ASU at Western Kentucky in-depth
Arkansas State opens Sun Belt Conference play at 3 p.m. Saturday against Western Kentucky in Bowling Green. The Sun Belt Network will televise the game. Every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area, 88.3 FM in Little Rock and at AStateRedWolves.com.
ASU coach Hugh Freeze
A-State completed its non-conference schedule with its best record since 2008 and begins its league slate with back-to-back road games at Western Kentucky and ULM. The Hilltoppers, also playing their league opener, come off an open week and face the Red Wolves in their third consecutive game at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
2011 ASU SCHEDULE/RESULTS
Sept. 3 at Illinois (TV) L, 15-33
SEPT. 10 MEMPHIS (TV) W, 47-3
Sept. 17 at No. 13 Virginia Tech (TV) L, 7-26
SEPT. 24 CENTRAL ARKANSAS (TV) W, 53-24
Oct. 1 at Western Kentucky* (TV) 3 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Louisiana-Monroe* 6 p.m.
OCT. 18 FIU* (TV) 7 p.m.
OCT. 29 NORTH TEXAS*^ 6 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Florida Atlantic* TBA
NOV. 12 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE* 2 p.m.
Nov. 19 at Middle Tennessee* (TV) TBA
DEC. 3 TROY* 2 p.m.
*SBC game ^Homecoming All Times Central
THE ASU vs. WKU SERIES: Arkansas State is 2-2-1 all-time vs. Western Kentucky and 1-0-1 when facing the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green. The Red Wolves pulled out a 24-20 comeback victory over the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green in 2010, the first meeting between the two teams in 57 years, but dropped a 36-35 overtime decision to the Hilltoppers last year at ASU Stadium. ASU and WKU first met during the 1947 season when they played to a 14-14 tie. The very next year, ASU picked up a 13-12 victory. WKU evened the series with a 34-19 victory in the 1952 Refrigerator Bowl played in Evansville, Ind. During the Refrigerator Bowl, the Hilltoppers overcame an opening 73-yard drive on ASU's first possession to improve their record to 9-1. They scored 34 unanswered points before a pair of fourth quarter ASU touchdowns made it more respectable. ASU had to play without All-America running back Richie Woit, sidelined with a broken ankle, during the game
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD ... Give the Red Wolves their best record through five games since 2008 when they were 3-2 . . . snap a five-game road losing streak and a two-game Sun Belt Conference skid . . . give the Red Wolves back-to-back victories for the first me since knocking off Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee on Oct. 23 and Nov. 2 of last season . . . give the Red Wolves a win in their first Sun Belt Conference game of the season since 2008 and improve their all- me record in SBC openers to 7-4 . . . improve its record against WKU to 3-2-1.
JONESBORO (11/13/10) - ASU overcame a 14-point fourth
quarter deficit to take a 28-21 lead late into its game at ASU
Stadium against Western Kentucky, but the Hilltoppers
scored a touchdown as time expired in regulation and later
secured a 36-35 victory on a two-point conversion at the
end of the first over me session.
ASU scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter
to take a 28-21 lead with 1:49 le in regulation play. Sophomore
quarterback Ryan Aplin led the Red Wolves rally,
throwing two of his three touchdown passes and recording
one of his two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
A-State got a fourth-down stop on WKU's next possession
to give it the ball at the WKU 46-yard line with 1:10 remaining.
However, WKU forced a three-and-out for ASU, and a snap
that never made it to the punter on fourth down gave the
Hilltoppers the ball at the A-State 22-yard line with 22 seconds
left in the game.
It took WKU eight plays to find the end zone and force
the overtime period.
Aplin recorded a 25-yard touchdown run up the middle
of WKU's defense on the first play of over me to give the
Red Wolves a 35-28 lead.
However, WKU capped a five-play scoring drive on its first
over me possession with a three-yard touchdown run by
Bobby Rainey, and then Derrius Brooks ran a reverse and
found the end zone on the following two-point conversion.
WKU finished with 60 fewer yards of total offense, but
forced five ASU turnovers that led to two touchdowns. The
Hilltoppers were led offensively by Rainey, who finished
with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 37 attempts.
