DENTON,Texas The Arkansas State Football team accomplished a couple of goals here Saturday at Apogee Field, they became bowl eligible with a 37-19 win over North Texas but more importantly they stayed in the race for winning their second straight Sun Belt Conference Championship.
The Red Wolves win, coupled with Louisiana Monroe's loss to Louisiana Lafayette, leaves ASU in a three way tie for first place.
"We definitely control our own destiny," Gus Malzahn said after his team's big win in Denton. "There is a lot of football left to play, this Thursday night's game against Monroe is going to be a huge game, we need every ASU fan that we can get to turnout for this big game."
Malzahn had said last week that his team was more focused on the North Texas game and the possibility of becoming Bowl Eligible.
"We knew that North Texas would be a tough matchup at their place," Malzahn said. "To win on the road in this conference isn't easy to do. Being Bowl eligible is great, but we aren't concern with just winning six games, we have three more games to win, that's our goal and vision for this team."
A win over Louisiana Monroe Thursday night in Jonesboro will be big for Arkansas State fans for a couple of different reasons.
It will put ASU in a tie for first place with one less team, it will also give the Red Wolves an opportunity to pull out a win over a team that beat the in-state Arkansas Razorbacks.
t will also give Arkansas State a leg up in their recruiting efforts in the state of Arkansas.
Monroe appears it will come into Jonesboro without their best player, Quarterback Kolton Browning. It's being reported that Browning may have suffered an injury that will end his 2012 season.
Middle Tennessee upset Western Kentucky on National Television Thursday night in Bowling Green, to give the Hilltoppers their second loss of the season, paving the way for Arkansas State to control their own destiny by winning the remainder of their games.
Arkansas State, 6-3 and 4-1 in conference play, have three remaining games with Louisiana Monroe on Thursday night on ESPNU before traveling to Troy the next weekend. The Red Wolves will be off for Thanksgiving weekend before returning home to host Middle Tennessee in the season finale.
The Red Wolves only conference loss this season was the Sun Belt opener at home against Western Kentucky.
Since that loss, Malzahn's Red Wolves have shown marked improvement offensively, especially in their last two games against ULL and North Texas.
"We are starting to click offensively," The Sun Belt reigning Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Aplin. "When this offense gets going it can be hard to stop. My offensive line is playing great, I don't think I got touched only a couple of times. We have a lot of weapons offensively."
Aplin isn't shy about what goals this football team has.
"We want to repeat as conference champions," Aplin said. "We have to take one game at a time, our focus is now on Louisiana Monroe."