ASU at Florida Atlantic in-depth preview
ASU (6-2, 4-0) at Florida Atlantic (0-7, 0-4)
3 p.m. Saturday at FAU Stadium (30,000)
Radio: 107.9 FM Jonesboro, 88.3 FM Little Rock
Live stats: AStateRedWolves.com
ON TAP: Arkansas State puts its five-game winning streak and undefeated Sun Belt Conference record on the line Saturday when it faces Florida Atlantic at 3 p.m. at FAU Stadium. 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.
THE PRINCIPALS: A-State became bowl eligible last week when it moved its overall record to 6-2 and Sun Belt Conference mark to 4-0 with a 37-14 victory over North Texas. The Red Wolves have matched their most victories ever as an FBS member and are undefeated through four Sun Belt Conference games for the first time in school history. Florida Atlantic, coming off an open week, is looking for its first victory of the season as it carries an 0-7 overall and 0-4 Sun Belt record into Saturday's game. ASU has won its last two straight road games, while FAU is playing its third consecutive home game.
Coach Hugh Freeze
FAST START: Hugh Freeze has tied the most victories ever by a head coach in his first season at Arkansas State. Out of 27 all-time head coaches at A-State, Freeze is one of just four to win six games in his first season, joining Steve Roberts (2002), Gene Harlow (1955) and Jack Dale (1931). He has tied Dale as the fastest coach to six wins in school history.
ASU-FLORIDA ATLANTIC SERIES: Arkansas State picked up a 37-16 victory over Florida Atlantic last season in Jonesboro to even the all-time series at 3-3. Three games in the series have been played in both Jonesboro and Boca Raton, and the home team won all six outings. Five of the seven meetings, including the last three in a row, have been decided by at least two touchdowns.
A-STATE vs. SUN BELT CONFERENCE: Arkansas State is 67-63-1 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, the Red Wolves hold a 38-36 on-field record against all opponents that have been a member of the league. Against current members of the conference, ASU is 33-32 since 2001. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Monroe with 19. The Red Wolves have defeated every team in the SBC since the football league was formed in 2001.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . .: Give the Red Wolves their best record through nine games since 1986 when it was 7-1-1 as a member of the I-AA Southland Conference . . . Give the Red Wolves their first 5-0 conference record as a member of any league since 1986 when it finished the season 5-0 against SLC competition . . . Give the Red Wolves their first six game winning streak since 1986 when they actually won eight in a row . . . Give the Red Wolves their most victories ever as an FBS member and its most at any level since 1987 . . . Give the Red Wolves three road victories in the same season for the first time since 2006 . . . Give the Red Wolves three consecutive road victories for the first time since 1986 . . . Give the Red Wolves their first road victory ever over Florida Atlantic . . . Guarantee ASU a winning record for the first time since 1995 when it finished 6-5.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arkansas State is bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, but for the fourth time over the last seven seasons. This is the earliest ASU has ever been bowl eligible as an FBS member (since 1992). Arkansas State's last appearance in a bowl game was 2005 when it played Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl.
MATCHING THE BEST AS AN FBS MEMBER: Arkansas State has matched its most victories ever as an FBS member with six. The Red Wolves also had six wins 1995, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008. The last time the Red Wolves won seven games in a season was 1987 when it was an NCAA I-AA member.
THROUGH EIGHT: Arkansas State not only holds its best record ever as an FBS member through eight games, but its best since 1986 when it was 6-1-1 as a member of the I-AA Southland Conference. The last time ASU was 7-2 or better through nine games was 1986 as well when it held a 7-1-1 record.
ON A ROLL: ASU has won five consecutive games for the first time since 1986 when it actually claimed eight straight victories. The Red Wolves' five game winning streak ties them with Cincinnati for the 11th longest in the nation. The teams with a longer winning streak than A-State include Stanford (16), Alabama (9), LSU (9), Boise State (9), Oklahoma State (9), Houston (8), Penn State (7), Oregon (7), Southern Miss (6) and Georgia (6).