2011 ASU BY THE NUMBERS
0 punts by ASU last game versus Central Arkansas.
1 touchdown reception needed by Dwayne Frampton to tie the 10th most in school history.
3 ASU players have already earned their degree -- Tom Castilaw, Demario Davis and Derek Lawson.
3 ASU players ranked among top 10 in the SBC in receiving yards per game -- Frampton, Jarboe, Stockemer.
4 ASU players are on a major award watch list, including the Biletnikoff, Lombardi and Rimington.
4 offensive linemen on the current ASU roster that transferred to ASU as part of its 2011 signing class.
5 statistical categories in which Ryan Aplin already ranks among the top 10 players in school history.
5 teams, including A-State, that have posted over 600 yards of offense in two games this season.
5 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections -- the most since 2009.
6 home games are on ASU's 2011 schedule -- the most since 2007.
6 receptions needed by Dwayne Frampton to become the sixth player in ASU history to record 100.
6.2 receptions per game by Dwayne Frampton, the highest average in the Sun Belt.
8 of ASU's last 9 games, dating back to last season, have seen DE Brandon Joiner record at least a par al sack.
9 offensive school records broken by the ASU offense last season under then OC Hugh Freeze.
9 ASU's national rank in tackles for loss -- 8.3 per game.
15 out of the last 16 games A-State has recorded at least 300 yards of total offense.
16 players were named All-Sun Belt Conference by at least one preseason publication.
18 A-State's national rank in sacks with 3.0 per game.
20 statistical categories ASU ranks among the top 3 teams in the SBC, including total offense and defense.
26 seniors are on the ASU roster, including 12 redshirt seniors.
26 Ryan Aplin's national rank in total offense per game (281.5 ypg)
31 kickoff return yards needed by Rod Hall to become the ninth player in school history to post 1,000 yards.
35 current ASU players named to the latest SBC Commissioner's List or Academic Honor Roll.
56 yard FG by Bobby Zalud vs. Memphis -- ties longest in the nation this year and ties longest in SBC history.
57 redshirt players on the current ASU roster.
74 receiving yards need by Taylor Stockemer to take over 10th place for career yards.
97 A-State football kicked off its 97th season in 2011.
162 receiving yards by Josh Jarboe vs. Memphis -- the most by an ASU player since 1999.
282 passing yards needed by Ryan Aplin to become the 4th player in school history with 5,000 career yards.
375 rushing yards by A-State last game were its most since recording 441 against Texas Southern in 2008.
452 rushing yards needed by Derek Lawson to become the 12th player in school history to record 2,000.
646 yards of offense vs. UCA -- 4th most in school history and 13th most in the nation this season.
UNBUCKLE THE BELT: ASU is 6-4 all-time in Sun Belt Conference openers. The Red Wolves have dropped their last two Sun Belt Conference openers, falling 30-27 to Troy in 2009 and 31-24 against Louisiana-Lafayette last season. ASU's last win in its first conference game came 31-14 over Middle Tennessee in 2008. ASU will play Western Kentucky in its SBC opener for the first me ever.
DAVIS HONORED: After breaking the ASU and Sun Belt Conference records for both field goals made in a game (6) and points scored by kick (23) during the Red Wolves' game against Central Arkansas, sophomore kicker Brian Davis received numerous honors. Davis, who was only one field goal and one point shy tying NCAA records, was named a Lou Groza Star of the Week, the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards' National Placekicker of the Week. Davis was a perfect 6-of-6 on his field goal a empts and 5-of-5 on his extra point a empts. He has now made 8-of-10 field goals on the season and is 12-of-12 on extra points.
WHAT GIVES?: The Arkansas State defense has not surrendered 100 yards rushing to an individual player this season, while WKU's Bobby Rainey will enter the game with eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games dating back to last season. Among the running backs ASU has faced this season is Virginia Tech's David Wilson (ranked No. 7 in the nation in rushing with three 100-yard rushing games) and Illinois' Troy Pollard (two 100-yard rushing games this year).
TWICE AS NICE: The Red Wolves are one of just five teams in the nation to record at least 600 yards of total offense in two or more games this season, joining Georgia Tech, Houston, Oregon and Wisconsin. A-State piled up 646 yards of total offense, the fourth most in school history, last game against UCA. ASU also posted 611 yards of total offense, the eighth most in school history, against Memphis.
