Missouri State (1-1) at Arkansas State (0-2)
Centennial Bank Stadium, 6 p.m.
Radio: EAB Red Wolves Sports. TV: ESPN3.
Series Record: A-State leads 2-1.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
After being one of two FBS programs to open the season against two Top 25 teams, the Red Wolves get to step back and have the shoe on the other foot this week. A-State will be a big favorite against the FCS program from Springfield, Mo. Arkansas State needs a victory to get the season turned around for the nine games left against peer programs. Missouri State is starting over under former Mizzou assistant Dave Steckel. The Bears had major turnover issues in their loss to Memphis and got on the winning track last week against Division II Chadron State.
Arkansas State RS freshman quarterback James Tabary gets his first start with the groin injury to Fredi Knighten last week. Tabary has seen spot duty in two game and played the final quarter of the 24-17 loss to No. 21 Missouri last weekend in Jonesboro. Will this be a perfect setting for Tabary to get his feet wet as a starter against a Missouri State defense that is allowing 38 points and 450 yards per game? The Bears have just one sack in two games and are minus 2 in the turnover margin.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arkansas State: The Red Wolves’ offensive line. This is still a unit that is working on cohesion after being put together in tact in fall camp because of prospects missing time because of injuries. The Red Wolves had more than 400 yards offense in the opener vs. USC and had a tougher time, especially in the second half against Missouri.
Missouri State: Redshirt freshman QB Breck Ruddick produced 197 yards of total offense in his first start, marking the biggest single-game output by a freshman QB since Cody Kirby totaled 278 vs. SEMO in 2007. Ruddick's 55-yard scoring run vs. Chadron State marked the longest for a Bears signal-caller in 22 years and sophomore running back Calan Crowder ran for a career-high 164 yards on 23 carriesSaturday.
FACTS & FIGURES
Missouri State brings a 1-1 record into the contest, but is looking for its first road victory since Sept. 20, 2014. Since joining the FCS in 1982, the Bears are 1-31 against FBS opponents with their lone victory coming 31-24 at UNLV in 1990. All the games in this series have been in Jonesboro, where Missouri State won 37-20 in 1991. ASU holds a 41-15-3 record vs. Missouri Valley Conference teams. The Red Wolves have won their last 10 games against FCS foes and 21-4 against FCS opponents since moving to the FBS in 1992. A-State has not lost three straight games in the same season since the last three contests in 2010. The Red Wolves have lost 3 straight counting the GoDaddy Bowl vs. Toledo. MSU’s defense limited Chadron State to four combined third and fourth-down conversions in 17 attemptsSaturday. The Bears currently rank 35th nationally in pass defense (184.5 ypg). Sophomore Deion Holliman averaged 12 yards on three punt returns last week, which is 15th nationally.