Idaho at ASU in-depth preview
Idaho Vandals (1-5) at ASU Red Wolves (2-3)
6 p.m., Oct. 12, 2013
Liberty Bank Stadium, Jonesboro
Radio: 107.9 FM Jonesboro, 93.3 FM Little Rock
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
THE PRINCIPALS: A-State will play its third consecutive non-conference game Saturday and carries a 2-3 overall record into the contest after dropping its last two games on the road at Memphis and Missouri. The Red Wolves are 2-0 at home this season and have won their last five games at Liberty Bank Stadium. Idaho, looking for its first road win of the year, will bring a 1-5 record into the game after falling to No. 21/22 Fresno State last week at home. Idaho picked up a 26-24 win over Temple on Sept. 28 for its lone victory, but also played No .23 Northern Illinois to within 10 points (45-35) on Sept. 14 at the Kibbie Dome.
RB David Oku
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . .: Make the Red Wolves 3-3 through six games for the second consecutive year . . . Give the Red Wolves two non-conference victories for the third straight season . . . Give it six consecutive victories at Liberty Bank Stadium and secure at least a .500 home record . . . Make the Red Wolves 5-4 all-time vs. Idaho . . . Extend its winning streak in the month of October to nine games . . . Give it three consecutive homecoming victories and improve its record to 10-1 in such games over the last 11 seasons.
THE ARKANSAS STATE - IDAHO SERIES: Arkansas State holds an all-time 4-4 record against Idaho, including four meetings as Sun Belt Conference opponents (2001-04) and two as Big West Conference foes (1999-2000). The series dates back to 1975 when A-State claimed a 23-6 home victory on its way to an unblemished 11-0 record, but the two teams haven't played since Idaho's last season in the Sun Belt in 2004. The Vandals are set to rejoin the Sun Belt Conference next season. Idaho picked up a 45-31 home victory in the 2004 contest, but Arkansas State won the previous three contests. A-State holds a 3-2 home record against the Vandals and a 1-2 road mark.
RED WOLVES OCTOBER: Arkansas State is undefeated in October over the last two seasons with a 7-0 record over that span and has won its last eight games in the month dating back to the 2010 season. A-State's first outing in October last year began a 7-game winning streak to close out its regular season. The Red Wolves' first game in October of 2011 was its second outing in a string of nine straight wins to end the regular season.
COMING OFF THE OPEN WEEK: Arkansas State is coming off the first of two open weeks this season, with the other being prior to the Oct. 22 game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2001, the Red Wolves hold a 9-6 record in games played after an open week. A-State has won eight of its last nine games played following an open week.
THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY: Arkansas State has been one of the most successful teams in the nation this season converting third downs, ranking 25th in the nation and first in the Sun Belt Conference with a .488 percentage. The Red Wolves have converted at least half their third down attempts in three games and over 44 percent in all but one, including 10-of-20 against Missouri last time out.
HITTING TWO-HUNDRED: Arkansas State has rushed for at least 200 yards in two games this season and in six of its last 10 regular-season games dating back to 2011. The Red Wolves have won eight consecutive games when rushing for 200 yards or more, a streak that also dates back to 2011.
300-PLUS: Dating back to the 2010 season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards of total offense 39 of its last 43 games. The Red Wolves have posted at least 400 yards total offense in all but one game this season and is ranked 35th in the nation (464.6 ypg).
HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arkansas State is 57-27-1 all-time in Homecoming contests. The Red Wolves have won nine of their last 10 Homecoming games dating back to the 2003 season. A-State had a seven-game winning streak on its Homecoming snapped in 2010 with a 34-24 setback to Louisville, but knocked off North Texas 37-14 in 2011 and South Alabama 36-29 last year.
BY THE NUMBERS . . .
1 of just 16 FBS programs to win at least 20 games over the last two years (2011 & 2012).
1 receiving touchdown needed by both Julian Jones to tie the 6th most (10) in school history.
2 rushing touchdowns needed by David Oku to tie the seventh most (22) in school history.
3 ASU was picked to finish 3rd in the preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll with 45 pts. and 2 first-place votes.
4 players with 100 yards rushing vs. UAPB, making A-State just the 7th FBS team to accomplish the feat.
