LAFAYETTE, La. (09/11/10) - A 31-7 fourth-quarter deficit proved to be too much to overcome as the Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-2, 0-1) suffered a 31-24 loss to the Ragin' Cajuns (1-1, 1-0) of Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday afternoon at Cajun Field in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.
The Red Wolves trailed by 24 points early in the final period before reeling off 17 straight, but the rally fell short when ULL safety Maurice Rolle intercepted ASU sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin with 1:59 remaining in the game to end A-State's final drive.
Aplin passed for a school-record 438 yards in the loss, completing 25 of 45 passes with two touchdowns passing and one rushing. Aplin's 438 yards also tied a Cajun Field record, matching former Central Florida quarterback Daunte Culpepper's mark set against ULL during the 1998 season. Sophomore wideout Alan Muse hauled in five passes for 133 yards from Aplin, the most yards for an ASU player since the 2000 season.
A pair of first-quarter scores from the Cajuns handed A-State an early 10-point deficit.
Louisiana-Lafayette tailback Kevis Streeter went 69 yards on the Cajuns' first play from scrimmage to put ULL on the board early in the game, and a turnover deep in ASU territory set up the second Ragin' Cajun score. After ULL defensive back Melvin White recovered a Red Wolves fumble at the A-State 17, the Cajuns used a 27-yard field goal from Tyler Albrecht to take a 10-0 lead with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Arkansas State answered on its next play from scrimmage when Aplin found wide receiver Taylor Stockemer alone across the middle for a 65-yard touchdown that cut the ULL lead to 10-7, but the Cajuns countered with three unanswered touchdowns to build a 31-7 cushion into the third quarter.
The Ragin' Cajuns took advantage of Arkansas State's second turnover to increase their lead to 17-7 midway through the second quarter. Louisiana-Lafayette took over at the ASU 32 following a fumbled punt return and got the touchdown on a six-yard pass from quarterback Chris Masson to tight end Ladarius Green with 7:11 remaining in the half.
A 47-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Javone Lawson to wideout Andrew Joseph stretched the ULL lead to 24-7 with just over four minutes to play before the break.
Masson broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that gave the Ragin' Cajuns a 31-7 advantage before A-State freshman Bobby Zalud made it 31-10 with a 39-yard field goal with 13:24 remaining in the game.
Aplin scored on a five-yard touchdown run with 7:42 remaining that cut the ULL lead to 31-17, then passed for an 11-yard touchdown to wide receiver Anthony Robinson with 3:27 to play that trimmed the deficit to a touchdown, but Rolle's interception ended the Red Wolves' rally.
Defensively, the Red Wolves were led by linebacker Javon McKinnon's nine tackles, which was two short of his career high. Defensive lineman Bryan Hall added five stops, including one quarterback sack.
Arkansas State will return to action Sept. 18, when the Red Wolves host Louisiana-Monroe in ASU's home opener. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. in a game televised by the Sun Belt Network.
* ASU's 65-yard scoring pass in the first quarter was both the longest pass of quarterback Ryan Aplin's career and the longest reception of Taylor Stockemer's career. The duo hooked up for a 64-yard pass last season against ULL that was their previous long . . . The 65-yard completion is also the longest by an ASU team since 2007, when Corey Leonard completed an 84-yard pass to David Johnson against Louisiana-Lafayette as well.
* QB Ryan Aplin passed for a school-record 438 yards. That total ties the Cajun Field record for passing yards by an opponent, originally set by Dante Culpepper of Central Florida in 1998.. His two TD passes were a career high as well. His 45 attempts tied the fifth most in school history and his 25 completions ties the sixth most.
* QB Rayn Aplin threw for over 200 yards for the second consecutive game. It marked the first time since the fourth and fifth games of last season that A-State posted over 200 passing yards in back-to-back games.
* QB Ryan Aplin rushed for one touchdown and passed for another, giving him a career-tying 2 touchdown's responsible for.
* ASU completed a pass to at least five different wide receivers for the second consecutive game. The Red Wolves had 9 different players record a reception for the second straight game as well.
* WR Anthony Robinson recorded a team-high six receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, which were all personal career highs.
* WR Allen Muse recorded five receptions for 133 yards, both career highs. He led A-State in receiving yards last week as well with 80 against Auburn.
* Muse's 133 receiving yards are the 21st most in school history for a single game. The last time an A-State player recorded more receiving yards was in 2000. The last time an ASU player recorded 100 or more receiving yards was Sept. 20, 2008 when Jarriel Norman posted 108 yards against Middle Tennessee. Muse had a 61-yard reception that tied his career long of 61, originally set against Auburn last week.
* Amos Draper recorded his first career tackle for loss, his first career forced fumble, first career blocked field goal and a career-high four tackles.
* Javon McKinnon recorded a team and personal season-high 9 tackles, just two shy of his career-high 11 set at Tennessee on Sept. 22, 2007.
* Darron Edwards recorded a career-high 2 tackles for loss, making him part of at least one tackle behind the line of scrimmage in each of A-State's first two games.
* Bryan Hall posted his first sack of the season and has 9.5 for his career. Hall also tied his career-best tackles total with five.