Arkansas State Red Wolves at Memphis Tigers
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Media: ESPN3. Live stats at AStateRedWolves.com (follow multimedia tab)
On tap: Arkansas State plays at Memphis on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the first of three consecutive non-conference games for the Red Wolves. The contest will be televised on ESPN3, and every A-State game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area as part of the EAB Red Wolves Sports Radio Network. The live radio broadcast can be accessed through the A-State athletics Web site (AStateRedWolves.com).
The Principals: A-State will carry a 2-1 overall record into Saturday’s game after knocking off Sun Belt Conference foe Troy 41-34 last Thursday (Sept. 12). The Red Wolves are 1-1 in non-conference games, defeating UAPB in their season opener before falling at Auburn the next week. This week’s game will pit the Red Wolves against the opponent they’ve played more than any other in school history — the Memphis Tigers. A-State has played 57 games against Memphis, which brings an 0-2 record into the game. While Memphis was either tied or led in the fourth quarter each of its first two games, it fell 28-14 at home against Duke and 17-15 on the road at Middle Tennessee.
BY THE NUMBERS …
1 of just 16 FBS programs to win at least 20 games over the last two years (2011 & 2012).
1 receiving touchdown needed by both Allen Muse & Julian Jones to tie the 8th most (9) in school history.
1 field goal needed by Brian Davis to tie the fifth most in Sun Belt Conference history (45).
2 rushing touchdowns needed by David Oku to tie the seventh most (22) in school history.
3 ASU was picked to finish 3rd in the preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll with 45 pts. and 2 first-place votes.
4 turnovers gained against Troy were the most by A-State over a span of seven games.
4 players with 100 yards rushing vs. UAPB, making A-State just the 7th FBS team to accomplish the feat.
5 consecutive victories at Liberty Bank Stadium.
5 of the last eight seasons have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility.
5 players named to one of college football’s major award watch lists.
7 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections, the most in the league.
8 players (Albright, Carrethers, Haunga, Kennedy, McCants, Muse, Oliver, Williams) already with their degree.
8 game Sun Belt Conference winning streak held by A-State.
8 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium.
9.7 tackles for loss per game by A-State, the second highest average in the NCAA.
10 win seasons in 2011 & 2012, making ASU the first team in SBC history w/ back-to-back 10-win campaigns.
10 Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards over the last 11 years.
12 tackles, tying the most by an A-State player this year, recorded by jr. LB Qushaun Lee against Troy.
13 votes in the final 2012 USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
15 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List (3.5 GPA or higher).
16 Sun Belt Conference victories over its last 17 league games.
17 statistical categories in which A-State ranks among the top 50 teams in the nation after two games.
18 A-State players named to at least one preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
21 A-State wins over its last 27 regular-season games dating back to 2011.
23 All-Sun Belt Conference selections over the last two years combined.
27 players named to the most recent Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll (3.0 GPA or higher).
28 votes in the final 2012 Associated Press Top 25 poll, ranking A-State No. 32 in the nation.
30 or more points scored by A-State in 20 of its last 26 games.
39 points needed by Brian Davis to break the Sun Belt record for career points by kicking (295).
50 percent of A-State’s scoring drives this season have taken less than two minutes (9 drives).
91 yd rush by Michael Gordon vs UAPB matched the 2nd longest in ASU history.
158 receiving yards by Allen Muse against Troy were the sixth most in the nation last week.
295.7 rushing yards per game by A-State ranks ninth in the nation.
300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 38 of its last 41 games.
400 or more yards total offense by A-State in each of its first three games.
544.3 yards of total offense per game by A-State ranks as the 15th highest in the nation.
26.7 million-dollar football facility project in Liberty Bank Stadium’s north end zone announced.
