ASU at Navy in-depth
ASU (4-6) at Navy (7-3)
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000)
RADIO: EAB Sports Network (107.9 FM Jonesboro, 88.3 Little Rock) and astateredwolves.com
TV: CBS College Sports
THE PRINCIPALS: ASU had a two-game winning streak snapped last week with a 36-35 overtime setback against Western Kentucky, while Navy picked up its second consecutive victory with a 38-37 win over Central Michigan. The Red Wolves take a 1-4 road record into their final two games of the regular season, needing back-to-back victories to become bowl eligible for the fourth time over the last six seasons. Both teams enter the game averaging over 400 yards of offense and 30 points per game.
ASU LB DEMARIO DAVIS
THE ARKANSAS STATE-NAVY SERIES: Saturday's game will be the first ever meeting between Arkansas State and Navy.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . Put the Red Wolves within one win of becoming bowl eligible for the fourth time over the last six seasons . . . Snap a six-game non-conference skid for the Red Wolves . . . Give A-State its second straight win over one of the service academies after defeating Army 14-6 at ASU?Stadium in its 2006 season opener . . . Improve the Red Wolves' record in nationally-televised games this season to 2-0 after defeating Middle Tennessee 51-24 on ESPN2 on Nov. 2.
HEAD COACH STEVE ROBERTS: Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts is in his ninth year at Arkansas State after leading the Red Wolves to the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Championship and to bowl eligible seasons three of the last five years. During his first eight seasons as the Red Wolves' head coach, he guided ASU to 41 wins for its most over an eight-year span at the school since 1985-1992. Roberts was named the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. Under Roberts, the Red Wolves have had 70 All-Sun Belt Conference selections, a Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, SBC Offensive Player of the Year, two SBC?Defensive Players of the Year and an SBC?Newcomer of the Year.
ROBERTS CLIMBING VICTORIES LADDER: Through his first eight-plus seasons as the Red Wolves head coach, Steve Roberts already has the fifth most victories among ASU's 26 all-time head coaches with 45 wins. Larry Lacewell (1979-89) holds the record for victories with 69 and is followed by Bennie Ellender (1963-70) with 52 wins, Bill Davidson (1971-78) with 51 and Forrest England (1946-53) with 49.
17 AND UNDER: Arkansas State holds a 20-4 record under head coach Steve Roberts when holding its opponents to 17 points or less. The Red Wolves have won 17 of their last 19 games when holding their opponent to 17 or fewer points and have won 28 straight games when holding their opponents to 10 or fewer points.
SBC WEEKLY HONORS: The Red Wolves have had five players earn one of the Sun Belt Conference's weekly honors seven times. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin has been named the league's offensive player of the week three times, while senior safety M.D. Jennings, senior linebacker Javon McKinnon, junior defensive back Adrian Hills and junior linebacker Demario Davis have all been recognized as the defensive player of the week once.
NATIONAL COVERAGE: Arkansas State is playing at least two nationally televised games for the second consecutive year in 2010. The Red Wolves caught Middle Tennessee on Nov. 2 in its first ever home nationally televised game (ESPN2) and will play Navy on the road Nov. 20 in a game televised by CBS College Sports. Prior to last season, the last time ASU had played a nationally televised game was in the 2005 New Orleans Bowl.
TELEVISION TIME: The Sun Belt Conference announced Monday that the Arkansas State football game at Florida International on Nov. 27 has been selected to be televised by the Sun Belt Network as its game of the week. The game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. (CT) kickoff. With the addition of the FIU?game, the Red Wolves will finish the regular season with a school-record 10 televised games. A-State played eight regular-season games on television last season to set the previous record.
FOURTH QUARTER EXPLOSION: Arkansas State has exploded for 63 points during the fourth quarter over its last three games. The Red Wolves are averaging 21 points in the fourth quarter over those games, scoring 28 against FAU, 14 versus Middle Tennessee and 21 against Western Kentucky.
DUAL THREAT: Not only does Ryan Aplin have 18 passing touchdowns, he has also recorded a team-high 10 rushing touchdowns for the most by an ASU?quarterback since 2002. Aplin's 18 passing touchdowns is a school record, and the last time an ASU?quarterback rushed for 10 or more touchdowns in a season was 1991 when Roy Johnson found the end zone 12 times.
APLIN BREAKS SCHOOL RECORDS: With at least two games remaining this year,?Ryan Aplin has already completed 222 passes, thrown 18 touchdown passes and recorded 3,036 yards of total offense to break the school records in each statistical category. He needs just 87 more yards to break the school record for single-season passing yards as well, and he has posted numbers that rank among the top-10 players in Sun Belt Conference history in total offense, touchdowns responsible for, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns.
ASU QB RYAN APLIN
PILING UP THE YARDS: Arkansas State recorded over 400 yards of total offense the last three games and has now posted over 400-plus yards in seven games. Over the last three games, A-State is averaging 449 yards of total offense and 41 points per game.
11 RUSHERS: Eleven different ASU?players have recorded a rush this season, including a season-high 10 against Florida Atlantic. No player has attempted more than 115 rushes, while five players have carried the ball at least 20 times. Four different players have led ASU?in rushing in at least one game this year.
17 RECEIVERS: Seventeen ASU?players have recorded a reception this year. The Red Wolves had a season-high 12 players catch at least one pass against Florida Atlantic, topping its previous season-high total of nine set against Indiana, Auburn and Louisiana-Lafayette. A-State's 17 players with a reception are its most since the 2006 campaign when 18 players caught at least one pass. ASU has completed at least one pass to six players in every game this year.
