S. Alabama at A-State in-depth preview
S. Alabama (3-6) at A-State (3-6)
2 p.m. Saturday
RADIO: 107.9 FM Jonesboro, 106.7 FM Little Rock
LIVE STATS: AStateStats.com
LIVE GAME NOTES: twitter.com/AStateGameDay
THE PRINCIPALS: The Red Wolves look to snap a four-game skid Saturday when they host South Alabama in their first home game in nearly a month. A-State faces its third consecutive Sun Belt Conference West Division opponent after falling at Louisiana and Texas State by a combined nine points. It will carry a 3-6 overall mark into the contest, needing a win in each of its final three regular-season games to secure at least a .500 record for the 10th consecutive season. South Alabama enters the game having dropped its last four contests and holding a 3-6 overall record. Although the Jaguars are just 2-4 in Sun Belt play, they stand in second place in the West Division.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . : improve its record to 29-8 over its past 37 games played in the month of November . . . improve its home record vs. South Alabama to 5-0 and run its all-time record against the Jaguars to 7-2 . . . guarantee the Red Wolves at least a .500 record at Centennial Bank Stadium for the 16th consecutive season . . . move Blake Anderson into a tie with Bill Davidson for the third most all-time victories by an A-State head coach.
BY THE NUMBERS...
1 of just two all-time programs to win five Sun Belt Conference championships.
5 Sun Belt Conference titles (2011-13, 2015, 2016) over the last nine seasons (2011-19).
7 or more victories each of the last nine seasons (2011-19) -- first time in school history.
7 of A-State’s 12 scoring drives this year consuming at least 4 minutes were posted over the last two games.
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.
10 receiving touchdowns by Jonathan Adams Jr. are tied for the second most in the nation.
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.
15 consecutive seasons with a winning record at Centennial Bank Stadium (2005-19).
16 explosive plays (15+ pass, 12+ rush) vs Texas State were A-State’s season high.
16.0 total tackles for loss by Justin Rice are the most in the nation.
22 A-State players made their first career start with the Red Wolves over the first eight games.
30 or more points scored by A-State in 74 of its last 115 regular-season games (64 percent).
37 all-time Sun Belt wins under Blake Anderson are the second most in league history by any head coach.
50 victories under Blake Anderson (2014-20) are the most by an A-State head coach over his first 7 seasons.
54 of the last 59 games the A-State defense has recorded at least one sack.
55 of the last 64 games with at least 5.0 tackles for loss by the A-State defense.
57 Sun Belt Conference victories over the last 10 (2011-20) seasons (57-22 league record).
61.7 winning pct. (79-49) from 2010-19 for A-State was the 2nd highest in program history for any decade.
78 victories by A-State over the last 10 seasons (2011-20) ranks tied for the 27th most in the nation.
89 all-time Sun Belt victories by A-State -- the most in the history of the league by any program.
195.5 A-State rushing average the last two games compared to 105.7 over its first seven outings.
300 or more yards total offense in 126 of last 137 games (92%), including all but five under Blake Anderson.
352.6 passing yards per game by A-State is the 6th highest average in the nation & highest in school history.
400 or more yards total offense in 59 of 86 games (69%) during the Blake Anderson era.
478.2 yards total offense per game is the 18th highest in the nation & second highest in school history.
973 receiving yards by Jonathan Adams Jr. are the third most in the country.
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 50 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 50 wins in 85 or fewer games -- Bennie Ellender won 52 times over his 76 total games between 1963-70, and Bill Davidson collected his 50th victory in 82 games from 1971-78.
SUSTAINED SUCCESS: Head coach Blake Anderson is one of 13 active FBS coaches who have won 50 games all at the same school. Gary Patterson heads the list with 173 career victories at TCU.
50 WIN CLUB: Blake Anderson collected his 50th career victory as A-State’s head coach with the Red Wolves’ 59-52 victory over Georgia State on Oct. 15, making him one of four head coaches in school history to win 50 games at the school. He joined Larry Lacewell (1979-89), Bill Davidson (1971-78) and Bennie Ellender (1963-70). Anderson needs one more victory to tie Davidson for the third most wins in school history out of the program’s 30 all-time head coaches.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Thirty-nine (39) of the Red Wolves’ 50 wins under head coach Blake Anderson have come by 10 or more points. At the same time, six of their 11 single-digit victories under Anderson have been posted over the Red Wolves’ last 14 outings dating back to last season. Last year, 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 2,109-1,080 in the 50 wins under Anderson for a 20.6-point average scoring difference.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Blake Anderson has led the Red Wolves to a pair of Sun Belt titles and collected 37 league wins along the way, which are the second most ever by any of the conference’s all-time head coaches.