HEAD COACH BRYAN HARSIN: Bryan Harsin was named the Red Wolves’ 29th head football coach on Dec. 12, 2012. Harsin is a 13-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who has coached in 10 bowl games as either an assistant or offensive coordinator. Harsin, a finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in the country, has been associated with two nationally-prominent programs during his rise to A-State’s head coach. Working closely with Chris Petersen at Boise State and Mack Brown at Texas, two of the most well-respected coaches in the country, Harsin spent the last seven seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Broncos and Longhorns.
HIGH MARKS: Arkansas State head football coach Bryan Harsin was ranked as the sixth best hire in the nation among 26 new coaches at the time, according to CBSSports.com. The article written by Dennis Dodd said the following when referring to A-State’s 29th head coach: "We’re talking a Sun Belt program that has changed its AD (once) and coaches (twice) over the last two years. Somehow the Red Wolves went from national championship game offensive coordinator (Malzahn) to Fiesta Bowl-winning offensive coordinator with a stop in Texas (Bryan Harsin). Not too shabby."
STARTING STRONG: With the Red Wolves victory over UAPB, Bryan Harsin became the Red Wolves first head coach to win his inaugural game at the school since Larry Lacewell in 1979. ASU’s previous seven head coaches all suffered setbacks in their first game, including Al Kincaid, Ray Perkins, John Bobo, Joe Hollis, Steve Roberts, Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn. With a victory Saturday, Harsin can also become A-State’s first head coach since Bill Adams in 1939 to begin his inaugural season with the school by winning three of his first four games.
ARKANSAS STATE-MEMPHIS SERIES: Arkansas State has played Memphis more than any other opponent in school history, and Saturday’s game will mark the 58th meeting all-time between the two schools since 1914. Memphis leads the all-time series 28-23-5, but ASU won in Jonesboro in 2011 and 2012 by 47-3 and 33-28 scores, respectively. A-State has won four of the last five meetings. While the Red Wolves’ 2011 game against Memphis concluded a four-year home-and-home series, this year’s game will wrap up a two-year home-and-home series.
A-STATE VS. THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: A-State holds an all-time record of 25-33-5 against current members of the American Athletic Conference. A-State holds victories over current AAC members Cincinnati (1), Memphis (23) and SMU (1). The Red Wolves have played five members of the league, including UCF (0-1), Cincinnati (1-1), Louisville (0-2), Memphis (23-28-5) and SMU (1-1).
99TH SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off its 99th season of football Aug. 31, 2013, vs. UAPB. A-State now holds a 428-458-37 record since its inaugural 1911 season and has played in nine bowl games. ASU did not field a football team from 1942-44 due to World War II. Arkansas State also didn’t have a team in 1918 as World War I was ending.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD…: Make A-State 3-1 or better through four games for the first time since 2008 … Give the Red Wolves at least two non-conference victories for the third consecutive year … Make Bryan Harsin the first head coach since Bill Adams in 1939 to begin his inaugural season at the school by winning three of his first four games … Give the Red Wolves their second victory over a team from a BCS automatic qualify conference (def. Texas A&M, 18-14, in 2008) since joining the FBS in 1992.
PICKING IT OFF: A-State recorded its first three interceptions of the season last game against Troy, and all three were the first ever recorded by sr. DL Amos Draper, soph. CB Rocky Hayes and jr. DB Frankie Jackson. Hayes and Jackson both made the move from the offensive side of the ball to defense during the spring.
NCAA RECORD: A-State became the seventh FBS team in NCAA history to have four players (David Oku, Fredi Knighten, Michael Gordon, Sirgregory Thornton vs. UAPB) rush for over 100 yards in the same game. The other teams include Arizona (1951), Texas (1969), Alabama (1973), Army (1984), Nebraska (2001) and Nevada (2009).
RUSHING RED WOLVES: The Red Wolves piled up 509 rushing yards versus UAPB, which were the most in the nation during the season’s first week and still stand as the second most behind BYU’s 550 against Texas. A-State’s total was also the fifth most in school history and the second most in Sun Belt history.