Central Arkansas (2-1) at Arkansas State (0-3), 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Series Record: UCA leads 12-10-2. A-State has won the last three, including 53-24 in 2011.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
For one, there is in-state bragging rights. But more important for Arkansas State is a chance to get on track before starting conference play a week from Wednesday at home vs. Georgia Southern. UCA will come in fired-up with a chance to knock off their first FCS school since a victory over Western Kentucky almost a decade ago.
For the second straight week Arkansas State faces a team that likes to run the ball. It will be another challenge for the Red Wolves’ defensive front. The difference this week is UCA has a better passing attack than Utah State. Another stat to keep an eye on is 3d down. The Bears have been good on both offense and defense while it has been a struggle for A-State.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arkansas State: QB Justice Hansen. After his strong second-half showing against Utah State, Hansen gets his first start. He revived a struggling offense and Red Wolves fans are hoping that continues.
UCA: Senior WR Jatavious Wilson leads the SLC in receptions per game (and yards per game (102.0). Wilson is a game-breaker for the run-oriented Bears.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Red Wolves have won 51 of their last 63 games at Centennial Bank Stadium since 2005. Saturday’s game marks the start of four consecutive games at Centennial Bank Stadium for A-State, its longest since 1992. Arkansas State has played UCA 24 times, the seventh most against all opponents in school history. A-State is playing an FCS member for the sixth consecutive season and eighth time over the last nine years. Since 2002, the Red Wolves have won 12 straight vs. FCS foes by a combined 651-95. Arkansas State is 21-4 vs. FCS since moving to FBS in 1992. The Red Wolves are off to an 0-3 start for the ?rst time since 2004 . . A-State’s ?rst two opponents were successful on 23-of-32 third-down conversions, the Red Wolves’ defense allowed Utah State to convert just 6-of-16 attempts. UCA leads the SLC in total defense (267.7 yards pg) and Senior WR Jatavious Wilson leads SLC in receptions per game (6.7) and yards per game (102.0)hing defense (58.0 ypg) and is second in total offense (498.0 ypg) and scoring offense (36.3 ppg). UCA is also No. 1 in first downs (85, third in the nation) and third-down conversions (45.8 percent). UCA's third-down conversions allowed (14.9 percent) also leads the nation. , while senior Desmond Smith is No. 4 in receptions (5.3) and No. 3 in yards (89.3). Freshman running back Carlos Blackman (Gosnell) is fourth in rushing (87.3 ypg) and sophomore PK Matt Cummins is first in PATs (13 for 13). UCA’s Campbell and Anderson coached together at Middle Tennessee State in 2002, one of many ties between the UCA and ASU staffs. UCA DL coach Larry Hart was a GA at ASU the past two seasons. ASU OC Buster Faulkner was UCA's quarterback coach in 2009, and ASU's Brian Early coached defensive line and linebackers at UCA from 2004-08.
UCA QUOTABLE: "Arkansas State, they're sitting there 0-3 but they are a very, very good football team. Last year they were sitting at 1-3 after four games and then went on and won something like eight of their last nine and won the Sun Belt (Conference). So they are a very good football team. They played a tough schedule early. Toledo will be a bowl team, Utah State will be a bowl team, and Auburn has been a bowl team about every year.
So they've played a very, very tough schedule early but we know they are an outstanding team that will compete for the Sun Belt championship again. They are extremely well coached by Blake Anderson. He does an outstanding job with his teams.
Our kids are really looking forward to this game because they played high school against a lot of these guys, followed those guys in the paper, went to camps with them when you're growing up. So there will definitely be a lot of familiarity between the two programs. It's an in-state rival and it's a game we're very much looking forward to. They are a great football team but we're very excited about playing them.”