A-State football drops Sun Belt opener at Old Dominion

Red Wolves lose their Sun Belt opener
Red Wolves lose their Sun Belt opener(WVEC-TV)
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2022 at 7:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORFOLK, Va. (KAIT) - A last-minute drive fell short for the Arkansas State football team, which dropped a 29-26 decision at Old Dominion Saturday night at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

A-State (1-3, 0-1 SBC) held a 12-0 halftime lead, but the Monarchs (2-2, 1-0) outscored the Scarlet and Black 29-14 in the second half to earn the win in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both squads. The Red Wolves out-gained ODU 397-330 while owning a 22-12 advantage in first downs.

James Blackman completed 23-of-35 passes for 285 yards and a score to Jeff Foreman, who hauled in four catches for 115 yards. Seydou Traore grabbed seven catches for 81 yards to lead the Red Wolves in receptions.

On the ground, A-State rushed for 112 yards with scores by AJ Mayer and Brian Snead, who rushed for 46 and 41 yards, respectively.

Defensively, Jordan Carmouche led with 10 tackles – his second straight outing with 10-plus stops.

ODU’s Hayden Wolff connected on 19 of his 32 passes for 279 and two touchdowns. Ali Jennings racked up 140 yards on four grabs and a score while Zack Kuntz caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Both sides held strong defensively in the first quarter, with neither team putting points on the board. Old Dominion attempted a 48-yard field goal with just over 5 minutes left in the period, but the try sailed right.

A-State struck first with 10 minutes remaining in the half, when a holding call against ODU in the end zone resulted in a safety. The Red Wolves then took the ball on offense after the free kick and drove 58 yards in three plays, with Snead’s 4-yard rushing score making it 9-0. Dominic Zvada then drilled a 44-yard field goal with 37 seconds left, improving to 6-for-6 on the year, to give the Scarlet and Black a 12-0 halftime lead.

The Monarchs took possession to start the second half and scored quickly in six plays to make it 12-7. A 32-yard pass from Wolff to Jennings put ODU on the doorstep at the A-State 1 before Keshawn Wicks pushed across the line for the rushing touchdown.

A-State answered on the next drive when Blackman found Foreman for a 49-yard strike to make it 19-7. Two plays later, Wolff linked up with a wide-open Jennings for a 77-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 19-14. Later in the third, ODU took a two-point lead when Deeve Harris intercepted a Blackman pass and returned it 16 yards into the end zone, giving the hosts a 21-19 lead after three.

The Red Wolves reclaimed the lead when Mayer scampered 23 yards to make it 26-21 with 12:10 remaining. Old Dominion later recovered a fumble in A-State territory and turned it into points when Wolff connected with Kuntz for a 7-yard pass. Obie Sanni’s 2-point conversion rush gave the Monarchs a 29-26 lead with 6:27 to go.

A turnover on downs returned possession back to Old Dominion with 2:15 left, but A-State’s defense forced a 3-and-out with 1:09 to go. The Red Wolves took over on their own 2 and reached the 33, but the late drive fell short.

Arkansas State returns home for the first of back-to-back home contests, hosting ULM for homecoming Saturday, Oct. 1. Kick-off at Centennial Bank Stadium is set for 6 p.m.