A-State at Coastal Carolina in-depth preview
A-STATE (1-1) at Coastal Carolina (2-0)
11 a.m. Saturday
Brooks Stadium, Conway, S.C.
RADIO: 107.9 FM Jonesboro, 106.7 FM Little Rock
LIVE STATS: AStateStats.com
LIVE GAME NOTES: twitter.com/AStateGameDay
THE PRINCIPALS: Playing its first game since defeating Big 12 foe Kansas State on Sept. 12, the Red Wolves are receiving votes in both the Associated Press Top 25 and Coaches polls for the first time since the end of the 2012 season. Each of A-State’s last two games were postponed after A-State announced it was unable to assemble a two-deep depth chart at once specific position group (different position groups for each game) due to player unavailability. A-State most recently knocked off Kansas State 35-31 in Manhattan, Kan., for its first win over a Power 5 conference opponent since 2008. Coastal Carolina, which also didn’t play last week, remains at home for its second consecutive game after last defeating Campbell 43-21 at Brooks Stadium on Sept. 18.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . : run the Red Wolves record against the Chanticleers to 4-0 . . . mark the second consecutive year the Red Wolves won their league opener and improve their all-time record in Sun Belt openers to 14-6 . . . give it a 28-9 record over its last 37 Sun Belt road games . . . move its record to 25-6 over its last 31 games played in the month of October . . . give the Red Wolves a 57-15 record over its last 72 games played against Sun Belt Conference opponents . . . give it a winning record after three games for the second time over the last three seasons (2018, 2020), but just the sixth time since moving to FBS status in 1992 (2020, 2018, 2013, 2008, 2003, 1995).
THE A-STATE vs. COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES: Arkansas State holds a 3-0 record against Coastal Carolina as the two programs are set to meet for just the fourth time. The Red Wolves claimed 51-17 and 28-27 home wins in 2017 and 2019, respectively, while going on the road to knock off the Chanticleers 44-16 in 2018. A-State has outscored Coastal Carolina 118-60 in the three games combined.
A-STATE/COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES
Nov. 16, 2019: vs Coastal Carolina (W, 28-27)
Nov. 10, 2018: at Coastal Carolina (W, 44-16)
Oct. 14, 2017: vs Coastal Carolina (W, 51-17)
ON THIS DATE: Dating back to 1914, Arkansas State holds a 6-6 record when playing on Oct. 3. The Red Wolves’ first Oct. 3 game on record was played in 1914, resulting in a 20-0 setback at Ole Miss. A-State last played on the date in 2015 when it knocked off Idaho 49-35 at Centennial Bank Stadium. A-State’s other five Oct. 3 wins include 1998 vs New Mexico State (34-31, OT), 1987 at McNeese State (17-0), 1970 vs The Citadel (24-7), 1964 at Stephen F. Austin (W, 17-6) and 1953 at Emporia State (W, 38-19). The Red Wolves also narrowly dropped a pair of games against current Power 5 conference members Iowa (L, 21-24 in 2009) and Kansas (L, 16-17 in 1981) on the date. Iowa was ranked 13th in the nation at the time of the 2009 game.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Arkansas State is set to play its third consecutive road game to start the season for the first time since 1999. Records also indicate that in addition to 1999, the 2020 season will mark just the second time in school history that A-State has played its first three games on the road.
ROAD WARRIORS: Arkansas State has won 27 of its last 36 conference road games dating back to the 2011 season. A-State had won 10 consecutive conference road games, its longest streak ever as a member of any league, before falling to Western Kentucky in its last regular-season game of 2013.
BY THE NUMBERS...
1 of just two all-time programs to win five Sun Belt Conference championships.
3 consecutive road A-State road games to start a season for the first time since 1999.
4 consecutive years A-State had a player named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
5 A-State players on a major award watch list (J. Adams, A. Harris, Horst, Grupe, Murray)
5 Sun Belt Conference titles (2011-13, 2015, 2016) over the last nine seasons (2011-19).
6 A-State players named Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference.
7 or more victories each of the last nine seasons (2011-19) -- first time in school history.
