Arkansas State wanted it more against Louisiana-Lafayette in what many believed was a game played for the Sun Belt Conference championship.
The Red Wolves, 30-21 winners, stayed atop the Sun Belt standings with an unblemished conference record while also improving to 5-0 at home and pushing its winning streak to seven games with the victory.
ASU began the game with a 17-0 lead early into the second quarter and went in 20-7 at the break but the Ragin' Cajuns were able to score the first 14 points of the second half to take a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
Quarterback Ryan Aplin gave the Red Wolves the lead for good with his four yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. The play was set up by ASU linebacker DeMario Davis interception and 27 yard return off Louisiana-Lafayette backup quarterback Chris Mason.
"I was supposed to be blitzing on that play," Davis said. "Watching film, I knew the drag was coming across and it was in my hands."
Brian Davis added a 21 yard field goal with 2:49 left in the game to finish the scoring and help send ASU fans into more excitement during the 2011 season.
The Red Wolves outgained Louisiana 397-394 while forcing four turnovers, all in the first half, on defense.
--Arkansas States eight victories are its most since 1987 and the Red Wolves need just one more conference victory to clinch at least a tie for the Sun Belt Conference title.
--Representatives from the New Orleans Bowl and GoDaddy.com Bowl traveled to Jonesboro to watch a game that featured two teams fighting for the Sun Belt Championship as each appear to be headed to having an extra game added on to the end of their season.
--ASU only allowed one 100 yard rusher going into the game and only allowed the Cajuns 66 yards rushing on 28 attempts for a 2.4 average meaning the Red Wolves have allowed only one 100 yard rusher in 10 games with Florida Atlantics Alfred Morris being the only to surpass the century mark.
KEEP AN EYE ON: LB Demario Davis -- Davis finished the game with seven total tackles, five solo while also intercepting a pass and returning it 27 yards. He was also credited with two quarterback hits. The interception helped set up Ryan Aplins touchdown run late in the third quarter to give the Red Wolves a 27-21 lead and control of the game for good.
LOOKING GOOD: Arkansas States defense recorded four interceptions in the game including three of the Rgin Cajuns starter Blaine Gauthier who had only two interceptions thrown along with 17 touchdowns coming into the game. Interceptions came from linebacker Demario Davis, safety Kelcie McCray and corners Darron Edwards and Darryl Feemster.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Arkansas State appears to be clicking in all phases of the game accept for the mental errors. Despite the victory ASU was penalized 12 times for 83 yards.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We knew it would be a hard fought game and I can't tell you how proud I am of the young men, coaching staff and people that are part of our program right now." -- Coach Hugh Freeze
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--QB Ryan Aplin threw for 226 yards on 20 of 32 passing and a game-high 80 rushing yards. Aplin also threw for two touchdown passes, both to Taylor Stockemer.
--WR Taylor Stockemer appeared to be a mismatch for the Red Wolves against Louisiana hauling in three passes for 79 yards and two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Stockemer only had one reception the rest of the game finishing with 85 yards.
--DE Brandon Joiner recorded four sacks, giving him at least a partial sack in 12 of ASU's last 15 games. Joiner finished the game with. Joiner finished the game with 4.5 tackles for 29 yards of total losses.
--QB Ryan Aplin left game for one play in the second half and backup QB Andre Smith came in to run a 3-yard keeper to set up an ASU punt. Aplin left the game after taking a hit and appearing to have the breath knocked out him, lying on his knees for a moment.