5 consecutive victories at Liberty Bank Stadium.
5 of the last eight seasons have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility.
5 players named to one of college football's major award watch lists.
7 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, the most in the league.
8 players (Albright, Carrethers, Haunga, Kennedy, McCants, Muse, Oliver, Williams) already with their degree.
8 game Sun Belt Conference winning streak held by A-State.
8 consecutive wins in the month of October dating back to the 2010 season.
8 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium.
8 wins over its last nine games when coming off an open week.
9 victories over its last 10 Homecoming games, and 57 all-time Homecoming wins.
10 win seasons in 2011 & 2012, making ASU the first team in SBC history w/ back-to-back 10-win campaigns.
10 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards over the last 11 years.
13 votes in the final 2012 USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
14 statistical categories in which A-State ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation after five games.
15 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List (3.5 GPA or higher).
16 Sun Belt Conference victories over its last 17 league games.
18 points needed by Brian Davis to break the school record for points by kicking in a career (288).
18 A-State players named to at least one preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
21 A-State wins over its last 29 regular-season games dating back to 2011.
23 All-Sun Belt Conference selections over the last two years combined.
25 points needed by Brian Davis to break the Sun Belt record for career points by kicking (295).
27 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher).
28 votes in the final 2012 Associated Press Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
30 or more points scored by A-State in 20 of its last 28 games.
31 receptions recorded by Julian Jones over the last four games (7.8 per game).
91 yd rush by Michael Gordon vs UAPB matched the 2nd longest in ASU history.
213.2 rushing yards per game by A-State ranks 30th in the nation.
300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 39 of its last 43 games.
400 or more yards total offense by A-State in four of its first five games.
464.4 yards of total offense per game ranks as the 35th highest average in the nation.
26.7 million-dollar football facility project in Liberty Bank Stadium's north end zone announced.
ASU COACH BRYAN HARSIN: Bryan Harsin was named the Red Wolves' 29th head football coach on Dec. 12, 2012. Harsin is a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator. Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State's head coach. Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns.
HIGH MARKS: Arkansas State head football coach Bryan Harsin was ranked as the sixth best hire in the nation among 26 new coaches at the time, according to CBSSports.com. The article written by Dennis Dodd said the following when referring to A-State's 29th head coach: "We're talking a Sun Belt program that has changed its AD (once) and coaches (twice) over the last two years. Somehow the Red Wolves went from national championship game offensive coordinator (Malzahn) to Fiesta Bowl-winning offensive coordinator with a stop in Texas (Bryan Harsin). Not too shabby."
STARTING STRONG: With the Red Wolves victory over UAPB, Bryan Harsin became the Red Wolves first head coach to win his inaugural game at the school since Larry Lacewell in 1979. ASU's previous seven head coaches all suffered setbacks in their first game, including Al Kincaid, Ray Perkins, John Bobo, Joe Hollis, Steve Roberts, Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn.
YOUNGEST FBS HEAD COACHES: At 36 years of age, Arkansas State head coach Bryan Harsin is the fourth youngest head coach in the nation. Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck is the youngest at 32 years old with a Nov. 29, 1980 date of birth.
Coach Age (DOB)
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan 32 (11-29-80)
Matt Campbell, Toledo 33 (11-29-79)
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech 34 (8-9-79)
Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State 36 (11-1-76)
Willie Taggart, USF 37 (8-27-76)
Justin Fuente, Memphis 37 (7-30-76)
Matt Rhule, Temple 38 (1-31-75)
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 38 (12-2-74)
Garrick McGee, UAB 40 (4-6-73)
Matt Wells, Utah State 40 (8-10-73)
A-STATE vs. INDEPENDENTS: Since the formation of Division I-A (FBS), Arkansas State has played 12 opponents while they were an NCAA FBS Independent. A-State holds an all-time 11--35-3 record in those games played against Akron, UAB, Army, East Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Navy, Northern Illinois, Richmond and Southern Miss. The last time the Red Wolves played an Independent was 2010 when it suffered a 35-19 setback at Navy. A-State's last victory against an Independent came in 2006 when it defeated Army at home, 14-6.
