The View from Section E, Troy

Arkansas State has taken the early lead in the Sun Belt. Looking at some of the key reasons Arkansas State is now 2-1.

Depth was huge in the win. A-State substituted frequently. While the Red Wolves used fewer players than Troy, the rotation pace was such that Arkansas State was clearly stronger in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was when Troy began having players come off with cramps. A-State began getting better pressure and Troy began having to hold just to stem the pressure. A-State struggled some with the rotation drawing substitution penalties but those penalties had far less impact than the holds Troy was flagged for in the fourth quarter.

The two-point play. Whether you agree with the decision or not, the play called for that strategy was right. It was simply failed execution leading the receiver too much as a result of running the same direction before throwing. Execute the play and A-State has a 15-0 lead and the pressure on Troy is even greater.

Yards after contact. While it is easy to remember the yards after contact Troy picked up, A-State had quite a few as well, most notably from Julian Jones and Adam Kennedy.

The defensive stats in context. Several times you are going to see some writer or message board poster citing the 614 yards given up to prove A-State's defense is struggling. Let's give it some context. Troy's Robinson had thrown 51 passes coming in and completed all but four with no interceptions. He attempted 51 passes against A-State and had 21 incompletions with three picks. A-State defensive pressure was a major reason he threw five times as many incomplete passes. Porter's pressure resulted in the deflection that Draper intercepted. Robinson had three players bearing down on him when he threw short and was picked by Hayes and that was a third and long forced by the defense that became longer when Coleman was held. The game sealing interception by Frankie Jackson wasn't near any Troy receiver as Robinson dumped it and hoped for the best just before being flattened. Porter caused another incompletion hitting Robinson's arm as he threw. Draper got a hand in causing a key fumble in the red zone.

The heat ASU brought against an offense that is built around dumping the ball before pressure can develop allowed Troy plenty of opportunities to exploit the A-State defense but it also led directly to four turnovers and contributed to Troy punting five times after punting only four times in the past two games combined.

The Kennedy Report. Adam Kennedy was asked to take the ball deeper than Robinson on a higher percentage of plays but had the same completion percentage. Other than faking a screen to Houston then turning back and throwing to Houston after drawing the defense up and missing a block on the double reverse Kennedy had a great night.

Harsin vs. Malzahan vs. Freeze. After three games A-State was 1-2 under Freeze with a lethargic effort at lllinois, a romp over Memphis and had been whipped by Va.Tech. A-State was 1-2 after three under Malzahn having lost at Oregon, overcoming multiple mistakes to beat Memphis and then had a lousy offensive effort against Nebraska. Harsin is the first coach to be 2-1 after three games in his first season at ASU since Larry Lacewell in 1979