9 offensive starters, including all five offensive linemen, returning from the 2019 season.
9 straight bowl-game appearances (2011-19) - school record & the 14th longest active streak in the nation.
9 consecutive winning seasons (2011-19) by A-State for the first time in school history.
11 all-time Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards, including four of the last five years.
12 of the last 15 seasons (2005-19) have seen A-State reach bowl eligibility, including the last 9 in a row.
13 A-State victory in its 19 all-time Sun Belt Conference openers.
15 A-State players made their first career start with the Red Wolves over the first two games.
15 consecutive seasons with a winning record at Centennial Bank Stadium (2005-19).
30 or more points scored by A-State in 71 of its last 108 regular-season games (66 percent).
36 all-time Sun Belt wins under Blake Anderson are the second most in league history by any head coach.
48 of the last 52 games the A-State defense has recorded at least one sack.
48 victories under Blake Anderson (2014-20) are the most by an A-State head coach over his first 7 seasons.
50 of the last 57 games with at least 5.0 tackles for loss by the A-State defense.
56 Sun Belt Conference victories over the last nine (2011-19) seasons (56-17 league record).
61.7 winning pct. (79-49) from 2010-19 for A-State was the 2nd highest in program history for any decade.
76 victories by A-State over the last 10 seasons (2011-20) ranks tied for the 25th most in the nation.
88 all-time Sun Belt victories by A-State -- the most in the history of the league by any program.
300 or more yards total offense in 109 of last 130 games (84%), including all but five under Blake Anderson.
400 or more yards total offense in 55 of 79 games (70%) during the Blake Anderson era.
HEAD COACH BLAKE ANDERSON: Blake Anderson, a 19-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who also coached in an NJCAA National Championship game, was named the Red Wolves’ 30th all-time head coach on Dec. 19, 2013. Anderson led the Red Wolves to Sun Belt Conference championships in 2015 and 2016, as well as six consecutive winning seasons and six bowl-game appearances (2019 and 2017 Camellia Bowl, 2018 Arizona Bowl, 2016 Cure Bowl, 2015 New Orleans Bowl, 2014 GoDaddy Bowl) during his first six years leading the program. Under his direction, the Red Wolves have set 12 new single-season records, including average yards total offense (494.8 ypg in 2017), total offense (6,174 yards in 2014) and points scored (520 in 2015). Following the 2019 season, Anderson received the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award and was named the Grant Teaff Coach of the Year, presented annually by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
FAST START: Out of 30 all-time head coaches at Arkansas State, Blake Anderson became one of just four to win at least seven games in his first season (2014) at the school. The other head coaches to win at least seven games in their first season as head coach at A-State were Bryan Harsin (2013), Gus Malzahn (2012) and Hugh Freeze (2011).
SEVEN YEARS RUNNING: Blake Anderson is the only head coach in Arkansas State history to win 48 or more games over his first seven years at the school. Additionally, he is one of just three head coaches at A-State to ever direct the program to at least 48 wins in 78 or fewer games -- Forrest England won 49 games over the same span tween 1946-53 and Bennie Ellender won 52 times over his 76 games total games between 1963-70.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Thirty-eight (38) of the Red Wolves’ 48 wins under head coach Blake Anderson have come by 10 or more points. At the same time five of their 10 single-digit victories under Anderson have been posted over the Red Wolves’ last seven outings dating back to last season. Last season, A-State collected the program’s most single-digit wins (5) in one year since the 1982 season when it also had five. Arkansas State has outscored its opponents 2,002-1,001 in the 48 wins under Anderson for a 20.9-point average scoring difference.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Blake Anderson has led the Red Wolves to a pair of Sun Belt titles and collected 36 league wins along the way, which are the second most ever by any of the conference’s all-time head coaches.