99th SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off its 99th season of football Aug. 31, 2013, vs. UAPB. A-State now holds a 428-460-37 record since its inaugural 1911 season and has played in nine bowl games. ASU did not field a football team from 1942-44 due to World War II. Arkansas State also didn't have a team in 1918 as World War I was ending.
HOME SWEET HOME: With a 5-1 home mark last season, Arkansas State secured its eighth consecutive winning record at Liberty Bank Stadium dating back to 2005. ASU is now 38-8 at Liberty Bank Stadium since the 2005 season and has won 13 of its last 14 home games. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at Liberty Bank Stadium is 130-71-1 since it opened in 1974. ASU's six home wins in 2011 were its most since 1985.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: Including a 62-point outburst in its season opener and 41 points scored against Troy, A-State has posted at least 30 points in 20 of its last 28 regular-season games dating back to the 2011 season. The Red Wolves' 10 games with at least 30 points last year were their most since 1951 when they hit the total 10 times as well.
FUMBLE ENFORCERS: Arkansas State has forced at least one fumble in every game this season and ranks tied for 26th in the nation in fumble recoveries with five. The Red Wolves have posted at least one fumble recovery in the last four games.
NFF RECOGNIZES DAVIS: Senior kicker Brian Davis has been announced as a National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Awards candidate and a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the top scholar-athlete in the nation. Davis is among 170 national candidates, including 54 from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), for the NFF's Scholar-Athlete Awards. Candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least a 3.2, possess outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor, and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
CFPA HONORS DAVIS: Senior kicker Brian Davis was named the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Specialist of the Week following the Missouri game. He was responsible for 13 of Arkansas State's 19 points against the Tigers, making all four of his field goal attempts and an extra point to lead the Red Wolves in scoring. Davis has now made multiple field goals in a game 13 times during his career. Dating back to last season, Davis has now made his last 10 field goals in a row to tie the second longest streak in Arkansas State history.
ON THE RISE: Senior WR Julian Jones has recorded at least six receptions in four straight games, including a career-high 10 versus Missouri, and now has 31 total catches over that same span (7.8 per game). Jones has either led or tied for the team high in receptions in all but one game this season and is ranked 28th in the nation in receptions per game (6.6). Jones' 31 receptions are 14 more than he had for his entire career entering the 2013 season.
MORE ON JONES: Senior WR Julian Jones not only recorded a career-high 10 receptions against Missouri, he also finished the game with a career-best 136 receiving yards. He caught his second touchdown pass of the season and has been on the receiving end of a score in seven of the last 11 games dating back to last year.
LEADING THE LEAGUE: Senior quarterback Adam Kennedy currently leads the Sun Belt Conference in total offense with 268.0 yards per game, which also ranks 39th in the nation. Kennedy recorded a season-high 358 yards of total offense against Auburn, 334 last week versus Missouri and just missed going over 300 against Troy with 299 to his credit.
MAKING A CONNECTION: Senior QB Adam Kennedy tied the school record for completions in a game with 37 against Missouri (tied Ryan Aplin, 2011 vs. Western Kentucky). Kennedy has already completed 116 passes, leaving him just 40 shy of the 10th most in school history for a single season. He is ranked 14th in the nation in completions (23.2 pg) and 20th in completion percentage (.678). His current completion percentage currently stands as the second highest in school history behind only Aplin's .680 set in 2012.
INSIDE FORCE: A member of the Bednarik Award and Outland Trophy Watch Lists, senior defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers is ranked second on the team and 13th in the Sun Belt in tackles with 31 through five games. He is averaging 6.2 tackles per game, one more than he averaged last season when he finished with 68 total for the most by an A-State interior defensive lineman since former NFL standout Jon Bradly in 2002. His 31 tackles this season are the most in the Sun Belt Conference by a defensive lineman.
McKISSIC MAKES HISTORY: A Freshman All-America selection last season, sophomore WR J.D. McKissic recorded the most receptions in school history with 15 against Missouri. McKissic's previous high this season was five, but he posted a double-figure receptions total for the fifth time of his career. He has now caught at least one pass in all 18 games of his career at A-State. He also finished with a season-high 117 receiving yards, marking the fifth time he has posted at least 100 yards in a game.
