JONESBORO, Ark. (10/29/2011) - The Arkansas State Red Wolves chalked up their fifth-consecutive victory and became bowl-eligible with a 37-14 victory over the North Texas Mean Green Saturday night in Sun Belt Conference football action at ASU Stadium.
With the win, Arkansas State improved to 4-0 in SBC action and 6-2 overall, rolling up 540 yards on the night while holding North Texas to just 283.
Junior quarterback Ryan Aplin finished the night 28-of-42 passing for 322 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 69 rushing yards. With his three touchdowns on the night, Aplin moved into third-place all-time at ASU with 34 career scoring passes.
"I was really pleased with the way our kids came out," said ASU head coach Hugh Freeze. "I thought the game plan our coaches had was really well put together and I thought the intensity our kids brought in the first half was phenomenal in all three phases. I thought our cover teams were excellent, I thought our defense was really, really good and I thought the offense was pretty solid too. The first half was probably our best half of football.
"I think the thing that impressed me most was the intensity level, and I was worried with the 11 days off - you aren't sure how your kids are going to come out," Freeze added. "We certainly preached all week long that we needed to prepare for this game just like we had prepared for all the others, and I think they got the message."
Aplin directed the Red Wolves to scores on five of its first six possessions in the first half as A-State built a 31-0 lead at the break. The Red Wolves rolled up 365 yards of total offense in the first half, while holding the Mean Green to just 82.
Aplin completed all six of his pass attempts on the opening drive, moving A-State 74 yards for the game's first touchdown, a four-yard run from freshman running back Frankie Jackson. A 48-yard field goal from placekicker Bobby Zalud on the Red Wolves' second possession gave ASU a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Senior punter/holder Neely Sullivent scored from 14 yards out on a fake field goal to give ASU a 17-0 lead with 9:26 remaining in the half, and Aplin threw a pair of 12-yard touchdown passes, the first to wide receiver Allen Muse and the second to wideout Taylor Stockemer to send the Red Wolves into the locker room with the 31-0 advantage at the half.
North Texas got on the scoreboard with a one-yard run from tailback Lance Dunbar midway through the third quarter to cut the Arkansas State lead to 31-7, and the score held until Aplin completed his third touchdown pass of the night, a 10-yardstrike to wideout Dwayne Frampton. The touchdown came with 3:48 remaining in the game and stretched the Arkansas State lead to 37-7.
North Texas scored late when quarterback Andrew McNulty found wide receiver Brelan Chancellor in the left corner of the end zone from 23 yards out with 1:01 remaining to set the final at 37-14.
Defensively, the Red Wolves were led by linebacker Demario Davis with a season-high 12 tackles and one quarterback sack. Davis' sack was one of four delivered by the ASU defense, with defensive tackle Dorvus Woods notching one and one-half, defensive end Brandon Joiner adding one and linebacker Nathan Herrold finishing with one-half sack. Linebackers Nick Nelms and Qushaun Lee each added six tackles, with Herrold, safety Sterling Young and defensive end Tim Starson each posting five stops. Safety Kelcie McCray recorded his third pass interception of the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver Josh Jarboe hauled in seven passes for 96 yards, Frampton added six catches for 77 yards and Stockemer and Muse each caught three passes for 38 yards. Running back Derek Lawson added 63 yards on 12 carries and Jackson finished with 44 yards on nine attempts.
The Red Wolves will return to action Nov. 5 when they travel to Boca Raton, Fla. for a 3:00 p.m. Sun Belt Conference matchup with the Owls of Florida Atlantic.
ARKANSAS STATE POSTGAME NOTES
vs North Texas, OCT. 29, 2011
Arkansas State is now bowl eligible for the first time since 2008 and for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. This is the first time that ASU has been bowl eligible after its first games and the six wins matches their most ever as an FBS member (1995, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008).
Arkansas State is now 13-8 against North Texas all-time and has won the last seven meetings against the Mean Green. ASU's seven game winning streak is the longest their longest against any Sun Belt opponent.
A-State is 56-27-1 all-time in Homecoming games and has now won eight of their last nine Homecoming games. This year's homecoming king was Broc Arender and the queen was Candi Biggers.
Arkansas State has now won its last eight games against teams from Texas, including wins over North Texas, Southern Methodist, Texas Southern and Texas A&M.
The victory gave Arkansas State its best record through its first eight games since 1986 when it went 6-1-1 at a member of the I-AA Southland Conference.
The 4-0 record in conference play is the best as any league member since 1986 when it started 5-0 in the Southland Conference.
ASU has its first five-game winning streak since 1986 when it won eight in a row that season.
Frankie Jackson recorded a team-high fourth rushing touchdown of the year with a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter. All four touchdowns have come against different opponents.
Junior QB Ryan Aplin has taken over third place at Arkansas State for career total offense with 7,083 yards. He passed Roy Johnson who had 6,779 yards from 1988-91.
Senior wide receiver Dewayne Frampton now has a recorded a reception in 20 straight games - one for every game he has played for ASU.
Ryan Aplin's 30-yard rush in the first quarter tied for his longest of the season.
Allen Muse caught his second touchdown pass of the season with a 12-yard pass from Ryan Aplin in the second quarter. He has seven touchdown receptions for his career and is one shy of tying for ninth place all-time on the career touchdown reception list.
Ryan Aplin moved into third place on the all-time career touchdown pass list. He now has 34 career touchdown passes, passing James Hamilton (1968-71) who had 32.
Taylor Stockemer recorded his second touchdown reception of the year in the second quarter and the eighth of his career to move him into a tie for ninth most in school history.
Ryan Aplin became the third player in ASU history to complete 500 or more passes in his career. He now has 509 completions for his career.
* Aplin has gone over 300 yards of total offense for the 5th time this year (including the last 2 games in a row) and 10th time of his career. He finished the night with 391 yards of total offense.
Arkansas State finished the night with 540 yards of total offense, the third most this season. (611 vs. Memphis and 646 vs. UCA)
Dewayne Frampton caught his fourth touchdown pass of the season in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Aplin has matched his career high for passing touchdowns in a game with three, which is also tied for the fourth most in a game all-time.
Brandon Joiner has now recorded at least a partial sack 10 of ASU's last 13 games. It was his fifth sack of the season, which leads the team.
Dorvus Woods recorded a career-high 1.5 sacks on the night.
Demario Davis recorded his second sack of the season in the second quarter.
ASU recorded at least three sacks in a game for the fourth time this season.
ASU's defense recorded tied its season high with five sacks. It also recorded five sacks against Memphis
Demario Davis had a season-high 12 tackles and was two shy of tying his career-high.
Kelcie McCray recorded his 3rd interception this season, which ties the most on the team. He now has nine career interceptions.
ASU's defense still has not allowed a player to go over 100 yards rushing this season.
ASU's defense held its opponent under 300 yards of total offense for the second straight game and for the third time this season (FIU and Memphis).
Bobby Zalud is now 5-8 on field goals on the year after making a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter. He is now 4-5 in field goals between 40-49 yards.
Neely Sullivent recorded his first career touchdown on a 14-yard run in the second quarter. It was also the second rushing attempt of his career.