Homecoming so it was like old times right?
The Arkansas State Red Wolves used a defensive score, won statistical battles they had not been wining and rode a strong defensive effort to a 17-7 victory over South Alabama in a Sun Belt Conference game Saturday. The victory was A-State’s 11th straight in league play.
Chris Humes’ 60-yard fumble return broke a scoreless tie and the Red Wolves, once again behind a strong running game, added 10 points and controlled the clock. Humes’ TD was the first by the defense this season after a record-setting 8 touchdowns last year.
Johnson White added a 14-yard TD run and JD Houston added a 25-yard field goal as the Red Wolves built a 17-0 lead.
A-State finished with 297 yards and South Alabama had 255, but 76 of that came on one play in the final quarter. Time of possession was almost 7 minutes in A-State’s favor and ASU had 9 more plays. And ASU had just two turnovers.
The win keeps the Red Wolves (2-4, 2-0) among the Sun Belt leaders with two weeks off until UL-Monroe comes to Jonesboro on Oct. 29.
-- After 8 defensive scores a year ago, the Red Wolves got their first score when Humes picked up a fumble, one he forced, and raced 60 yards for a score with 12:50 left in the second quarter. That came after the first two Red Wolves’ drives ended deep in South Alabama territory with an interception and a missed field goal.
--With South Alabama cutting the lead 17-7 and holding 3 time outs, the Red Wolves needed a first-down to run more time off the clock. Facing third-and-7 at the USA 45, Chad Voytik’s 8-year run earned a first down and gave the Red Wolves four more plays. When South Alabama finally got the ball back there was just 1:35 left.
The victory was A-State’s 11th straight in conference play. Arkansas State’s record in October since 2010 is 17-2. The Red Wolves are 5-0 vs. South Alabama.
With 3 sacks, Chris Odom set a career-high and tied for 6th best performance in A-State history. In all, the Red Wolves finished with a season-high 6 sacks (2 by Ja'von Rolland-Jones and 1 by Waylon Roberson.) Jones now has 21 sacks for this career, third best in school history.
The last time A-State won a game scoring just 17 points, the 2013 GoDaddy Bowl, 17-13 over No. 25 Kent State.
Warren Wand had 88 yards on 18 carries and White added 58 on 12. Hansen ran for 63 but had 26 yards in losses on sacks.
Hansen completed just nine passes (13 attempts) to seven receivers. Blake Mack and Justin McInnis had two each. With one, Omar Bayless, Cam Echols-Luper, Christian Booker, Kendall Sanders and Sterling Stowers.
The Red Wolves’ longest play was 24 yards. It was A-State’s only play of more than 20 yards.
South Alabama’s Joey Jones.
Obviously we didn’t play our best game tonight and when you play a team like Arkansas State that is a conference champion and has won a lot of games, you better play well and we didn’t play our best. I thought defensively we played well. Offensively we didn't score until late in the game and you have to score more points than we did in a game like this.”
Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson.
I’m excited, especially the way we started. I’m fired up about the win. I don't think it was particularly an attractive win, It was kind of an ugly win, one of those defensive battles. Obviously, our defense stepped up huge. The turnover for the touchdown could not come at a better time. I love just being able to say ‘kick the extra point’; not having to go down there and worry about a red zone series, but to get in the end zone. … A team effort, find a way to get a win, not an attractive win but a W. We’ll take all those that we can get. Hard to say much in terms of defense, 255 and 76 of that coming on one play. I don’t know how you play much better than that.”