TELEVISION: SUN BELT NETWORK (JONESBORO SUDDENLINK - COX SPORTS TELEVISION ch. 119)
LIVE STATS: ASTATEREDWOLVES.COM, TAPSTATS
ON TAP: Arkansas State continues Sun Belt Conference play this week, hosting Louisiana-Monroe at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in its 2010 home opener. Saturday's game will be televised by the Sun Belt Network, while every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area and the live radio broadcast can be accessed through the Arkansas State athletic website (AStateRedWolves.com).
THE PRINCIPALS: While Arkansas State is playing the second of three consecutive Sun Belt Conference games, Louisiana-Monroe catches the Red Wolves in its first league game of the season. A-State and ULM, which have both faced a nationally-ranked opponent from the SEC, will be competing in this week's only head-to-head game between two Sun Belt Conference teams.
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.
DOUBLE DUTY: A-State head coach Steve Roberts is one of just 12 coaches in the FBS that in addition to handling responsibilities as a head coach, also works as a position coach. Roberts has coached special teams since his arrival at ASU in 2002. Below is a list of head coaches in the FBS who also are position coaches: ASU, Steve Roberts (Special Teams) Ball State, Stan Parrish (Quarterbacks) BYU, Bronco Mendenhall (Def. Tackles) UConn, Randy Edsall (Safeties) Kent State, Doug Martin (Quarterbacks) Louisiana, Rickey Bustle (PK, LS and PR) UL Monroe, Todd Berry (Quarterbacks) Nevada, Chris Ault (Quarterbacks) San Diego St., Brady Hoke (Defensive Line) Tulsa, Todd Graham (Safeties) Utah State, Gary Andersen (Def. Tackles) Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer (Kickers)
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 41 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.
ROBERTS AND ASU STADIUM: Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts has led the Red Wolves to a 29-10 record at ASU Stadium over the last eight years for .743 winning percentage. Not only that, the Red Wolves are 20-5 at ASU Stadium over the last five seasons . . . Arkansas State is 14-4 in home conference games since 2005, its only setbacks coming against Troy in 2007 and 2009, Middle Tennessee in 2006 and Louisiana-Lafayette in 2009. The Red Wolves are 20-8 in home conference games all-time under Roberts.
ROBERTS IN CLOSE GAMES: Ninth-year skipper Steve Roberts has seen numerous close games during his tenure with the Red Wolves, holding a 23-18 record in games decided by eight points or less (42 percent of all his games). Following is his record in close games: Margin Roberts record 1 point 1-1 2 points 1-0 3 points 5-8 4 points 8-1 5 points 1-2 6 points 2-2 7 points 3-2 8 points 2-2
DOUBLE-DIGIT COMEBACKS: Arkansas State has rallied for a victory in seven games when trailing by double-digits under head coach Steve Roberts. Following is a year-by-year list of ASU's double-digit comeback victories under Roberts: Year Opponent Trailed by Final 2002 ULM 11 33-2 2003 ULM 14 44-41 2003 NMSU 10 28-24 2005 ULL 16 39-36 2005 UNT 10 31-24 2007 Memphis 25 31-24 2007 UNT 21 31-27 2008 TAMU 11 18-14 2009 WKU 17 24-20
17 AND UNDER: Arkansas State holds a 19-4 record under head coach Steve Roberts when holding its opponents to 17 points or less. The Red Wolves have won 16 of their last 18 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.
THE ARKANSAS STATE-ULM SERIES: ASU has played ULM 31 times, which is the fifth most in school history among all opponents. ULM leads the all-time series with Arkansas State 17-14 since the first meeting in 1959. As Sun Belt foes, ASU leads the series 5-4 despite dropping a 16-10 decision to the Warhawks last season in Monroe. ASU has won five of the eight meetings with ULM under head coach Steve Roberts, the only three setbacks over the last eight years coming 27-31 at ULM in 2005, 30-13 at ULM in 2007 and 16-10 at ULM last year. The home team has won the game the last five seasons.
