NMSU Game Wrap-Up
On senior day, the Red Wolves ran wild on offense, set a school record and Sun Belt Conference mark for total offense. They finished with 764 yards on 73 plays. The 10.5 yards per play is the best in school history against an FBS opponent.
The victory gives A-State its fourth straight winning season and a 35-16 mark the past four seasons. Easily the best record for a senior class as a FBS team.
“The good news is it can’t go any worse that it did in the first half,’’ said coach Blake Anderson. “Between the penalties and touchdowns called back and the few explosive plays, it probably can’t get any worse . We’re still right where we want to be. I thought the third quarter was going to be critical and we really got things moving in that direction.”
%%MATCH_13%% led 27-21 at the half. The Aggies (2-10) hit consecutive scoring plays of 80 and 75 yards and led 21-20 with 10:14 left in the period. Michael Gordon’s 19-yard run off a late option pitch and the Red Wolves followed that up with a strong third quarter to take control.
In that third quarter, the Red Wolves scored an 8-yard run by Gordon, a 2-yard run by Knighten and a 22-yard pass from Knighten to Kenneth Rains. It was actually the start of scores on five straight second-half possessions. The Red Wolves added scores on a run of 7 yards by Brandon Byner and 32 yards by Tyler Trosin.
“We took advantage of the wind and took advantage of the short field, but really just to them that it can’t get any worse; it’s bound to get better and it did.”
The Red Wolves ran the ball at ease most of the second half. They finished with 469 yards on the ground and Knighten (157), Gordon (143) and Johnston White (110) all rushed for 100 yards.
SOME BRIGHT SPOTS
Blaise Taylor. The freshman continued to do an impressive job in the return game. He had two punt returns for 37 yards and three kickoff returns for 70 yards. He also had a big hit on a running play where there was a lot of 3 yards.
Brandon Byner. The freshman running back scored his first career TD on a run of 7 yards. He had 11 yards rushing on the day on 2 carries and caught a pass for 12 yards.
Michael Gordon. The junior running back gained 143 yards on 18 carries and also caught a pass for 45 yards, which was a touchdown. In all he scored 4 touchdowns.
Johnson White. The redshirt freshman walk-on running back had 110 yards on just 12 carries and showed a toughness running inside.
A FEW NUMBERS
*%%MATCH_12%% ran four more plays than the Red Wolves but had 272 less yards.
*Fredi Knighten was just 5 yards short of Ryan Aplin’s school record for total offense in a game with 449 yards.
*Luke Ferguson punted three times for a 48.3 yard and had a 69 yard kick downed at the 1.
*11 tackles for safety Money Hunter, 10 of the solos and had a career-first QB sack. Q Lee also finished with 11.
“They struggled to stop the run and we knew that coming in and so we had challenged the offensive line all week that we needed to run the ball.”
“The tempo was moving pretty good and it seemed like every other play was an explosive play.” – Blake Anderson.
“We got the school record and the conference record. That is all that matters. “ – A-State QB Fredi Knighten.
“We played a good football team today. They’re going to be in a bowl game, and have been in bowl games these last few years and what they have built here is really special and my hats off to them. That’s the level we are trying to get to.”
What it means: The Red Wolves finished the second with a big victory and now must wait to see if they get a fourth-straight bowl bid.
The crowd: The announced attendance was at 21,043.
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