Blake Anderson says it is important because it is “the next one. It’s one of 12.”
So, the Arkansas State Red Wolves’ next game is at Appalachian State on Thursday evening at 6:30 in front of an ESPNU crowd.
So this next game has a big bearing on who will be wearing the Sun Belt Conference crown after the first weekend in December. The Red Wolves (5-3, 4-0) and the Mountaineers (7-1, 4-0) share the league lead at the midway point while other top contenders UL-Lafayette and defending champion Georgia Southern have one loss each.
“Opponents are both undefeated; this is where we want to be,’’ he said. “It is not the end of the season if you lose and it is not the end of the season if you win. You still got work to do.
Anderson said he and App State coach (Scott) “Satterfield and I have talked a lot of Xs and Os over the years. We want to establish the run, create explosive plays and not turn the ball over.
“They look a lot like us in a lot of ways.”
Anderson said the short week does not really effect this team preparation wise.
“It is really just one less day to rest and recovery,’’ said Anderson. “We use the same schedule to prepare and the rest if just less time to recovery at the end of the week. They have the same schedule.”
A year ago the Red Wolves and Mountaineers met for the first time. A-State lead early, lost the team in a dominating third quarter and tried to rally at the end.
“To be up like we were then let it go and then they just take over the game, obviously it does not taste good,’’ said Anderson. Losing at home doesn’t taste real good. There were a lot of things about that game last year but none of those have anything to do with outcome of this one.
In that game the Red Wolves led 20-7 late in the second quarter. The Mountaineers got a TD with 5 seconds left built on that with and had a 37-20 lead before A-State added a pair of touchdowns in the final minutes.
RED WOLVES HEALTHY
“They both should be ready to go,’’ he said. “For this time of the year we are relatively healthy.”
The Mountaineers have played a lot easier non-conference schedule than the Red Wolves, who faced Missouri, No. 20 Toledo and USC along with FCS Missouri State. App State had Clemson, which has one of the four national championship spots after the first ranking, Wyoming, Old Dominion and Howard, like Missouri State, an FCS school.
“They have scheduled very well,’’ said Anderson. “They scheduled team that they are in position to compete with and where they can win. Obviously Clemson(a 41-10 loss) is very good, but Wyoming, Old Dominion and Howard were all teams that they were just as good as or better.’’
The Mountaineers defeated Howard 49-0, Old Dominion 49-0 and Wyoming 31-3. They have also beaten defending league champion Georgia Southern 31-13. The other victories have been against Georgia State, UL-Monroe and Troy.