides of the ball,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “I thought the tempo and the effort level both seemed to be really high. A lot of times guys are already mentally checked out on spring break, but I didn’t think we had that today. We came ready to practice. I really thought it was competitive on both sides and all-in-all, we had a good day.”
The Red Wolves’ offense was held in check, for the most part, until the scrimmages 19th play, when junior running back Johnston White sprinted down the left sideline for an 85-yard rushing touchdown. Seven plays later junior quarterback Cameron Birse found junior receiver Chris Murray open for a touchdown pass that covered approximately 80 yards.
Nearly midway through the scrimmage, Murray came up with a second touchdown grab, this time from sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen, which covered 30 yards. All four quarterbacks who saw action, including James Tabary and D.J. Pearson, came up with a completion that went for at least 25 yards.
Senior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster turned a big play for the offense into a big play for the defense, hustling to track down junior receiver Cameron Echols-Luper and knock the ball loose after a 40-yard gain. Junior cornerback Jamaris Hart was there to scoop up the loose ball and give the defense their first turnover of the day.
Season tickets for the Red Wolves’ 2016 football campaign, which includes six home games, are now available for purchase. The renewal period for current season ticket holders is also underway with a deadline of April 1. Arkansas State has strung together 11 consecutive years with a winning home record dating back to 2005 and has won 26 of its last 30 games at Centennial Bank Stadium.