FAMILIAR FOE: While Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe have both played as members of the Sun Belt Conference since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, it is not the first time the two teams have shared a league. The Red Wolves and Warhawks, both formerly known as the Indians, were both members of the Southland Conference from 1982 to 1986.
THE LAST TIME vs. THE WARHAWKS (Monroe, La. - Oct. 13, 2009): Down 16-0 at the half, Arkansas State rallied to within 20 yards of the tying touchdown with less than a minute to play but the Red Wolves came up short as Louisiana-Monroe held on for a 16-10 Sun Belt Conference victory at a rainy Malone Stadium.
The Arkansas State defense, led by linebacker Demario Davis with a then career-high 12 tackles, kept the Warhawks off the scoreboard in the second half as the Red Wolves scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Corey Leonard to wide receiver Brandon Thompkins and a 49-yard field goal from Ryan Wilbourn in the third quarter.
The Arkansas State defense held ULM to just 86 yards of total offense in the second half. Down 16-10 with 4:49 remaining in the game, Arkansas State took over on its own 20-yard line after ULM kicker Radi Jabour's 22-yard field goal attempt bounced no good off the left upright. The Red Wolves drove to the Warhawk 20-yard line in 11 plays with less than a minute to play but could not punch the ball into the end zone.
ULM jumped out to a 16-0 lead at the half. The Warhawks scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Trey Revell to LaGregory Sapp just 56 seconds into the game and a 20-yard field goal from Jabour in the first quarter. With 4:34 left in the second quarter, Frank Goodin rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Warhawks a 16-point cushion.
Leonard completed 20 passes on 39 attempts for 234 yards and a touchdown, while Thompkins led the team with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown to lead the ASU offense. Thompkins added 99 yards on four kickoff returns to finish the night with 194 all-purpose yards. Davis'12 tackles on the night included nine unassisted.
ARKANSAS STATE vs. THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE: Arkansas State is 59-60-1 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, the Red Wolves are 30-33 against all opponents that have been a member of the league. Against current members of the conference, ASU is 25-29 since 2001. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Lafayette with 17, while its most victories against a Sun Belt opponent since 2001 is Louisiana-Monroe and North Texas with five. The Red Wolves have defeated every team in the Sun Belt Conference since the football league was formed in 2001.
HOME OPENERS: Arkansas State is 7-1 in home openers at ASU Stadium under head coach Steve Roberts, who has led the Red Wolves to a 29-10 record on their home field. A-State has won its last five home openers, including a 61-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State last season. The last time ASU dropped a home opener was 2004 when it fell 47-35 to then-ranked No. 25 Memphis. In addition to Mississippi Valley State last season, Roberts' teams have also won home openers over Texas Southern (83-10 in 2008), SMU (45-28 in 2007), Tulsa (21-19 in 2002), Tennessee-Martin (63-6 in 2003 and 56-7 in 2005) and Army (14-6 in 2006).
APLIN EARNS SBC HONOR: Sophomore quarterback Ryan Aplin was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after passing for a school-record 438 yards and two touchdowns against Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend.
JENNINGS EARNS SBC HONOR: Senior safety M.D. Jennings was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 6 for his performance against nationally-ranked Auburn. Jennings posted double-figure tackles (11), including a career-high 1.5 tackles for loss, in a game for the fourth time of his career. He also recorded his second career forced fumble, fourth fumble recovery of his career and his third career sack.
APLIN NOTABLES: Ryan Aplin's 438 passing yards against Louisiana-Lafayette not only broke the ASU single-game record, but also tied UCF's Daunte Culpepper's total in 1998 for the most ever by an opponent at Cajun Field and are the most by any NCAA FBS player this season. Aplin, who passed for 278 yards in the Red Wolves' season opener at nationally-ranked Auburn, currently has the second most passing yards in the nation with 716. Aplin has posted a completion total that ranks among the top 10 in school history at both Auburn (28, tied for 3rd most) and ULL (25, tied for 6th most).
