Most smaller schools from the Sun Belt Conference aren't suppose to be competitive against the bigger named conferences.
Someone forgot to tell ASU first year Head Coach Hugh Freeze and his Red Wolf Football team.
Arkansas State led in both games in the first half but were unable to go into the locker room with the lead. This is where and what the Red Wolves must fix in future games on its schedule.
Giving up big plays has cost ASU and Freeze in games that they weren't suppose to win but showed signs that they were capable of pulling off the upsets.
Playing in hostile environments are not suppose to be easy. Making turnovers against bigger schools is not the ingredient to having success in these type games.
After going up 7-0 in the beginning minutes of the game and then surviving with a goal stand, the Red Wolves appeared that they had fixed past woes and was ready to bring it to the Hokies.
After VT picked up a safety and ASU kicked the ball to Virginia Tech, the Red Wolves gave up a 49 yard touchdown. Again a big play led to ASU's opponents regaining the valuable thing called momentum.
ASU then drove the ball down to Tech's 38 yard line when Ryan Aplin threw an interception ending the Red Wolves attempt to retake the lead.
Another big play ending up giving the Hokies another score and a bigger halftime lead. A 44 yard pass reception set up the home team's next touchdown.
Instead of going into half with a lead, the Red Wolves found themselves in a familiar situation.
What I'm talking about is the Illinois game. This is where the Red Wolves went up 8-7 on a Brian Davis 47 yard field goal with 2:42 seconds left in the first half. A big play of 45 yards gave Illinois the lead 14-8 with just 1:26 left in the first half. The home team wasn't through scoring. With the Red Wolves in their 2:00 minute offense and Aplin pass was picked off after it a tipped ball came off the hands of an ASU wide receiver.
Giving up big plays, turnovers and drop passes have deeply contributed to Arkansas State's two losses.
The good news is that these are the two toughest teams that Arkansas State will face this fall.
While Coach Freeze cringes when anyone speaks of a moral victory. He doesn't believe in them. Instead he demands more of his team. This showed after the Illinois game against Memphis and it will again show up against UCA.
Not many people expected ASU to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday, the ones that believed that, were the ones in that locker room.
Positives to take away from these tough two money games are quite plentiful.
It has showed this team that they can play ball against the big boys. It shows that this team is improving.
Get rid of turnovers and giving up the big play on defense and this is a team that can do special things this fall.
This team will be road tested again when they play Western Kentucky and Louisiana Monroe in back to back ballgames.
You can count on Freeze reminding his team of what happen against Illinois and Virginia Tech. This may be what catapults this team to a Sun Belt Championship, it definitely has to be on the minds of every Red Wolf fan in AStateNation.