UNDEFEATED IN CONFERENCE: Arkansas State holds a 4-0 Sun Belt Conference record for the first time in school history. Prior to this season, the Red Wolves' best start in SBC play was 3-0 in 2008 and 2006. The last time ASU was 5-0 or better in any league was 1986 when it actually posted a 5-0 Southland Conference record for the year.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Red Wolves have won two consecutive games on the road for the first time since 2006. ASU's last two road victories marked the first time since 1985 it won two road games during consecutive weeks. The victories also marked the first time in school history that ASU won back-to-back road games against Sun Belt opponents. The last time ASU won three consecutive road games was 1986.
1 OF 8: Arkansas State is one of just eight teams in the nation ranked among the top 30 in both total offense and defense. The Red Wolves are No. 26 in total defense (330.1 ypg) and No. 27 in total offense (448.8 ypg). The other teams ranked in the top 30 in both total offense and total defense include Stanford, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Boise State, Southern Miss, Alabama and Ohio.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Arkansas State has won four games by a double-figure margin this season, which is its most since 1996. ASU has won its last two games by at least 18 points and holds an average scoring margin of +10.8 points per game (30.4 to 19.6). The last time A-State won five games by a double-digit margin was 1987.
IN THE POLLS: Arkansas State climbed from No. 44 to No. 37 in the CBSSports.com 120 poll after improving to 6-2 with its 37-14 victory over North Texas. The Red Wolves are also No. 47 in the latest BCS rankings and No. 52 in the Sagarin.
HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arkansas State improved to 56-27-1 all-time in Homecoming contests with its victory over North Texas last week. The Red Wolves have now won eight of their last nine Homecoming games dating back to the 2003 season.
ROBINSON IN A NEW ROLE: Anthony Robinson, now a graduate assistant coach at A-State, posted career-high numbers as a senior wide receiver against FAU last year with eight receptions for 88 yards and a TD. He also added a four-yard TD run against the Owls.
TOP 50: Arkansas State is ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in 13 statistical categories, including total offense (27) and total defense (26). ASU also ranks in the top 50 in tackles for loss (22), sacks (T18), net punting (24), pass offense (25), pass efficiency defense (29), scoring defense (23), punt returns (39), interceptions (26), scoring offense (46), pass efficiency (45) and rushing defense (30).
SUN BELT PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Arkansas State has had four players named a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week. Senior safety Kelcie McCray (Defensive) and junior defensive back Don Jones (Special Teams) earned the recognition on Oct. 10 following the ULM game. Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin was named the Offensive Player of the Week on Oct. 3 following the WKU game and sophomore kicker Brian Davis the Special Teams Player of the Week on Sept. 26 following the UCA game.
CFPA RECOGNITION: Senior WR Dwayne Frampton, senior safety Kelcie McCray, junior punter Ryan Wilbourn, senior WR Josh Jarboe and senior LB Demario Davis have all been national honorable mention selections at their respective position by the CFPA this season. Sophomore kicker Brian Davis has been named the CFPA's national placekicker of the week as well.
HOME SWEET HOME: With a 4-0 home record this season, Arkansas State has secured its seventh consecutive winning record at ASU Stadium, dating back to 2005. ASU is now 28-7 at ASU Stadium since the 2005 season. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at ASU Stadium is 120-70-1 since it opened in 1974.
CROWD SUPPORT: Arkansas State played its first two home games this season in front of the largest back-to-back crowds in ASU Stadium history. The 29,872 in attendance for the Memphis game made it the second largest crowd in ASU Stadium history and the 27,918 announced for the UCA game was the fourth largest. The Red Wolves current average home attendance is 23,281, which is 2,000 more than the school record of 21,105 set in 2008. ASU's average attendance of 23,281 is the second highest in the Sun Belt Conference.
TV TIME: It was announced this week that ESPN has selected Arkansas State's Nov. 12 football game against Louisiana-Lafayette, scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff at ASU Stadium, to be televised on ESPN3.com. Arkansas State has already played six televised games this season, and now has at least two more slated for television. In addition to the Louisiana-Lafayette game, the Red Wolves' game at Middle Tennessee on Nov. 19 is also scheduled as an ESPN3.com broadcast. A-State's regular-season finale at ASU Stadium against Troy on Dec. 3 could also be selected for television. The Red Wolves set a school record with 10 televised games last year, and 2011 marks the third consecutive season with at least eight televised contests for A-State. ASU also hosted a nationally-televised game at ASU Stadium for the second consecutive year in 2011, defeating Florida International 34-16 on ESPN2.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: A-State has recorded at least 30 points in four games this season, including the last two in a row, and is on pace to finish the regular season with the fourth most points in school history (364). The Red Wolves have tied the second most games in a season with at least 30 points since 1988. ASU scored 30-plus points in five games last year, which tied the 2007 team for the most since 1987 when it eclipsed 30 in six games. ASU is ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 46 in the nation in scoring offense (30.4 ppg).
