TROY, AL (AStateRedwolves.com) - The Arkansas State Red Wolves became bowl eligible for the sixth consecutive season with a 35-3 victory over No. 25 Troy in front a nationally televised audience on ESPNU Thursday evening at Veterans Memoria Stadium.
A-State (6-4, 6-0 Sun Belt) scored 35 unanswered points, including 28 in the second half, to take sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt standings. The victory also gave Arkansas State its second victory over a ranked opponent since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 1992.
Despite being outgained for much of the first half, the Red Wolves finished the night with 388 yards of total offense. Warren Wand rushed for 90 yards on 17 attempts, while Chad Voytik added 61 yards on 14 rushes and a score to lead an A-State rushing attack that accumulated 208 yards on the ground. Johnston White added 37 yards and touchdown, while Daryl Rollins-Davis added 31 ground yards and a score.
"That's about of complete of a game you can play defensively," A-State head coach Blake Anderson. "That unit came up about as big as they could have because no one had really gotten to their quarterback and we were able to get pressure on him and effect what they wanted to do offensively. We couldn't be more proud of the effort and result tonight and we'll enjoy this one for the bus ride home and then turn our attention to Louisiana-Lafayette."
After compiling just 126 yards of total offense in the first half, A-State gained 262 yards and outscored Troy (8-2, 5-1) 21 in the third quarter to build a 28-3 lead by the end of the period.
A-State scored on its first two drives of the quarter, including back-to-back scoring runs by Voytik and White to take a 28-3 lead with 8:59 to go in the period.
The half began with a Troy turnover when Chris Odom forced his second fumble of the night when he sacked Brandon Silvers and punched the ball out that was eventually recovered by Chris Humes in the end zone for the second score of the night for A-State to go up 14-3. The touchdown recovery marked the third touchdown of the by the senior defensive back.
The Red Wolves took a 21-3 advantage on their next offensive possession when it orchestrated a 6-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by a 4-yard run from Voytik. The drive was highlighted by a 39-yard pitch and catch from Hansen to Dijon Paschal on a 3-and-8 to keep the drive alive. White scored the fourth A-State touchdown on a 24-yard scamper to push the lead to 28-3.
The most impressive drive of the night came in the fourth quarter when the Red Wolves went on a 91-yard scoring drive that took 10:53 off the clock and was capped off on a 6-yard run by Rollins-Davis to set the final.
"The most important thing all week we talked was not turning the ball over and that was thing we did the best thing we did tonight," Anderson said. "To be able to run the ball the way did in the second half was really impressive and that 10-minute drive in the fourth quarter that put the nail in the coffin and was something we were most proud of the night."
A-State's offense struggled to get going until midway through the second quarter. The Red Wolves had just 26 yards of total offense before an 11-play, 80-yard drive resulted in the first touchdown of the nigh.
Sanders finished with five catches for 31 yards and a score, while Chris Murray added 51 receiving yards on two receptions.
Defensively, A-State held Troy to 262 yards of total offense, but just 157 yards in the second half including a rushing total of negative yards in the half. Ja'Von Rolland-Jones also tied the Sun Belt Conference record by collecting his 26th career sack.
Arkansas State is now 6-0 in SBC player for the third time in its history and for the second consecutive season. The Red Wolves are also 19-3 in the month of November since the 2011 season and are bowl eligible for the ninth time over the last 12 seasons.
A-State returns to action Saturday, Nov. 26 when it travels to Louisiana-Lafayette to take on the Ragin' Cajuns at 11 a.m. The game will air on the American Sports Network.