JONESBORO, Ark. (9/2/16) – The Arkansas State football team dropped its season opener versus Toledo 31-10 on Friday night in front of 26,182 fans at Centennial Bank Stadium.
“It was a rough night and not how we wanted to start,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “We didn’t respond well and a really good football team beat us. We have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time to get ready for a really good opponent next week. We’ve got to get some things ironed out.”
Toledo converted seven third down conversions in the second quarter to spark three touchdown scores and a 21-3 halftime advantage. The Rockets were 12-of-17 on third downs while holding A-State to 3-of-16 behind the chains. Toledo finished with 556 total yards, including 371 yards through the air, while A-State managed 266 yards on 63 plays.
A-State senior quarterback Chad Voytik finished his Red Wolves’ debut 11-of-24 passing for 124 yards while carrying the ball 18 times for 38 yards, including a run of 20 yards. Sophomore running back Warren Wand led A-State in rushing with 12 carries for 77 yards, his eighth-straight outing with 50 or more yards rushing. Junior tight end Blake Mack led A-State with 87 yards receiving, a career-long 83 of which came on a fourth-quarter scoring drive.
Senior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster posted a career-high 14 tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Justin Clifton and Quanterio Heath also recorded double-digit stops with 11 tackles each. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside was 23-of-31 passing for three touchdowns and 371 yards while wide-out Cody Thompson had five receptions for 174 yards and a score.
A-State opened up the scoring with a career-long 43-yard field goal by J.D. Houston near the end of the first quarter. The drive was set up by a fumble forced by Chris Humes, which he also recovered at A-State’s 42-yard line. The turnover forced was the 24th time in 27 games under defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen that the Red Wolves have caused a giveaway.
However, the second period belonged to Toledo as the Rockets scored three minutes into the frame with a five-yard touchdown pass by Logan Woodside to Michael Roberts. The scoring play gave the visitors a 7-3 edge and capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive. Kareem Hunt added a one-yard rushing touchdown after an A-State three-and-out to put the Rockets up 14-3, while Woodside tossed his second scoring pass of the quarter after another Red Wolves’ three-and-out, this one a 16-yard strike to Cody Thompson to set the halftime score at 21-3.
Toledo added to their advantage with a 42-yard field goal by Jameson Vest to make the score 24-3 after the Red Wolves went three-and-out on offense to begin the half. Arkansas State drove to near midfield in its second possession of the third quarter after four straight runs by Armond Weh-Weh, the first two picking up 12 and 10 yards respectively.
However, the drive stalled for the Red Wolves when Chad Voytik was sacked. Punter Damon Foncham pinned the Rockets inside their 20-yard line, but the visitors only needed five plays to cover 86 yards to earn a 31-3 lead with Woodside’s third touchdown toss of the game.
A-State scored its first touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter when Armond Weh-Weh plunged into the end zone from two yards out for his first career score. The team drove 94 yards in six plays with an 83-yard toss to Blake Mack, the longest of his career, representing the biggest play of the drive.
The Red Wolves return to the gridiron on Saturday, Sept. 10, for a 6:30 p.m. matchup at Auburn on SEC Network.