GAME 1: Arkansas State (0-0) hosts Southeast Missouri State (0-0)
Sept. 1, 2018 | Allison Field at Centennial Bank Stadium
Jonesboro, Ark. | 6:00 p.m.
Radio: EAB Red Wolves Sports Network (107.9 FM, flagship)
Live Stats: AStateStats.com
Live Game Notes: twitter.com/AStateGameDay
ON TAP: Arkansas State is set to open its fifth season under the direction of head coach Blake Anderson Saturday, Sept. 1, when it will host Southeast Missouri State at 6 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+. Every Red Wolves’ football game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Northeast Arkansas area. The live radio broadcast can also be accessed on the official A-State Athletics web site (AStateRedWolves.com) and the A-State Athletics app.
THE PRINCIPALS: The Red Wolves will play both their home and season opener Saturday against Ohio Valley Conference member Southeast Missouri State. A-State was picked in the Sun Belt Conference preseason coaches’ poll to the win both the league’s West Division title and its inaugural championship game. SEMO, coming off a 3-8 season, is led by fifth-year head coach Tom Matukewicz and is picked seventh in the OVC Preseason Poll.
HEAD COACH BLAKE ANDERSON: Blake Anderson, an 18-year coaching veteran at the NCAA FBS level who also coached in an NJCAA National Championship game, was named the Red Wolves’ 30th all-time head football coach on Dec. 19, 2013. Anderson led the Red Wolves to Sun Belt Conference championships in 2015 and 2016, as well as four consecutive winning seasons and bowl-game appearances (2017 Camellia Bowl, 2016 Cure Bowl, 2015 New Orleans Bowl, 2014 GoDaddy Bowl). Under his direction, the Red Wolves have set nine new school records for average yards total offense (494.8 yards per game in 2017), first downs (322 in 2017), first downs passing (190 in 2017), passing yards (4,106 in 2017), passing touchdowns (38 in 2017), points scored (520 in 2015), touchdowns scored (69 in 2015), total offense (6,174 yards in 2014) and total plays (1,024 in 2014). During his first four years at the helm of the program, he has seen 41 of his players earn 64 All-Sun Belt Conference selections — the most in the league over that span.
FAST START: Out of 30 all-time head coaches at Arkansas State, Blake Anderson became one of just four to win at least seven games in his first season (2014) at the school. The other head coaches to win at least seven games in their first season as head coach at A-State were Bryan Harsin (2013), Gus Malzahn (2012) and Hugh Freeze (2011).
FOUR YEARS RUNNING: Blake Anderson is the first head coach in Arkansas State history to win 31 or more games over his first four seasons at the school. Additionally, he is just the third head coach at A-State to direct the program to 31 wins victories in 51 or fewer games — Bennie Ellender reached 31 victories in 50 games from 1963-68, as did Bill Davidson from 1971-75.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Including all seven A-State wins last season, 29 of the Red Wolves’ 31 victories under head coach Blake Anderson have come by 10 or more points. The only exceptions were a 21-14 overtime win over Utah State in 2014 and a 27-26 victory over Georgia Southern in 2016.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Blake Anderson has led the Red Wolves to a pair of Sun Belt titles and collected 26 league wins along the way, which are the fifth most ever by any of the conference’s all-time head coaches. Anderson has the opportunity to climb as high as second on that list this season.
Coach (School), Wins
Larry Blakeney (Troy), 52
Rick Stockstill (Middle Tennessee), 32
Rickey Bustle (Louisiana), 31
Darrell Dickey (North Texas), 29
Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State), 27
Blake Anderson (Arkansas State), 26
THE ARKANSAS STATE – SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE SERIES: Arkansas State and Southeast Missouri State are set to meet for the 13th time in the series history, but for the first time since 2003. While SEMO leads the all-time series 7-4-1, Arkansas State has won the last three meetings dating back to 1947. The Red Wolves most recently picked up a 21-3 victory in Jonesboro in 2003, but also claimed a 38-9 win at Centennial Bank Stadium in 1996 and a 25-0 victory in 1947.