300-PLUS: Arkansas State posted at least 366 yards of total offense in each of its first two games, marking the first time since Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 (games 6 and 7) that A-State posted over 300 yards in back-to-back games. The Red Wolves recorded over 300 yards of offense in six games last season. ASU is currently ranked fourth in the SBC and 51st in the nation in total offense with 411 yards per game.
THREE'S COMPANY: The Red Wolves have three wide receivers ranked among the top 10 players in the league in both receptions and receiving yards. Dwayne Frampton and Allen Muse are both ranked among the top 10 players in both categories, while Anthony Robinson is tied for the seventh most receptions (4.5 per game) in the league and Taylor Stockemer has the 10th most receiving yards (61.5 per game). Frampton is ranked third in receptions (6.5 rpg) and fourth in receiving yards (84.0 ypg), while Muse is second in receiving yards (106.5 ypg) and tied for seventh in receptions (6.5 rpg).
MORE ON MUSE: Allen Muse recorded five receptions for 133 yards, both career highs, against Louisiana-Lafayette. He led A-State in receiving yards the week prior as well with 80 against Auburn. Muse's 133 receiving yards were 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 previous career long, originally set against Auburn last week. Muse is ranked 14th in the nation in receiving yards.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: Senior safety M.D. Jennings, named the SBC Defensive Player of the Week after the Auburn game, is ranked among the top 15 players in the conference in tackles (T14th, 7.0 tpg) and tackles for loss (T12th, 0.75 pg) and top five players in sacks (T5th, 0.5 spg).
DRAPER HAS CAREER GAME: Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Amos Draper had the best game of his young career, recording five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal against Louisiana-Lafayette that were all personal career bests. Draper made two big plays in the fourth quarter, blocking a field goal that led to an ASU scoring drive and recording his sack on a third-down play that put the Red Wolves in a position for the possible game-tying or winning drive with 2:22 left on the clock. Draper's five tackles tied the second most on the team.
BIG BOOT: While Dean Gericke has just three punts this season, he has made the most of his opportunities. Gericke is averaging 49.7 yards per punt, which is the highest average in the Sun Belt Conference and second in the NCAA FBS. However, Gericke does not have the minimum number of punts to show up on the SBC and NCAA stats. Two of Gericke's three punts have traveled at least 52 yards with a long of 64 against ULL last week. His only punt that didn't travel at least 50 yards was fair caught.
IN THE ZONE: The Arkansas State offense remained perfect in the red zone last week with three scores in three opportunities. A-State is now 7-for-7 in the red zone this season, scoring five touchdowns and kicking two field goals.
IN THE ZONE (PART II): The Arkansas State defense is ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference and 27th in the nation in red zone defense, holding opponents to a 66.7 scoring percentage. A-State's two opponents this season have turned six of their combined nine red zone opportunities into points (4 TD, 2 FG).
RETURN THREAT: A-State newcomer Rod Hall led ASU in total kickoff returns and return yards in each of the Red Wolves' first two games and is ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference and 38th in the nation in kickoff return average at 25.6 yards per return. Hall posted 81 yards on three returns vs. Auburn with a long of 40 yards and 98 yards on four returns with a long of 30 yards against ULL.
BEHIND THE LINE: Junior cornerback Darron Edwards recorded a career-high 2 tackles for loss against ULL, making him part of at least one tackle behind the line of scrimmage in each of A-State's first two games. Edwards is ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in tackles for loss with 1.25 per game. Edwards also posted four tackles in each of the first two games and a pass break-up against Auburn.
QUICK STRIKE "O": Four of A-State's six touchdown drives this season have taken under two minutes and none have been more than three minutes in length. All but one of ASU's nine scoring drives (TD and FG) have taken less than three minutes. It took A-State 1:49 or less to score all three of its touchdowns last week against Louisiana-Lafayette.
BIG PLAY: Arkansas State has ran 11 plays this season that have covered at least 20 yards, including nine last week against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves have already ran four plays that covered at least 53 yards with a long play of 65 yards (Ryan Aplin pass to Taylor Stockemer) against ULL.