CHANGE OF PLANS: Arkansas State didn’t announce Central Arkansas and Kansas State as additions to its 2020 schedule until Aug. 7 and 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.
A-STATE ADDS UIW TO 2020 SCHEDULE: The Arkansas State Athletics Department announced last week that a December 12 home game against the University of the Incarnate Word has been added to the football team’s 2020 schedule and also that the Red Wolves’ Sun Belt Conference contest against ULM was rescheduled for Dec. 5 . . . The addition of UIW gives A-State a pair of December games at Centennial Bank Stadium and three consecutive home contests to conclude its regular-season competition. As of now, the Red Wolves are slated to host South Alabama on Nov. 28, ULM on Dec. 5 and UIW on Dec. 12 . . . The UIW contest replaced A-State’s game against Tulsa, which was postponed earlier this year and unable to be rescheduled during the 2020 season. The Red Wolves’ game against the Warhawks was previously announced for Dec. 12, but moved up a week to accommodate Sun Belt Conference scheduling . . . Arkansas State will play Southland Conference-member UIW for the first time in school history. The outing is currently the Cardinals only game this fall, but they have a six-game spring schedule slated to begin Feb. 20 against Sam Houston State.
THE A-STATE vs. SOUTH ALABAMA SERIES: Arkansas State holds a 6-2 all-time record against South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference series that dates back to just 2012. Five of the eight meetings have been decided by 10 points or less, including last season when the Jaguars won 34-30 in Mobile.
A-STATE vs THE SUN BELT: Arkansas State has won 57 of its last 77 Sun Belt Conference games (.740 winning percentage) to run its all-time record in the league to 89-56. 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.
DOWN THE STRETCH: Arkansas State is set to play its final three regular-season games at home for the first time since 1998. Additionally, A-State will play two regular-season games in the month of December for the first time in school history and its Dec. 12 game versus UIW will be the latest date the Red Wolves have ever played a regular-season game.
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 70-18 (.795 winning percentage) since the 2005 season. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at Centennial Bank Stadium is 162-81-1 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.
ON THIS DATE: Arkansas State holds an unblemished 4-0 record all-time when playing on Nov. 28. The Red Wolves claimed their first victory on the date in 1946 with a 30-12 home win over Central Arkansas. They most recently played on Nov. 28 in 2015, defeating New Mexico State in Las Cruces by a 52-28 score. A-State defeated Jackson State 35-32 on Nov. 28, 1987, in the FCS (I-AA) playoffs, while also knocking off North Texas 30-26 at home in 2009.
RED WOLVES NOVEMBER: Dating back to the 2011 season, Arkansas State holds a 28-8 record over its last 36 games played in the month of November. The Red Wolves had won nine consecutive games in the month before dropping its 2019 regular-season finale against South Alabama.
FOR STARTERS: Twenty-two (22) A-State players made their first career start with the Red Wolves over the team’s first nine games of the season. The total includes nine offensive and 13 defensive players.
OFFENSE (9): Giles Amos (TE), Brandon Bowling (WR), Avery Demmons (OL), Dahu Green (WR), Jamal Jones (RB), Ethan Miner (OL), Wyatt Luebke (OL), Lincoln Pare (RB), Roshauud Paul (WR)
DEFENSE (13): Elery Alexander (S), Taylon Doss (CB), Booker Ficklin (CB), CJ Harris (S), Jaden Harris (LB), Kenneth Harris (CB), Tahj Herring-Wilson (CB), Fred Hervey (LB), Amir Howard (S), Noel Iwuchukwu (DL), Samy Johnson (CB), Justin Rice (LB), Vidal Scott (DL)
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Twenty-eight (28) A-State players have earned their first playing time with the Red Wolves this season, including 11 true freshmen, seven FBS transfers and six junior-college transfers who are all new additions to the Red Wolves’ roster in 2020.
TRUE FRESHMEN (11): Jack Bullard (DS), Taylon Doss (CB), Antwon Fegans (S), Kenneth Harris (CB), Elliott Nimrod (K), Lincoln Pare (RB), Corey Rucker (WR), Javar Strong (S), Trevian Thomas (S), Israel Whitmore (LB), Austin Woods (OL)
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 (6): Avery Demmons (Jr./OL), Booker Ficklin (Jr./CB), CJ Harris (R-Fr./DB), Fred Hervey (Jr./LB), Quinton Lee (DL), Vidal Scott (Jr./DL)
NON-CONFERENCE RECAP: With its 50-27 win over UCA on Oct. 10, A-State improved to 2-1 in non-conference games. In the process, the Red Wolves secured at least a .500 non-conference record for the third consecutive season, fourth time under head coach Blake Anderson and sixth time over the last 10 seasons, but just the seventh time since to FBS status in 1992 (1995, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020). A-State posted a winning non-conference record (3-1) in 2018 for the first time since 1995 (3-2).