BIG PLAY: Arkansas State has run 54 plays (5.4 per game) this season that have covered at least 20 yards, including a season-high nine against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves have run four plays that covered at least 50 yards with a long play of 65 yards (Ryan Aplin pass to Taylor Stockemer) against ULL.
CATCH AFTER CATCH: Junior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton has either tied or led A-State in receptions in six of its 10 games played. Frampton has a team-high 62 receptions through 10 games, 15 more than any ASU?player had for all of last season. He has caught multiple passes in every game. Frampton needs 10 more receptions to tie the school record for a single season.
20 SOMETHING: Arkansas State has scored at least 24 points in each of its first 10 games and is averaging 31.7 points a game, which ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference. The last time A-State scored 20 or more points in 10 consecutive games was the 1951 season. ASU?has never scored 20-plus points in 11 straight games.
IN THE ZONE: The Arkansas State offense has performed well in the red zone this season, scoring on 37 of 43 opportunities for an .860 percentage. That percentage is ranked first in the SBC and 32nd in the nation in red zone offense. ASU's 37 scores in the red zone consist of 30 touchdowns and seven field goals. ASU has been perfect in the red zone in six games this season.
300-PLUS: Arkansas State posted at least 327 yards of total offense in each of its first 10 games. Since 1954, and possibly throughout the history of the program, ASU?has never recorded 300-plus yards of total offense in 10 straight games. The Red Wolves recorded over 300 yards of offense in six games for all of last season.
PICKING UP THE DEFENSE: ASU's top four defensive performances in terms of yards allowed have come over the last five games, holding North Texas to 292 yards, Florida Atlantic to 319, Middle Tennessee to 382 and WKU?to 388. While Indiana, ASU's only other opponent over the last five games, posted 495 yards of total offense, the Red Wolves held the Hoosiers to 113 rushing yards that are their fewest allowed on the ground this year.
KNOCK IT DOWN: Although junior cornerback Darron Edwards did not record a pass break-up the last two games, he recorded two against Florida Atlantic after posting a career-high four against Indiana. His four pass break-ups against the Hoosiers tied the most in the nation for a single game. Edward's is ranked tied for second in the Sun Belt Conference and tied for 33rd in the nation in passes defended with 10 to his credit (1.0 per game). Edwards has posted at least one pass break-up in six games this season.
CONFERENCE DEFENSE: While Arkansas State is ranked ninth in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense for all games combined, it is ranked sixth in league games only. The Red Wolves statistically had their best defensive performance against North Texas five games ago, holding the Mean Green to a season-low 292 yards of total offense that was also the fewest yards allowed by ASU this year.
D-LINE DOMINANCE: ASU's defensive line continued their strong performance last week with a season-high seven sacks by five different players. Defensive end Elroy Brown recorded eight tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.0 tackles for loss, all career highs, while Bryan Hall recorded two sacks, Justin Robertson one and Brandon Joiner 0.5. A-State is ranked 19th in the nation in sacks with 26. Over the last three games, ASU?has 15 sacks. Hall is ranked tied for 14th in the nation in sacks with 8.5, the ninth most in school history. He has 17 career sacks, which is tied for the sixth most in A-State history.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Arkansas State has forced 11 turnovers over its last three games played, including six interceptions and five fumble recoveries. A-State, which is ranked 19th in the nation in turnovers gained, has now recorded at least one fumble recovery in seven consecutive games and at least two interceptions in two of its last three games. The Red Wolves have recorded 22 turnovers gained, the most since the 2006 season when it had 29.
IN THE ZONE (PART II): The Arkansas State defense is second in the Sun Belt Conference and 11th in the nation in red zone defense, holding opponents to a .705 scoring percentage. A-State's 10 opponents this season have turned just 31 of their combined 44 red zone opportunities into points (19 TD, 12 FG).
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
BIG BLOCK: Sophomore defensive end Tim Starson recorded a career-high three blocked kicks against ULM?to tie the most in school history for a single game. He also blocked an extra point against Florida Atlantic, to give him four on the year that is the second most in school history for a single season. Starson has three blocked extra points and one blocked field goal for the season.
PUNTING POWER: While Neely Sullivent averaged 38.8 yards per punt over ASU's first six games, he is averaging 45.1 yards per punt on 12 attempts over the last four games. Sullivent had six of his last 12 punts pin the opponent inside their 20 and had four of them travel at least 50 yards. By comparison, he had seven punts inside the opponent's 20 and four cover at least 50 yards over his first 25 attempts this year.
BIG BOOT: Sophomore Dean Gericke averaged a career-high 50.7 yards per punt on three attempts and recorded one punt inside the 20-yard line against Western Kentucky. He finished with a career-high 152 punting yards and had two punts of over 50 yards, including a long of 55 yards. He was named an honorable mention national punter of the week by the College Football Performance Awards following the WKU game.
HALL POSTING RECORD NUMBERS: Junior receiver and kick returner Rod Hall has made an immediate impact this year in ASU's kickoff return game. Hall has recorded 665 kickoff return yards this season, which ranks as the fourth most in school history for a single season. He needs 60 more yards to take over third place. Hall recorded a career-high 158 kickoff return yards on just four attempts against Indiana, which ranks as the sixth most in school history for a single game.