A-STATE vs. OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE: Arkansas State holds an all-time 37-26-1 record against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference. Saturday’s game will mark the Red Wolves’ first meeting against an OVC team since playing UT Martin in 2005. In addition to Southeast Missouri State (4-7-1), A-State also holds victories against current OVC members UT Martin (9-3-1), Murray State (9-3-0), Tennessee Tech (8-10-0), Austin Peay (5-2-0), Eastern Kentucky (1-0) and Jacksonville State (1-1-0).
FOR STARTERS: A-State defeated Montana State 37-10 in its 2014 season opener and first game ever under head coach Blake Anderson, but has since dropped its last three season openers — a 55-6 road loss at then-ranked No. 8 USC in 2015, a 31-10 home setback to Toledo in 2016 and a narrow 43-36 defeat at Nebraska last season. Since moving to FBS status in 1992, the Red Wolves have posted just a 5-21 record in season openers. In addition to its season-opening win in 2014, it also began the 2013 (62-11 vs. UAPB), 2008 (18-14 at Texas A&M), 2006 (14-6 vs. Army) and 1995 (21-17 vs. Utah State) seasons with wins.
HOME OPENERS: Arkansas State claimed a 48-3 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff last season in its home opener and has won its first game at Centennial Bank Stadium in 11 of the last 13 seasons dating back to 2005. The Red Wolves stand 31-13 all-time in home openers at the stadium and are also 17-8 in such games since moving to FBS status in 1992.
A-STATE vs. FCS: Arkansas State is playing an FCS member for the eighth consecutive season and 10th time over the last 11 years. Dating back to the 2002 campaign, the Red Wolves have won 13 of their last 14 games against FCS foes. A-State has posted 722 points to its FCS opponents’ 126 during those 14 games for an average margin of 42.6 points per game. The Red Wolves’ lone setback during that time came in 2016, 28-23 against Central Arkansas.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . : run its all-time record versus Southeast Missouri State to 5-7-1 and mark its fourth straight win over the Redhawks . . . mark the 12th time over the last 14 seasons it has won its home opener . . . give the Red Wolves their first season-opening victory since 2014 . . . move its all-time record vs current Ohio Valley Conference members to 38-26-1 . . . mark its 14th victory over its last 15 games against an FCS opponent . . . give the Red Wolves 60 victories over the last eight seasons.
HOME SWEET HOME: Arkansas State has strung together 13 consecutive years (2005-17) with a winning record at Centennial Bank Stadium dating back to 2005. The Red Wolves are now 59-14 (.808 winning percentage) since the 2005 season and have won 34 of their last 41 home games. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at Centennial Bank Stadium is 151-77-1 since it opened in 1974. A-State’s six home wins in 2011 were its most since 1985. The 2011 season also marked the last time the Red Wolves went undefeated at Centennial Bank Stadium.
WATCH ME, WATCH ME: Arkansas State has six different players on at least one major watch list for the 2018 season, including four who play on the offensive side, two on defense and one on special teams. All combined, A-State has a player on 13 different major watch lists.
LANARD BONNER (1): Outland
JUSTIN CLIFTON (3): Nagurski, Thorpe, Wuerffel
CODY GRACE (1): Ray Guy
JUSTICE HANSEN (8): Walter Camp, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, Wuerffel, Golden Arm, Manning, CFPA National Performer of the Year, Senior Bowl
RONHEEN BINGHAM (1): Senior Bowl
WARREN WAND (1): Doak Walker
PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT: Senior quarterback Justice Hansen was tabbed the 2018 Preseason Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was one of nine Red Wolves, including six first-team selections, named to the league’s Preseason All-Conference Football Team. A-State’s nine players earning the recognition were the second most in the conference behind only Troy, which had 10 players and 11 total selections on the lineup. Including Hansen, Warren Wand (Sr., RB), Justin McInnis (Sr., WR), Lanard Bonner (Sr., OL), Ronheen Bingham (Sr., DE) and Justin Clifton (Sr., DB), the Red Wolves’ six first-team picks tied Troy for the most in the conference. Earning a place on this year’s Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team for A-State were B.J. Edmonds (Jr., DB), Cody Grace (Jr., P) and Jacob Still (So., OL).