GROUND ATTACK: Arkansas State posted its fourth 200-yard rushing game, including its second in a row, this season last week against North Texas. The Red Wolves improved to 4-0 in those games, and their four 200-yard games are the most in a single season since 2008 when it had five.
300-PLUS: Dating back to last season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards of total offense 19 of its last 20 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.
BIG HITTERS: Arkansas State has recorded at least one play covering 40 yards or more in seven of its eight games. The Red Wolves have 11 plays, including nine passing, of 40 yards or more for all eight games combined. Four different players have caught a pass for at least 40 yards, including Dwayne Frampton, Josh Jarboe, Taylor Stockemer and Frankie Jackson. ASU's longest pass was a 71-yard completion from Ryan Aplin to Jarboe, and its longest rush was 48 yards by Jackson.
APPROACHING MILESTONES: Entering Saturday's game against FAU, junior QB Ryan Aplin needs 57 yards to become the third player in school history to pass for over 6,000 in a career, senior RB Derek Lawson needs 28 yards to become the 16th player in school history to eclipse 1,700 rushing yards and senior WR Dwayne Frampton needs 72 yards to become the sixth player in A-State history to record 1,500 receiving yards.
AMONG THE BEST IN SCHOOL HISTORY: Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin, who holds the school record for passing yards in a game (438 at UL Lafayette in 2010) is one of just three players in ASU history to record over 5,000 passing yards (5,943) and also one of just three to post over 7,000 yards of total offense (7,083). He is also ranked third all-time in completions (509) and third in TD passes (34).
ECLIPSING 200/300: Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin has passed for at least 200 yards 17 times during his career, and all 17 games have come over his last 22 played. Aplin has recorded over 300 yards of total offense 10 times during his career, including the Illinois, UCA, WKU, FIU and North Texas games this season.
THREE OVER 100: Senior WR Dwayne Frampton has posted three 100-yard receiving games, including a career-high 147 against Louisiana-Monroe. All three games were played consecutively against UCA (100), WKU (126) and ULM. Frampton also had 99 receiving yards in the season opener at Illinois. For the entire year, he is ranked 20th in the nation in receptions (6.8 pg) and 33rd in receiving yards (86.3 ypg). Frampton is on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.
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. Frampton has a team-high 1,351 yards to rank seventh in school history, while Stockemer has posted 1,279 yards as he nears joining the top 10 at ASU as well.
FRAMPTON EXTENDS STREAK: Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton caught one pass last week against FIU, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 19. He has caught a pass in every game he has played at A-State. Frampton is ranked tied for 17th in the nation in receptions (6.9 rpg).
FRAMPTON EXTENDS STREAK: Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton caught one pass last week against FIU, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 20. He has caught a pass in every game he has played at A-State.
CAREER DAY: Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton recorded a school-record 13 receptions for a career-high 147 yards and one touchdown three games ago against ULM. Frampton's 13 receptions topped his previous school record of 12, set last season at Indiana. His 147 receiving yards tied the 15th most in school history.
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. Frampton has a team-high 1,428 yards to rank sixth in school history, while Stockemer has posted 1,317 yards to rank 10th in school history.
MANNING AWARD STAR OF THE WEEK: Following his performance in Arkansas State's 47-3 victory over Memphis, quarterback Ryan Aplin was selected as one of eight quarterbacks from across the nation to be named to the Manning Award Stars of the Week list. Aplin completed 19-of-21 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over the Tigers. His completion rate of 90.5% was the second highest in school and Sun Belt Conference history.
