Penalties. Saturday night was simply a frustrating mess with 14 penalties and most of those assessed against the offensive line. The Red Wolves had trouble maintaining momentum and it really took the crowd out of the game fairly early. Idaho was simulating snap counts and the result was false start penalties and several snaps before Adam Kennedy was ready. While the officiating crew should have put a stop to it, they didn't. As I always say, if the officials didn't throw a flag, it wasn't a foul. A-State has to overcome that when the officials miss it.
Defense. While it would seem that the A-State defense struggled against the Vandals letting them back in the game, the Vandals capitalized on two offensive failures for 14 of their 28 points. The inability to convert on 4th down set-up a 42 yard TD drive and a rare poorly thrown ball by Adam Kennedy that was picked off resulted in a 39 yard TD drive (after the pick six was called back for a penalty on the return). Idaho mustered two drives of 50 yards the entire game. "So what? Idaho is bad" you might answer. Against #17 Fresno State the Vandals had four drives of 50 or more, two of those in the first quarter ended in turnovers. Against #23 Northern Illinois they posted five, the last resulted in a turnover. A-State allowed Idaho fewer sustained drives than two top 25 teams did and allowed more yards than Fresno but fewer than NIU.
Offense. One mistake by Kennedy, some penalties with the help from the Vandals, but overall a good night. Seven drives of 50 or more yards not counting the kickoff return. Adam Kennedy's passing and running produced 11 more yards offense than the entire Idaho team. A-State produced more offense against Idaho than Northern Illinois and 170 less than Fresno but Fresno had the help of gaining four more turnovers. The Red Wolves had 150 more yards than Washington State did routing Idaho.
Special teams. A 98 yard kickoff return is a quick way to re-energize a team fighting an early lead hangover and McKissic's return got the Red Wolves back on track but it wasn't just that one return. McKissic had returns of 98 and 27 yards, R.J. Fleming had one for 56 yards and Julian Jones had returns of 23 and 22 yards. McKissic had 48 yards on five punt returns with a long of 19 yards. Paul Jones had punts of 47 and 38 yards and Luke Ferguson had punts of 38 and 34 yards. Idaho managed only one punt return for one yard and six kickoff returns netted only 122 yards with a long of 26.
Facing the Cajuns. UL Lafayette moved a half game ahead of A-State by winning at Western Kentucky on Tuesday night. The Hilltoppers out-gained the Cajuns 471-344. The Cajuns scored 20 points off turnovers but completed only 5 passes in the game on 12 attempts. The A-State run defense is going to face a tough challenge as Louisiana rushed 52 times for 254 yards. Cadona punted four times averaging 44.5. WKU was 23 of 29 for 338 passing.
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