Arkansas State thrilled the second-largest home crowd in school history on Saturday night.
The Red Wolves (1-1), playing in front of 29,872, rolled up 611 yards of total offense while holding Memphis to just 169 yards en route to a 47-3 victory over the Tigers in the home game debut for first-year coach Hugh Freeze.
ASU took a 3-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Brian Davis and never trailed in the game, building a 14-3 lead before extending it to 30-3 at the half. ASU scored its remaining 17 points in the third quarter before cruising to the finish.
Before the Red Wolf offense was able to get in gear, the defense was able to pressure Memphis true freshman quarterback Taylor Reed, an Arkansas native, forcing a fumble on his third play from scrimmage to set up ASU's first three points.
The victory was the largest over Memphis in nearly a century. ASU beat the Tigers 41-0 in 1915.
"I could not be more thrilled with the effort that was given," Freeze said. "I thought coach (Dave) Wommack and our defensive staff had a great plan. We challenged them all week "and are thrilled to know that they bought into those challenges to expect more out of themselves."
ASU's 611 yards of offense were the seventh most in school history and most since 1984. The game also marked the 14th consecutive in which the ASU offense tallied 300 yards of total offense.
ASU's defense held the Memphis offense to an average of 2.5 yards per play and allowed no play longer than 18 yards. The only points allowed came on a 37-yard field goal from Arkansas native Paulo Henriques in the second quarter.
ASU's offense ran 79 plays and had four scoring drives of 65 yards or more, including 82, 85 and 90-yarders.
Keep An Eye On: WR Josh Jarboe-The redshirt junior caught seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns playing behind the Memphis secondary for most of the game. The touchdown receptions covered 10 and 71 yards. Jarboe signed with Oklahoma as a five-star recruit of high school but was kicked off the team without ever playing a down. He then spent two years, including a redshirt year at Troy, before being kicked off the team and going to junior college for a year and signing with ASU. After just over 50 yards receiving in Week 1, Jarboe looks to be having some chemistry with junior quarterback Ryan Aplin.
Looking Good: The ASU defensive line managed to sack Memphis true freshman quarterback Taylor Reed five times and forced him to scramble or throw the ball away on a number of other plays. The defensive line also played a key role in holding the Memphis offense to only 82 yards rushing on 38 attempts.
Still Needs Work: The Arkansas State offensive line started the game with only one returning starter off last year's unit, sixth-year senior Tom Castilaw, and things didn't turn out so well against the Illini's Big Ten defensive front in the first game of the season. ASU only managed 60 rushing yards on 32 attempts for a rushing average of 1.9 yards an attempt.
Freshman Frankie Jackson led all ASU runners with 39 yards on 11 rushes. Things changed against Memphis but the Tigers could be ASU's easiest test this season. ASU gained 236 rushing yards on 46 attempts against Memphis.
Quote To Note: "Any win is a good one, particularly when you are playing in a rivalry game that means so much to our fans and our university. But we'll keep it in perspective, it's one win in a 12-game schedule."-ASU head coach Hugh Freeze.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
QB Ryan Aplin completed 19 of 21 passes to fall just short of the school record for completion percentage. He finished the game with 274 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters of action before giving way to backup Andre Smith. One of his incompletions was an interception on the first drive of the game.
PK Bobby Zalud kicked a 56-yard field goal with 36 seconds to play in the third quarter for the final points of the game for the Red Wolves. The kick tied for the third-longest in Arkansas State history.
RB Frankie Jackson, a freshman, posted the first 100 yard rushing game of his brief ASU career, rushing for 101 yards on just 10 carries, including a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The touchdown was his second of the year. He scored ASU's only touchdown in the season-opener at Illinois.
RB Sirgregory Thornton was back in action after starting the season-opener at Illinois when he had to leave after just one play. Thornton left the opener with a leg injury that coaches didn't want to risk aggravating but was back in action against the Tigers, rushing for 67 yards on seven rushes.