THREE ROAD OUTINGS START 2020 SEASON: Arkansas State played its first three games on the road this season for the first time since 1999. Records also indicate that in addition to 1999, the 2020 season marks just the second time in school history that A-State played its first three games on the road. The Red Wolves didn’t play their first home game until Oct. 10, which was the latest date for an A-State home opener since Oct. 14, 1950.
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 had defeated K-State over the Wildcats last 84 regular-season non-conference home games.
WATCH ME, WATCH ME: A-State has six players on at least one major watch list for the 2020 season, including four offensive players and one specialist.
BILETNIKOFF : Jonathan Adams, Sr., WR
WUERFFEL: Andre Harris Jr., Jr., OL
OUTLAND: Jarrett Horst, Jr., OL
LOU GROZA: Blake Grupe, Jr., K
DOAK WALKER: Marcel Murray, Jr., RB
RIMINGTON TROPHY: Jacob Still, Sr., C
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.
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.
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.
106TH SEASON: Arkansas State kicked off its 106th season of football Sept. 5 against Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. A-State holds a 484-498-37 record since the inaugural season and has played in 17 bowl games. A-State did not field a 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.
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 125 of its last 137 games (.912 percentage). A-State has produced 300 yards in 80 of 86 games during the Blake Anderson era.
400-PLUS: Arkansas State has hit the 400-yard total offense mark 59 times over its last 86 games (69 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 23 of their last 29 games.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: The Red Wolves have posted at least 30 points in 74 of their last 115 regular-season games (64 percent) dating back to the 2011 season. The Red Wolves have won 58 of their last 68 games (85 percent) when scoring at least 30 points.
RACKING UP THE YARDS: Arkansas State recorded a season-high 654 yards of total offense last week at Texas State for the eighth most yards in school history for a single game. The Red Wolves went over 600 yards in a game for the second time this season, raising their season average to 478.2 yards per game that ranks as the second highest in school history.
RECORD BREAKERS: During the Arkansas State-Georgia State game that saw the two teams combine for the most points (111) in Centennial Bank Stadium history and tie the fifth most in Sun Belt history, the Red Wolves put up passing numbers that ranked among the best in both A-State and Sun Belt history. Below is a closer look at those stats:
8 TD PASSES: School record ... tied the most in Sun Belt history ... most in the NCAA this season
551 PASS YDS: School record ... 2nd most in Centennial Bank Stadium history ... 3rd most in Sun Belt history ... 3rd most in the NCAA this season
40 COMPLETIONS: 2nd most in school history ... 4th most in the NCAA this season
34 FIRST DOWNS: Tied school record ... tied Centennial Bank Stadium record
111 COMBINED POINTS: Centennial Bank Stadium record ... tied 5th most in Sun Belt history
JONATHAN ADAMS 15 RECEPTIONS: tied school record ... Centennial Bank Stadium record ... tied 2nd most in Sun Belt history ... tied 2nd most in NCAA this season
BUSTING LOOSE: True freshman running back Lincoln Pare has shown the ability to come up with explosive plays out of the backfield this season, recording the two longest runs of the season for the Red Wolves and averaging a team-best 6.2 yards per carry. Pare scored on a 48-yard touchdown run against Appalachian State, while also posting a 58-yard rush against Kansas State that is the third longest play of the year (rush or pass) by the Red Wolves.
OVER 1,000: Senior running back Jamal Jones went over 1,000 career rushing yards during A-State’s game last week at Texas State after producing his first career 100-yard game. He finished the outing with 106 yards on the ground and a touchdown, giving the Red Wolves a 100-yard rusher for the second consecutive game.
ABOVE AVERAGE: Sophomore wide receiver Jefferson Foreman recorded a career-high 148 receiving yards against Texas State last week, but even more impressive was that he did it on just three receptions to give him a school-record 49.3 yards per reception.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK: Freshman running back Lincoln Pare not only ran for a career-high 121 yards against Louisiana on Nov. 7, it marked the first time an A-State player hit the 100-yard rushing mark in since Marcel Murray recorded 175 yards against ULM on Nov. 2 of last season.
TD STRIKE: Junior quarterback Logan Bonner has thrown at least one touchdown pass in six games this season and in nine of 13 career games as a starter, including eight outings with multiple touchdown passes. During his 12 starts since 2019, he has posted 23 touchdown passes and has 24 for his career. He has completed at least one touchdown pass to 10 different receivers, including Omar Bayless (7), Jonathan Adams (5), Kirk Merritt (3), Dahu Green (3), Brandon Bowling (2), TW Ayers (1), Corey Rucker (1), Giles Amos (1) Reed Tyler (1) and Christian Booker (1).
