ASU at Florida International in-depth
ASU at FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL
ON TAP: Arkansas State will wrap up its regular season Saturday when it travels to Miami, Fla. to face the Florida International Golden Panthers at 2:30 p.m. (CT) in a game televised by the Sun Belt Network. Every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM?in the Jonesboro area, 88.3 FM in Litte Rock and at AStateRedWolves.com.
ASU COACH STEVE ROBERTS
THE PRINCIPALS: ASU wraps up a two-game road swing this weekend to bring its regular season to a close. The Red Wolves hold a 1-5 road record, while the Golden Panthers are 2-1 at home this year. ASU?dropped its last two games, including a 35-19 setback at Navy last Saturday. The Golden Panthers are riding a three-game winning streak and have pulled back to .500 on the year after dropping their first four games. A-State, which could still tie for the Sun Belt Conference title, can finish the regular season with a winning league record with a victory. FIU, which has two regular-season games remaining,?can reach bowl eligibility and clinch at least a share of the Sun Belt Conference title with a victory.
THE ARKANSAS STATE-FIU SERIES: ASU leads the all-time series with FIU 4-1, including a 27-10 victory over the Golden Panthers last season in Jonesboro. FIU's lone victory in the series came in 2008 in Miami by a 22-21 score. Arkansas State defeated Florida International each of the previous three seasons, including a 66-24 victory in 2005 in Jonesboro that was the first game ever between the two schools. ASU came back to pick up a 31-6 victory over the Golden Panthers in Miami in 2006 and picked up a 27-24 home win in 2007.
THE LAST TIME vs. FIU: JONESBORO (10/24/09) - Senior quarterback Corey Leonard rushed for 120 yards and passed for 149 yards and a touchdown to lead Arkansas State Red Wolves to a 27-10 Sun Belt Conference victory over FIU at ASU Stadium. Leonard's rushing yards were a career high, helping the Red Wolves outgain the Golden Panthers 430-223 yards on the night. Arkansas State jumped out to a 17-0 advantage, and the ASU defense kept FIU off of the scoreboard until a 36-yard field gold from Dustin Rivest cut the ASU lead to 17-3 with 15 seconds remaining in the third.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . .: Give the Red Wolves five conference victories, matching its most ever (2005) as a member of the Sun Belt Conference . . . Give the Red Wolves a winning conference record for the first time since 2008 and the fourth time as a member of the Sun Belt . . . Keep ASU?in the race for a shared Sun Belt Conference championship . . . Improve ASU's record to 5-1 all-time versus Florida International . . . Give A-State a victory in its regular-season finale for the second straight year
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.
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 played at least two nationally televised games for the second consecutive year in 2010. The Red Wolves actually played three this year, catching Indiana on ESPNU, Middle Tennessee on ESPN2 and Navy on CBS?College Sports.
DUAL THREAT: Not only does Ryan Aplin have 19 passing touchdowns, he has also recorded a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns for the most by an ASU?quarterback since 2002. Aplin's 19 passing touchdowns is a school record, and the last time an ASU?quarterback rushed for 11 or more touchdowns in a season was 1991 when Roy Johnson found the end zone 12 times.
Sophomore QB Ryan Aplin already owns
many of ASU's passing records.
APLIN BREAKS SCHOOL RECORDS: Already holding the single-season school records for total offense (3,260 yards), pass completions (244) and passing touchdowns (19), sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin broke the ASU records for passing yards (2,813), pass attempts (391) and total offensive plays (523) during the Navy game. Aplin is ranked among the top six players in Sun Belt Conference history for single-season touchdowns responsible for (3rd), passing yards (5th), total offense (4th), pass completions (6th) and passing touchdowns (T-6th).
TEAM RECORDS FALLING: A-State broke the school record for team passing yards (2,903) and team passing touchdowns (20) during the Navy game . . . ASU enters the FIU game need just four first downs and 254 yards of total offense to break the school records.
PILING UP THE YARDS: Arkansas State recorded over 400 yards of total offense three of the last four games and has now posted over 400-plus yards in seven games. Over the last four games, A-State is averaging 428.5 yards of total offense and 35.5 points per game.
RUSHING ROBERTSON: Junior running back Jermaine Robertson rushed for a career-high 92 yards last week against Navy, topping his previous his of 79 yards set against Middle Tennessee. Over the last four games, Robertson is averaging 59.0 yards per game, compared to 31.7 for the entire season.
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 132 rushes, while four players have carried the ball at least 33 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 55 plays (5.0 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 11 games played. Frampton has a team-high 67 receptions through 11 games, 20 more than any ASU?player had for all of last season. He has caught multiple passes in every game. Frampton needs five more receptions to tie the school record for a single season.
20 SOMETHING: Arkansas State scored at least 24 points in each of its first 10 games and is averaging 30.5 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.
IN THE ZONE: The Arkansas State offense has performed well in the red zone this season, scoring on 41 of 47 opportunities for an .872 percentage. That percentage is ranked first in the SBC and 27th in the nation in red zone offense. ASU's 41 scores in the red zone consist of 32 touchdowns and nine field goals. ASU has been perfect in the red zone in seven games this season.
300-PLUS: Arkansas State posted at least 327 yards of total offense in each of its first 11 games. Since 1954, and possibly throughout the history of the program, ASU?has never recorded 300-plus yards of total offense in 11 straight games. The Red Wolves recorded over
300 yards of offense in six games for all of last season.
DOUBLE-FIGURE TACKLES: Senior safety M.D. Jennings recorded a team-high 11 tackles against Navy, marking the second straight week and third time this year he has posted double-figure tackles. Jennings is currently ranked second on the team and 11th in the Sun Belt Conference in tackles with 76 this year.
KNOCK IT DOWN: Although junior cornerback Darron Edwards did not record a pass break-up the last three 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 second in the Sun Belt Conference and tied for 45th in the nation in passes defended with 10 to his credit (0.91 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, 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 has posted impressive numbers during its last three Sun Belt Conference games. The d-line recorded a season-high seven sacks by five different players against WKU. 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 33rd in the nation in sacks with 26. Over the last three SBC?games, ASU?has 15 sacks. Hall is ranked tied for 16th 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 13 turnovers over its last four games played, including six interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. A-State, which is ranked 16th in the nation in turnovers gained, has now recorded at least one fumble recovery in eight consecutive games and at least two interceptions in two of its last four games. The Red Wolves have recorded 24 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 .714 scoring percentage. A-State's 11 opponents this season have turned just 35 of their combined 49 red zone opportunities into points (23 TD, 12 FG).
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
EXPLOSIVE RETURNER: True freshman wide receiver and return specialist R.J. Fleming finished the Navy game with a career-high 96 kickoff return yards, including an 81-yard return that was the longest by an ASU player since 2001. Fleming is averaging 52.7 yards per return on three attempts this season with two returns of at least 60 yards.
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.
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 738 kickoff return yards this season, which ranks as the third most in school history for a single season. He needs 53 more yards to take over second 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."