JARBOE HONORED: Following the Memphis game, junior wide receiver Josh Jarboe was selected as one of nine wide receivers from across the nation to be named to the honorable mention list for the College Football Performance Awards' Wide Receiver of the Week award. Jarboe hauled in seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the Red Wolves' 47-3 victory over Memphis. Jarboe's 162 receiving yards ranked as the 10th-best single game performance all-time at ASU. His 162-yard performance was also the best by an ASU player since 1999. Jarboe is ranked 75th in the nation in receiving yards this season, averaging 65.7 per game.
RIMINGTON AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior center Tom Castilaw is on the 2011 Rimington Award Watch List issued annually to the nation's top center, making him the second ASU player to ever earn the preseason recognition. Tanner Jenkins was also on the list in 2006. Castilaw was a 2010 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection after starting the final 11 games of the season.
BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton and junior wide receiver Josh Jarboe are the first player in school history to ever be named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List for the nation's top receiver.
SCORING DEFENSE: The Arkansas State defense has held four opponents under 20 points, including the last three in a row, this season. It is the first time since 1987 ASU has held three consecutive opponents under 20 points. The last time ASU held four straight opponents under 20 was 1986. The last time A-State held four opponents to less than 20 points over the course of an entire season was 2008, and the last time it held five under 20 was 2002. ASU is No. 23 in the nation and No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense (19.6 ppg).
STINGY DEFENSE: The ASU defense has held three opponents under 300 yards total defense, including the last two in a row, and five under 350 yards. The last time ASU held five teams under 350 yards of total offense was 2009 and the last time it did so six times or more was 2008.
UNDER 100: The Arkansas State defense has not surrendered 100 yards rushing to an individual player this season, including the Sun Belt's top three rushers. During it's nine-game stretch that dates back to last season, ASU has stopped an eight-game 100-yard rushing streak by WKU's Bobby Rainey, limited Doak Walker Award candidate and North Texas running back Lance Dunbar under 100 yards and also held the nation's 3rd leading rusher in Virginia Tech's David Wilson under 100 yards. ASU is ranked No. 30 in the nation in rushing defense.
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 10 over the last six to climb to rank 26th in the nation. Darryl Feemster and Kelcie McCray each have a team-high 3 interceptions over that span, while Qushaun Lee both have 2 and Darron Edwards and Sterling Young both have 1. ASU has recorded at least one interception in each of the last six games.
CFPA RECOGNIZES DAVIS: This week, senior linebacker Demario Davis was selected as one of 11 linebackers from across the nation to be named to the honorable mention list for the College Football Performance Awards' Linebacker of the Week Award. Davis notched a season-high 12 tackles and a quarterback sack in the Red Wolves' 37-14 victory over North Texas. His 12 tackles were just two shy of his career high.
GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK: Dating back to last season, senior defensive end Brandon Joiner has recorded at least a partial sack in 10 of ASU's last 13 games. In fact, 10.0 of his 10.5 career sacks at A-State have come over the Red Wolves last 13 games. He has at least a partial sack in six of ASU's first eight games this season. Joiner recorded a career-high 2.5 sacks against Middle Tennessee in the 10th game of last year.
LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior linebacker Demario Davis is the fifth player in school to be named to the Lombardi Award Watch List, issued to the top college lineman at the end of the season. Davis, a 2010 First Team All-Sun Belt choice, joins Alex Carrington (2009), Matt Mandich (2008), Tanner Jenkins (2006) and Garry Johnson (2001 and 2002) as A-State players that have been named to the award's watch list.
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 attempts and 5-of-5 on his extra point attempts. He has now made 10-of-13 field goals on the season.
FIRST TIME IN OVER A DECADE: Arkansas State returned a blocked punt for a TD during the ULM game for the first time since 2000 (Sean Mitchell block and Danny Smith return against Richmond). Junior DB Don Jones blocked his first career punt and also returned it for a touchdown. It was ASU's first special teams score since Kevin Jones returned a punt for a TD against Memphis in 2007.
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 both Illinois and FIU and is now 5-of-8 on his field goal attempts this year with all five makes coming from over 40 yards.
THE RETURN GAME: Senior WR Rod Hall finished the WKU game with 46 kickoff return yards, making him the ninth player in school history to record over 1,000 career KO return yards in a career. Senior WR Dwayne Frampton had a career-long 43 yard punt return, which was also the longest by an ASU player since 2008. His 50 yards total against WKU was also the most of his career.