Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – Justice Hansen accounted for 396 yards of total offense and three touchdowns to lead the Arkansas State football team to a 47-3 victory over the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Thursday night before a nationally-televised game on ESPNU.
A-State improves to 4-2, tying the best record in program history through six games as an FBS member, and 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. The win marks the seventh-straight home win and also ensures the 13th-straight season with a winning record at Centennial Bank Stadium. The Ragin’ Cajuns fall to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in league play.
Hansen became just the fifth quarterback in Sun Belt Conference history to pass for 275 or more yards (275) while rushing for 100 or more yards (121). Hansen was 23-of-37 passing for 275 yards hitting nine different receivers on the night.
Blake Mack led the receiving core with five receptions for 65 yards while White had five catches for 41 yards. Justin McInnis caught four passes, two of which went for touchdowns, covering 61 yards. On the ground, Hansen had 13 rushes for 121 yards and a touchdown while White had 13 carries for 73 yards. A-State out-gained the Ragin’ Cajuns 571-270, including a 262-91 advantage in the run game.
Defensively, A-State was led by B.J. Edmonds who logged 13 tackles on the night. The Red Wolves had 12 tackles for loss, including five sacks. Ja’Von Rolland Jones was credited with 2.5 sacks giving him 38.0 sacks on his career, tied for the fourth-most in NCAA FBS history.
“I thought we had a great week of work in terms of how we prepare guys physically and our approach to rest, recovery, and you name it and it really shows during a short week,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “You look at our last three Thursday night games they are probably the best three games we have played since we have been here and the kids believed in it. I thought both sides of the staff put good game plans together with the matchup issues we created. We really protected the ball tonight and the pass rush was just ridiculous and made them uncomfortable and we hit people on both sides. Our motto all week was leave no doubt and I thought we did that very thing.”
A defensive score got the Red Wolves off to a quick start. Ja’Von Rolland-Jones sacked the Ragin’ Cajuns quarterback and caused a fumble that was scooped up by Caleb Caston and returned 24 yards for the touchdown. The sack was one of four for the Red Wolves and eight tackles for loss as the A-State defense limited the visitors to 157 total yards in the first half.
A-State scored on the first possession to take a 14-0 lead as Hansen caught a pass to set up the drive. On the second offensive play, Hansen caught a pass from Mason for a gain of 34 yards putting the Red Wolves inside the five-yard line. White finished the drive with a one yard touchdown to make it 14-0 seven minutes into the contest.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got on the board with a 51-yard field goal, but A-State used a 44-yard pass and catch from Hansen to Justin McInnis to gain a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. Hansen increase the Red Wolves lead to 27-3 with a 20-yard rushing touchdown and found McInnis on a fake spike play with three seconds left in the first half to make it 34-3 at the break.
Sawyer Williams converted two field goals in the second half, from 24 and 28 yards respectively, to increase the A-State lead to 40-3. Chauncey Mason capped the scoring with a 10-yard rushing touchdown with seven minutes to play setting the final score at 47-3. The 44-point margin of victory is the largest in the series that dates back to 1953.
A-State returns to action Saturday, October 29, at New Mexico State in a contest that will air on ESPN3 with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. (CT).