TD STRIKE (PART II): Including seven of the last eight games this season, sophomore quarterback Layne Hatcher has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 of 20 career games. Additionally, he has thrown at least two touchdowns in 13 outings and has 41 career touchdown strikes, which are the sixth most in school history. He has thrown at least one touchdown to nine different receivers, including Omar Bayless (11), Jonathan Adams (10), Kirk Merritt (9), Brandon Bowling (5), Dahu Green (2), Lincoln Pare (1), Giles Amos (1), Jefferson Foreman (1) and Reed Tyler (1).
TAG TEAM: Through seven games, the A-State quarterbacks combo of Logan Bonner and Layne Hatcher is averaging 342.9 passing yards per game that would be the fifth highest average of any single quarterback in the nation. They have also combined for 27 passing touchdowns that would be the second highest total in the country. Between the two of them, they have 555 career completions for a combined 7,335 yards and 66 touchdowns.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: A-State has 18 players who have recorded at least one reception this season. Through nine games, that is already three more players who caught a pass for the Red Wolves than they had for all of last season. The Red Wolves have seen at least seven players catch a pass in every game this season and at least nine post a reception in six of nine outings, including a season-high 10 against Kansas State, Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. A-State has 10 players with at least five catches this year, while it had eight players with at least five for all of last season.
ON A ROLL: Senior wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. has posted at least five catches in each of A-State’s first nine games and his 7.8 receptions (70 total) per game ranks ninth in the nation. Dating back to the 2017 season, the Jonesboro, Ark., native has caught multiple passes in 24 consecutive games. Adams posted 15 receptions against Georgia State that tied J.D. McKissic (2013 at Missouri) for the school record. He has 157 career receptions that are the fifth most in school history.
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 55 of their last 64 games. A-State has ranked among the top 40 teams in the nation four of the last six seasons (2015-20) in tackles for loss.
GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK: A-State has ranked among the top 27 teams in the nation in sacks four of the last seven years (2014-20), posting a combined 216 sacks over that span. The Red Wolves have recorded at least one sack in 54 of their last 59 games dating back to the 2016 season.
PICK IT OFF: Dating back to last season, A-State has intercepted at least one pass seven of its last 11 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 97 passes that rank as the eighth most in the nation. Since 2014, San Diego State ranks No. 1 with 110 interceptions.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Arkansas State has recorded at least one turnover gained in 69 of its last 86 games dating back to the 2014 season. The Red Wolves have ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in turnovers gained six of the last seven years (2014-20), and their combined 158 forced turnovers over that span are tied for the eighth most in the nation.
DEFENSE IS THE BEST OFFENSE: Arkansas State has ranked among the top 30 teams in the nation in defensive touchdowns each of the last seven seasons (2014-20). In fact, the 2015 season saw the Red Wolves record an FBS-high eight defensive touchdowns. The Red Wolves have 26 total defensive touchdowns over the last seven seasons.
IMPRESSIVE FIRST START: Making his first career start at A-State on the defensive side of the ball, defensive end TW Ayers posted a career-high 10 tackles, which also included a career-best 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack against Louisiana on Nov. 7. Ayers has posted at least one sack in three of the last four games and his 4.0 total for the entire year are tied for the ninth most in the Sun Belt Conference.
THE NATION’S LEADER: Senior linebacker Justin Rice has recorded 16.0 tackles for loss this season that are the most in the country. He has posted at least one stop behind the line of scrimmage in six games and 2.0 or more in five outings. Rice also has 7.0 sacks on the year that rank second in the Sun Belt Conference, while his 7.3 tackles per game is the 10th best average in the league.
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior linebacker Justin Rice was named the Walter Camp FBS Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 11 after recording 12 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks during A-State’s 50-27 win over Central Arkansas. Rice, who posted career-best totals for both tackles for loss and sacks, is the first A-State player to ever be named a Walter Camp national player of the week.
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.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
HANSON EARNS SBC WEEKLY HONOR: Redshirt freshman punter Ryan Hanson was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 12 after posting new season-best numbers for punts (5), yards (260), average (52.0), punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line (3) and longest punt (69 yards) during A-State’s victory over Central Arkansas. His 52.0 average per attempt was the best by a Sun Belt player this season and ranked as the fifth best in school history for a single game.
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.
KICKOFF RETURNS: Junior wide receiver Roshauud Paul has posted 23 kickoff returns for 544 yards, giving him a 23.7 average per return that ranks as the 28th highest in the country and second best in the Sun Belt Conference. Paul’s top return this season covered 45 yards at Kansas State. The Red Wolves top kick returner last season, Kirk Merritt, finished the season with 415 yards and a 27.7 average per return that ranked as the fourth highest in school history.