CHANGE OF PLANS: A-State, which played back-to-back road games to start its season for the first time since 2010, didn’t announce Central Arkansas and Kansas State as additions to its 2020 schedule until Aug. 7 and Aug. 12, respectively. The Red Wolves were originally slated to play a home game against Howard on Sept. 12 and a road game at Michigan on Sept. 19 before the two contests were canceled. A-State’s original schedule called for it to alternate road and home games throughout the regular season for the first time in school history.
UCA GAME POSTPONED UNTIL OCT. 10: Arkansas State’s game against UCA, originally scheduled for Sept. 19, was rescheduled for Oct. 10 due to being unable to assemble a full two-deep depth chart at one specific position group. The Red Wolves and Bears last played each other in 2016.
TULSA GAME POSTPONED: Arkansas State announced last week that its game against Tulsa, originally scheduled for Sept. 26 was postponed due to being unable to assemble a full two-deep depth chart at one specific position group (position group was different from the UCA postponement). Arkansas State and Tulsa officials are mutually working together to find a new date to reschedule the game, and the A-State Athletics Department will provide an update when available.
A-STATE vs THE SUN BELT: Arkansas State has won 56 of its last 71 Sun Belt Conference games (.789 winning percentage) to run its all-time record in the league to 88-51. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against ULM with 27. A-State has defeated every team in the conference since the football league was formed in 2001. Along with ULM and Louisiana, A-State is one of three teams that have been a part of the conference since its inaugural football season.
UNBUCKLE THE BELT: The Red Wolves stand 13-6 all-time in Sun Belt Conference openers. They have won six of their last seven league openers, including a 50-43 win over Troy last season. A-State, which is playing its first Sun Belt game on the road for the fourth consecutive year, is 5-1 in conference openers under head coach Blake Anderson. A-State has played ULM in its Sun Belt Conference opener more than any other opponent, facing the Warhawks four times to beg in league play. This will be the first time A-State has played Coastal Carolina in a Sun Belt opener.
RED WOLVES OCTOBER: Arkansas State holds a 24-6 record over its last 30 games played in the month of October. A-State had won 11 games in a row during the month prior to falling to Appalachian State on Oct. 9, 2018.
THE NOMINEES ARE...: As selected by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), the four nominees for the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week included Arkansas State after the Red Wolves defeated Kansas State 35-31 in Manhattan on Sept. 12. Fellow Sun Belt member Louisiana earned the weekly award after defeating No. 23 Iowa State 31-14 in Ames.
POWER PLAY: With its 35-31 road win over Kansas State, the Red Wolves collected their first win over a Power 5 conference opponent since defeating Texas A&M 18-14 in 2008. It also marked their second win over a Power 5 team since moving to FBS status in 1992. In the process, A-State handed Kansas State its first defeat in a home opener since a loss to North Dakota State in 2013. The Red Wolves’ victory also marked just the eighth time an opponent has defeated K-State over the Wildcats last 84 regular-season non-conference home games.
FOR STARTERS: Fifteen (15) A-State players made their first career start with the Red Wolves over the team’s first two games of the season. The total includes six offensive and nine defensive players.
OFFENSE (6): Brandon Bowling (WR), Dahu Green (WR), Jamal Jones (RB), Ethan Miner (OL), Wyatt Luebke (OL), Roshauud Paul (WR)
DEFENSE (9): Elery Alexander (S), Taylon Doss (CB), Jaden Harris (LB), Tahj Herring-Wilson (CB), Fred Hervey (LB), Noel Iwuchukwu (DL), Samy Johnson (CB), Justin Rice (LB), Vidal Scott (DL)
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Twenty-three (23) A-State players have earned their first playing time with the Red Wolves this season, including nine true freshmen, seven FBS transfers and five junior-college transfers who are all new additions to the Red Wolves’ roster in 2020.
