Coming into this weekend it was known that Redshirt Junior Ryan Aplin was already back into the swing of things with the passing game. With the powerful receiving core that Aplin has to throw to, it's been hard to single out any single one of them as the go to receiver as they all received close to equal amounts of touches. This was not the case however Saturday night against the Memphis Tigers, as Josh Jarboe was a clear standout player .
In the first quarter Aplin was able to hook up with Jarboe for a 10 yard touchdown that started off the air raid that made the score 10-0. Jarboe, a Junior transfer, wasn't even close to being done for the night. As the Red Wolves started off the second quarter, Aplin took a snap and experienced a little pressure as the pocket started to collapse. Aplin avoided a sack and quickly found a wide open Jarobe over the middle. Jarboe turned on his speed and took the ball 71 yards for a touchdown.
If that play wasn't enough evidence of Jarboe's athleticism then his catch in the 3rd quarter certainly proved it. As Memphis got the ball to start off the new half they had a quick three and out. When the Red Wolves got the ball they started a drive down the field. Aplin took a snap on the Memphis 13 yard line and spotted Jarboe to his left. Aplin released the pass and Jarboe noticed the low ball and made a nice diving catch for a 12 yard pick up. That set up a one yard rush by Redshirt Freshman Frankie Jackson. After the game Head Coach Hugh Freeze praised Jarboe for his performance.
"I'm really proud of Josh, he's obviously very close to me, and I feel like he's doing a great job of rewriting his story. We've just gotta finish it," Freeze said. "Everybody knows he's a talented player, and a part of the game plan was to find ways to isolate him, and Aplin did a great job of stepping up in the pocket a few times to throw to him, and he made some really nice catches. I'm thrilled with his game."
Aplin then later commented on the 71 yard touchdown pass.
"It's one of the plays we work on in practice-we call it the touchdown play-the line did a good job of giving me a pocket and I stepped up, and I almost took off running then I saw Jarboe come across the middle."
Jarboe didn't have any secret to the show he put on, he just said he happened to get the chances he was looking for Saturday night.
"I'm just taking the chances that were given to me. I was waiting on my chances, and they came this game. I took what I had," Jarboe said.
After the press conference a reporter was overheard speaking with Jarboe about Jarboe mentioning to him that he was waiting for his "coming out game." This was the exact game he was looking for as Jarboe finished with seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
There may or may not be many games like this for individual receivers due to the fact the receiving core is too strong across the line, but this game definitely revealed that the Red Wolves have a strong playmaker in Jarboe and he will be a huge difference maker as the season goes on.
t should be interesting to see how Jarboe finishes this year stats wise, but its games like these that show the true talent of the Arkansas State receiving core and just how good the players are individually.