In a 53-24 win over UCA, 23 of Arkansas State's points were scored by kicker and player of the game Brian Davis, a sophomore from Brentwood, Tenn. Davis broke school and Sun Belt Conference records Saturday night, and nearly broke an NCAA record.
"I'm very excited to see Brian and that unit perform the way they did, but certainly don't want to have to depend upon that every single game to get the points," said head coach Hugh Freeze.
Davis had six FG's on the night, an ASu and Sun Belt record, and just one shy of setting a new NCAA record for FG's in one contest. He also set ASU and Sun Belt scoring records with his 23 points in the game.
"Things just kind of clicked. Today I just kinda knew it was my day," Davis said. "I thought the snapping was great, Trey did a really great job snapping — they were perfect every time. Neely did perfect holding, and the line was blocking really well. Ryan was giving us opportunities getting down the field."
Davis had missed a FG at Virginia Tech a week ago and had a tough week at practice, but said something just clicked for him during the UCA game.
"It was kind of a rough week and even before the game during warm-up kicks it was kind of weird, but then something clicked," Davis said.
Freeze jokingly commented that after practice this week, he was about ready to just bench him and go for it on fourth down every time.
"He told me he had it, and I trusted him, and he executed very, very well," Freeze said. "I'm thrilled for Brian."
Davis knew after missing a big scoring opportunity at Virginia Tech a week ago that he had to mentally get back to where he needed to be to help his team, and his record breaking performance against UCA proved that he was successful in doing that.
"Last week I felt terrible, not really for me, more for my team. I hate letting my team down, especially Ryan working his butt off to get down the field," Davis said. "Right then and there I knew something had to change, my mindset had to be right. Even last week during practice it was difficult, but today something clicked."
Davis had one FG in the first quarter, three in the second, one in the third, and the last of them came with 11:13 left in the fourth. Only one FG away from setting a national record, Freeze said if he had known Davis was so close to an NCAA record, they probably would have kicked again.
"I had no idea. I didn't even know he set the school record until Jerry told me in post-game," Freeze said. "If I knew it had been a national record, we probably would have kicked it. Not trying to rub anybody's nose in it, but we certainly want to honor our kids as much as we can."
Davis was certainly honored for his performance against UCA, and though he was short of an NCAA record, his name goes in the record books for ASU and the Sun Belt Conference in two different categories. It's something to be proud of, and worth giving recognition to, which is why he's this week's ASN Player of the Game.