RUSHING POWER: ASU piled up 375 rushing yards against UCA, its most since recording 441 against Texas Southern in 2008. ASU also posted 236 yards rushing against Memphis, but was limited to 60 yards against Illinois and 64 against Virginia Tech.
TOP 50: Arkansas State is ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in nine statistical categories, including total offense (20) and total defense (50). ASU also ranks in the top 50 in tackles for loss (9), sacks (18), net punting (28), pass offense (29), rushing offense (40), scoring defense (43) and pass efficiency (49).
BIG GAINS: Arkansas State has now completed at least one pass of over 40 yards in each of its first four games. Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin completed passes of 71 yards vs. Memphis, 65 vs. Illinois, 51 vs. Virginia Tech and 43 (twice) vs. UCA. The combined five completions have been to three different receivers, including Josh Jarboe, Dwayne Frampton (2) and Taylor Stockemer (2). The Red Wolves are averaging 5.3 plays per game where it gains at least 20 yards. They recorded a season-high eight plays that went for 20-plus yards against UCA.
1,000-YARD CLUB: Junior wide receiver Taylor Stockemer and senior receiver Dwayne Frampton both went over 1,000 receiving yards for their careers this season. Stockemer accomplished the feat during the Virginia Tech game and Frampton against UCA. Stockemer has a team-high 1,143 yards and Frampton 1,071 as both near top-10 marks at ASU. Steve Lockhart (1969-71) is currently ranked 10th for career receiving yards at ASU with 1,216.
FRAMPTON EXTENDS STREAK: Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton caught eight passes for 100 yards against UCA, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 16. He has caught a pass in every game he has played at A-State. Frampton is ranked ed for 33rd in the nation in receptions (6.3 rpg) and 47th in receiving yards (83.3 ypg).
PICK IT OFF: While the Red Wolves didn't record an interception in either of their first two games, they've now posted a combined three over the last two. Cornerbacks Darron Edwards and Darryl Feemster both had a pick against Virginia Tech and safety Sterling Young returned his first career interception 31 yards for a touchdown against UCA.
PLAYING IN THE BACKFIELD: The Red Wolves defense recorded at least eight tackles for loss in three of its first four games this season. A-State posted eight or more tackles behind the line of scrimmage in three games for all of last season. ASU is ranked ninth in the nation in tackles for loss (8.3 ppg).
GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK: Dating back to last season, senior defensive end Brandon Joiner has recorded at least 0.5 sacks in eight of ASU's last nine games. In fact, 8.5 of his 9.0 career sacks at A-State have come over the Red Wolves last nine games. He has at least a par al sack in each of ASU's first four games this season. Joiner recorded a career-high 2.5 sacks against Middle Tennessee in the 10th game of last year.
HOME SWEET HOME: Arkansas State posted an actual on-field winning record at ASU Stadium from 2005-2010. ASU is now 26-7 at ASU Stadium since the 2005 season. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at ASU Stadium is 118-70-1 since opening in 1974.
300-PLUS: Dating back to last season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards of total offense 15 of its last 16 games. ASU's school-record 14 consecutive games with over 300 yards of total offense came to an end against Virginia Tech earlier this season when the Hokies limited the Red Wolves to 269 yards. ASU posted over 300 yards of total offense in just six games the season prior to Hugh Freeze taking over as offensive coordinator in 2010.
ECLIPSING 200/300: Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin passed for at least 200 yards for the 14th time of his career last game with 220 yards to his credit, and all 14 games have come over his last 18 played. Aplin has recorded over 300 yards of total offense seven times during his career, including the Illinois game with 301 yards and the UCA game with 304.
DIALING IT UP FROM LONG DISTANCE: Sophomore kicker Bobby Zalud kicked a career-best 56-yard field goal against Memphis that tied the third longest in school history and ties the longest in the NCAA this season. His 56-yard field goal is also the second longest in Sun Belt Conference history behind only a 57-yard make by North Texas' Jason Ball in 2001. Zalud also had a 49 yard field goal against Illinois in the season opener and is now 2-of-3 on his field goal attempts this year."