TRUE FRESHMEN (9): Jack Bullard (DS), Taylon Doss (CB), Antwon Fegans (S), Kenneth Harris (CB), Lincoln Pare (RB), Corey Rucker (WR), Javar Strong (S), Trevian Thomas (S), Israel Whitmore (LB)
FBS TRANSFER (7): Giles Amos (Sr., TE), Ryan Hanson (R-Fr./P), Javan Hawes (Jr./WR), Tahj Herring-Wilson (CB), Roshauud Paul (Jr./WR), Justin Rice (Sr./LB), Kennan Solomon (Jr./DL)
JC TRANSFER (5): Avery Demmons (Jr./OL), Booker Ficklin (Jr./CB), CJ Harris (R-Fr./DB), Fred Hervey (Jr./LB), Vidal Scott (Jr./DL)
WATCH ME, WATCH ME: A-State has five players on at least one major watch list for the 2020 season, including four offensive players and one specialist.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arkansas State has obtained bowl eligibility status each of the previous nine years (2011-19) and 12 times over the previous 15 seasons. Arkansas State has become bowl eligible in 10 games or less each of those seasons. Since moving to FBS status in 1992, the earliest A-State ever became bowl eligible was in 2011 when it was 6-2 through eight games.
HOME SWEET HOME: Arkansas State has strung together 15 consecutive years (2005-19) with a winning record at Centennial Bank Stadium dating back to 2005. The Red Wolves are now 68-17 (.800 winning percentage) since the 2005 season and have won 43 of their last 53 home outings. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at Centennial Bank Stadium is 160-80-1 since it opened in 1974. A-State’s six home wins in 2011 were its most since 1985. The 2011 season also marked the last time the Red Wolves went undefeated at Centennial Bank Stadium.
BOWL STREAK: Arkansas State has made a school-record nine consecutive bowl-game appearances (2011-19), which is the third longest streak in the Group of 5 and ranks 14th in the nation among all FBS programs.
DECADE BY DECADE: The Red Wolves won 79 games from 2010-19, which were the most in a decade in a program history. Five of A-State’s all-time 12 conference titles also came during the 2010s. The Red Wolves .617 winning percentage (79-49) last decade was the second highest for a decade in program history. Arkansas State had a .627 winning percentage (66-39-1) from 1970-79, including two 11-0 seasons (1970-75). The program’s third best winning percentage (.609) for a single decade came from 1960-69 (54-34-4). A-State had nine winning seasons last decade, by far the most for a decade in program history. The previous record for winning seasons in a decade was six in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
NON-CONFERENCE HISTORY: In 2019, Arkansas State produced a .500 or better non-conference record for the second consecutive season, third time under head coach Blake Anderson and fifth time over the last nine seasons, but just the sixth time since moving to FBS status in 1992 (1995, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019). A-State posted a winning non-conference record (3-1) in 2018 for the first time since 1995 (3-2).
NINE STRAIGHT: Arkansas State has secured a winning record in a school-record nine consecutive seasons (2011-19). The next longest streak was six straight seasons from 1912-17. The Red Wolves piled up 75 victories from 2011-19 for its most over a nine-year span in the program’s 106-year history.
ELITE COMPANY: Arkansas State is one of just four teams in the nation to win at least five conference titles and appear in nine bowl games since 2011, joining Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma. The Red Wolves won the Sun Belt title in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and hold the 14th longest active streak in the nation for bowl game appearances with nine.
SUN BELT CHAMPS (5 of 9): The Red Wolves most recently won back-to-back Sun Belt titles in 2015 and 2016, compiling a 15-1 league record over that span. A-State also won the league title 2011-13, making it one of just two programs in league history with at least five SBC titles. The other is Troy (2017, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006).
300-PLUS: Dating back to the 2010 season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards total offense in 118 of its last 130 games (.908 percentage). A-State has produced 300 yards in 73 of 79 games during the Blake Anderson era.
400-PLUS: Arkansas State has hit the 400-yard total offense mark 55 times over its last 79 games (70 percent) since 2014, which was Blake Anderson’s first season as head coach. The Red Wolves have posted 400 or more yards total offense in 19 of their last 22 games.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: The Red Wolves have posted at least 30 points in 71 of their last 108 regular-season games (66 percent) dating back to the 2011 season. The Red Wolves have won 56 of their last 65 games when scoring at least 30 points.
IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Biletnikoff Award Watch List member Jonathan Adams Jr. put together one of his best career games on a huge stage during the Red Wolves’ 35-31 win at Kansas State. He was catapulted into the national spotlight, garnering interviews from media members such as Reggie Bush with FOX and multiple national awards. Following his performance that included eight catches for 98 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, he was named the national Player of the Week by the Maxwell Award and 247Sports and Offensive Player of the Week by Athlon Sports and the Frisco Bowl. He was also tabbed the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
RUSHING RED WOLVES: A Pair of A-State running backs posted career-best rushing numbers against Kansas State, including senior Jamal Jones and Lincoln Pare with 95 and 65 yards, respectively. Pare’s total included a 58-yard run that was the longest play of the season by A-State. Jones has already accumulated 159 rushing yards in two games for the 17th most in the nation.
CAREER GAME: A pair of A-State senior receivers set new career highs during the Red Wolves’ game at Memphis, including Dahu Green and Bubba Ogbebor. Green accounted for a career-best 99 yards on five catches, which tied his career high. Ogbebor finished with four receptions for 45 yards -- both career highs. Green and Ogbebor also posted the longest receptions of their career covering 39 and 26 yards, respectively.
A LOSS ON THE PLAY: Dating back to the 2015 season, the Red Wolves have posted at least five stops behind the line of scrimmage in 50 of their last 57 games. A-State has ranked among the top 40 teams in the nation four of the last five seasons (2016-20) in tackles for loss.
GETTING TO THE QB: A-State has ranked among the top 36 teams in the nation in sacks four of the last seven years (2014-20), posting a combined 204 sacks over that span. The Red Wolves have recorded at least one sack in 48 of their last 52 games dating back to the 2016 season.
PICK IT OFF: Dating back to last season, A-State has intercepted at least one pass three of its last four games and continues to be an opportunistic defense over the last seven seasons (2014-20) when the ball has been put in the air. During that time span, A-State has intercepted 92 passes that rank as the ninth most in the nation. Since 2014, San Diego State ranks No. 1 with 105 interceptions.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Arkansas State has recorded at least one turnover gained in 64 of its last 79 games dating back to the 2014 season. The Red Wolves have ranked among the top 33 teams in the nation in turnovers gained three of the last seven years (2014-20), and their combined 148 forced turnovers over that span are the 10th most in the nation.
DEFENSE IS THE BEST OFFENSE: Arkansas State has ranked among the top 21 teams in the nation in defensive touchdowns each of the previous six seasons (2014-19). In fact, the 2015 season saw the Red Wolves record an FBS-high eight touchdowns. The Red Wolves have 25 total defensive touchdowns over the previous six seasons.
DEFENSIVE STAND: Arkansas State limited Kansas State to 374 yards total offense (5.4 yards per play) and 91 rushing yards (2.3 yards per attempt). The last time A-State held a Power 5 conference opponent to less than 374 yards total offense was Missouri in 2015, when the Tigers posted 288 yards. K-State’s rushing output was the lowest by an A-State opponent from a Power 5 conference since at least 2000.
ON THE STOP: Sophomore cornerback Jarius Reimonenq recorded a career-high 11 tackles for loss, including a team-best two tackles for loss, during the Red Wolves’ road game at Memphis. Ten of his 11 stops were solo tackles and his two tackles behind the line of scrimmage tied his career high. Reimonenq also finished the Red Wolves’ season opener with one pass break-up, which came in the end zone on a third-down play to help hold Memphis to a field goal.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior kicker Blake Grupe was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on his only field goal try and converting all three of his extra point attempts to finish the Red Wolves’ season opener at Memphis with six points. Grupe earned the recognition for the third time of his career, also collecting the honor twice last season as a sophomore.