POWER PUNT: While Arkansas State didn't have a punt cover more than 58 yards all of last season, sophomore Luke Ferguson has already had three travel 58 yards or more over his first 12 attempts of the season. He had a 60-yard punt versus Auburn, a career-best 63 yarder against Troy and a 58-yard punt last game. Ferguson is ranked first in the Sun Belt Conference with a 46.2 average per attempt.
A FLARE FOR THE DRAMATIC: Sophomore RB Michael Gordon is responsible for two of the three longest runs by A-State this year, including a 92-yard outburst against UAPB that was the second longest in school history. Gordon posted a 64-yard touchdown run against Troy as well, and he is averaging 12.2 yards per attempt (18). Gordon has two 100-yard rushing games, including a 102-yard showing against UAPB and a 115-yard effort vs Troy.
WELL ROUNDED: Senior RB David Oku has gone over 100 yards combined rushing and receiving in a game twice this season and nine times during his two-year career at A-State.
FINDING THE END ZONE: Senior running back David Oku, who posted 16 rushing touchdowns last season to tie the third most in school history, recorded two rushing touchdowns against both UAPB and Troy this season. ?Oku has now recorded at least one rushing touchdown in 12 of his 18 games played at Arkansas State.
UNBUCKLE THE BELT: The Red Wolves opened Sun Belt Conference play in their third game of the season, the earliest since 2010 when they played their second game against a league opponent. A-State improved to 8-5 all-time in Sun Belt Conference openers with its 41-34 victory over Troy. The Red Wolves' victory was their first in an SBC opener since 2011.
WEEKLY HONORS: Arkansas State had four players named a national Honorable Mention Player of the Week at their respective positions by the College Football Performance Awards after the Troy game. Those players included sr. DL Amos Draper, soph. RB Michael Gordon, soph. TE Darion Griswold and sr. WR?Allen Muse. Gordon was also recognized by College Sports Madness as its Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.
DAVIS HONORED: Senior kicker Brian Davis was named a national honorable mention College Football Performance Awards Placekicker of the Week following the Auburn game. Davis posted a season-high three field goals, giving him 44 for his career that leaves him one shy of tying the fifth most in Sun Belt Conference history. Davis was a perfect 3-of-3 on his attempts that covered 34, 21 and 42 yards. Dating back to last season, Davis has now made his last six consecutive field goals to leave him only one short of tying the sixth longest streak in school history. Including Auburn, Davis now has 12 career games with multiple field goals made.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Arkansas State has 25 underclassmen (sophomores or freshmen) listed on its 2-deep. The list includes 13 sophomores, six redshirt freshmen and six true freshmen. Among the underclassmen, six are listed as starters on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. A-State's 25 underclassmen on its two-deep was tied for the 14th most in the nation with Colorado and Illinois according to the 2013 initial depth charts. Virginia listed 34 players on its opening-day two-deep for the most among all teams.
IN THE POLLS: Arkansas State ended the 2012 season receiving votes in the final major polls, including 28 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and 13 in the USA?Today Coaches Top 25 Poll. Both totals placed the Red Wolves 32nd in the nation. The Red Wolves were also among "others receiving votes" in the 2013 preseason and week two USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll.
NCAA RECORD: A-State became the seventh FBS team in NCAA history to have four players (David Oku, Fredi Knighten, Michael Gordon, Sirgregory Thornton vs. UAPB) rush for over 100 yards in the same game. The other teams include Arizona (1951), Texas (1969), Alabama (1973), Army (1984), Nebraska (2001) and Nevada (2009).
FOR STARTERS: A-State improved to 45-47-6 all-time in season openers with its victory over UAPB on Aug. 31. The Red Wolves claimed a win in their season-opening game for the first time since 2009.
RUSHING RED WOLVES: The Red Wolves piled up 509 rushing yards vs. UAPB, which were the most in the nation during the season's first week and still stand as the second most behind BYU's 550 against Texas. A-State's total was also the fifth most in school history and the second most in Sun Belt history.
HOME OPENERS: With its victory over UAPB on Aug. 31, Arkansas State won its ninth consecutive home opener dating back to the 2005 campaign. The Red Wolves now stand 29-11 all-time in home openers at Liberty Bank Stadium and are also 15-6 in such games since moving to the FBS in 1992.