EARLY START TO CONFERENCE PLAY: Prior to this season, the earliest A-State had ever played a Sun Belt Conference opponent was the third game of the season (Troy in 2009). A-State has not played three of its first four games against league foes since the 1995 season when it was a member of the Big West Conference. ASU's first three SBC games include outings against two of the top four teams in the conference's preseason coaches poll (UL Lafayette, 4th; Troy, 2nd). ASU is involved in the only Sun Belt Conference games played both this week and last week.
96th SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off its 96th season of football on Sept. 4 at nationally-ranked Auburn. ASU holds a 412-445-37 record since the inaugural 1911 season and has played in seven bowl games. A-State did not field a football team from 1942-44 due to World War II. ASU also didn't have a team in 1918 as World War I was ending.
STRESSING ACADEMICS: The Arkansas State football team won the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award for the 2009-10 academic year, marking the seventh time over the last eight years it has accomplished the feat.
THE TOP 25: Auburn was the 12th ASU opponent ranked among the nation's top 25 teams at the time of a game with the Red Wolves under head coach Steve Roberts. Following is a list of ranked opponents that ASU has played under Roberts: No. 2 Alabama (2008), L, 0-35 No. 4 Texas (2007) L, 13-21 No. 4 LSU (2004) L, 3-53 No. 6 Auburn (2006) L, 0-27 No. 13 Iowa (2009) L, 21-24 No. 16 Virginia Tech (2002) L, 7-63 No. 17 Missouri (2004) L, 20-52 No. 18 Nebraska (2009) L, 9-38 No. 22 Auburn (2010) L, 26-52 No. 25 Memphis (2004) L, 35-47 No. 25 Mississippi (2002) L, 17-52
TEAM CAPTAINS: ASU's senior class will alternate throughout the year as team captains. The team will vote on permanent captains at the end of the year. Following is a list of captains for each game: Auburn: Etu, Robinson, Gaston, Hall ULL: Moody, Newton, Williams, Prater
PRESEASON ALL-SBC ACCOLADES: Three Arkansas State football players were tabbed Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference, including Defensive Player of the Year Bryan Hall, offensive lineman Derek Newton and linebacker Demario Davis.
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS: The Red Wolves are predicted to finish third in the conference according to the league's 2009 preseason coaches poll, announced July 19 as part of the Sun Belt Conference Media Days. ASU received 53 points, while first-place Middle Tennessee won the vote with 75 points.
STRONG D: Arkansas State has ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference and among the top 50 teams in the nation each of the last four years in total defense. Below is a break down of ASU's defensive statistical rankings for the last four years: Year SBC Rank National Rank YPG 2009 1 41 340.5 2008 2 46 336.5 2007 1 43 362.3 2006 2 32 309.4
NATIONAL COVERAGE: Arkansas State will play at least two nationally televised games for the second consecutive year in 2010. The Red Wolves will catch Middle Tennessee at home on Nov. 2 in a game televised by ESPN2 and Navy on the road on 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: Arkansas State currently has seven televised games scheduled for the regular season, the second most in school history. A-State played eight regular-season games on television last season for the record. The Red Wolves have three league games (UL Lafayette, ULM, FAU) televised on the Sun Belt Network, while the Auburn game was carried by Fox Sports South. The Troy game will be televised by the Troy/ISP Network, the Middle Tennessee game by ESPN2 and the Navy game by CBS College Sports.
TURF INSTALLATION COMPLETED: Installation of a new and state-of-the-art field turf surface inside ASU stadium was completed as scheduled after a final inspection of the project was conducted in late July. The field is in practice and playing condition for the beginning of the Red Wolves fall camp today. The new GeoSurfaces field turf is slightly thicker than the previous product, which was installed when ASU originally transitioned from a grass field to an artificial playing surface prior to the 2006 season. The field also has a sand base for the first time in addition to the "no fly-out" rubber installed. The field also has a new look with two new Red Wolves logos, white Sun Belt Conference logos and black trim around the outside of the playing field.