On Senior Day in Jonesboro, senior wide receiver Kendall Sanders enjoyed a breakout game with 101 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves to a 41-22 thumping of the New Mexico State Aggies.
Though recently injure Larry Rose III was back to form (168 yards, 1 TD) for New Mexico State, the Red Wolves defense continued to dominate Sun Belt competition, forcing 9 punts from the Aggies. A-State defense pressured Tyler Rodgers all afternoon, recording 11 tackles for a loss, six total sacks (including a season high three from Ja’Von Rolland-Jones) and a pick-six from Money Hunter, his Sun Belt recording tying fourth of his career.
Offensively, the Red Wolves sprinkled brilliance with periods of frustrating ineffectiveness, converting only 4 of 12 third down attempts. But A-State signal caller Justice Hanson was a solid 20-27 for 257 yards and one INT against 2 scores. Warren Wand, the Human Mario Kart, turned in 91 ground yards and two scores, leading a rushing attack that contributed to 509 yards of total offense.
Trick Play U was back to school this Saturday
Despite a reputation for trick plays, the Red Wolves have struggled with offensive deception the last two seasons. But the Red Wolves executed a beautiful example of chicanery with a Hansen backfield pitch to Cameron Echols-Luper, who put his QBs skills to good use with a dead-on spiral to Black Mack for a 35 yard score.
Red Wolves were bad on 3rd down. The Aggies were even worse!
Arkansas State only converted 4 third downs, but that’s twice as many as the Aggies, who converted only two (of 15). To add insult to ineffectiveness, New Mexico State twice surrendered the ball on downs while in Red Wolves’ territory. Doug Martin likely spent the trip back to Las Cruces staring blankly into space.
Red Wolves take on #25 Troy this Thursday night to decide the Sun Belt
A-State vs. Troy will be the first meeting of 5-0 Sun Belt teams since…ever! An added bonus: this will be the first meeting of Sun Belt teams when at least one team is ranked. The 8-1 Trojans slipped into the AP Top 25 after upending Appalachian State on Saturday. Neal Brown’s Trojans are, in fact, the Sun Belt’s very first AP Top 25 team, which is actually a little sad.
New Mexico State hosts struggling Texas State. As we already mentioned (quite breathlessly), Arkansas State travels to Troy, Alabama to take on the Trojans.