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arkansas State has obtained bowl-eligible status each of the last seven years (2011-17) and 10 times over the last 13 seasons. Since joining the FBS in 1992, Arkansas State has become bowl eligible in nine games or less five times (2011, ‘12, ‘14, ‘15, ‘17). The earliest A-State ever became bowl eligible was in 2011 when it was 6-2 through eight games.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: Arkansas State has secured a winning record in a school-record seven consecutive seasons (2011-17). The next longest streak was six straight seasons from 1912-17. The Red Wolves have piled up 59 victories from 2011-17 for its most over a seven-year span in the program’s 103-year history.
SUN BELT CHAMPS (5 of 7): Arkansas State is the only FBS program in the nation to win five conference championships over the last seven years. The Red Wolves most recently claimed the 2016 Sun Belt Conference championship, giving it back-to-back titles with a combined 15-1 league record over that span. A-State also won the league title 2011-13, making it one of just two programs in league history with at least five all-time SBC titles.
A-STATE vs. THE SUN BELT: Arkansas State has won 46 of its last 55 Sun Belt Conference games (.836 winning percentage) to run its all-time record in the league to 78-45. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against ULM with 25. A-State has defeated every team in the conference since the football league was formed in 2001. Along with ULM and Louisiana-Lafayette, A-State is one of three teams that have been a part of the conference since its inaugural football season.
104TH SEASON: Arkansas State will kick off its 104th season of football Sept. 1 at home against Southeast Missouri State. A-State holds a 465-481-37 record since the inaugural season and has played in 15 bowl games. A-State did not field a 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.
300-PLUS: Dating back to the 2010 season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards of total offense in 91 of its last 102 games (89 percentage). A-State went over 300 yards in all 13 games during head coach Blake Anderson’s first season, while also reaching the mark 11 times in 2015, 10 times in 2016 and all 12 games last season (46 of 51 games under Anderson).
300-PLUS YDS OFFENSE UNDER ANDERSON
2014 season: 13 of 13 games
2015 season: 11 of 13 games
2016 season: 10 of 13 games
2017 season: 12 of 12 games
TOTALS: 46 of 51 games
400-PLUS: Arkansas State has hit the 400-yard total offense mark 33 times over its last 51 games (65 percent) since 2014, which was Blake Anderson’s first season as head coach. The Red Wolves went over 400 yards in nine of its 12 games last season. A-State averaged a school-record 494.8 yards per game, which ranked 10th in the nation last season.
400-PLUS YDS OFFENSE UNDER ANDERSON
2014 season: 9 of 13 games
2015 season: 9 of 13 games
2016 season: 5 of 13 games
2017 season: 10 of 12 games
TOTALS: 33 of 51 games
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: Including 13 of the last 17 contests, the Red Wolves have now posted at least 30 points in 54 of their last 82 regular-season games (66 percent) dating back to the 2011 season. The Red Wolves have won 42 of their last 47 games when scoring at least 30 points.
QUARTERLY REPORT: Last season, A-State scored at least three points in 40 of 48 quarters for an .833 percentage that is the highest under head coach Blake Anderson. A-State’s second highest percentage of quarters scored under Anderson came in 2014, when it put points on the board in 43 of 52 quarters for an .827 percentage.
HITTING THE MARK: Junior quarterback Justice Hansen has thrown at least one passing touchdown in 17 consecutive games and two or more touchdown passes in 13 of his last 14 outings. He has thrown multiple scoring passes in 17 career games. The former Oklahoma transfer has thrown for at least 200 yards 19 times, 300 nine times and 400 four times during his two-year career at A-State. Dating back to the 2015 season, Hansen has passed for at least 200 yards his last 13 games and in 17 of his last 19.
ECLIPSING 2,000: Running back Warren Wand has pushed his career rushing total to 2,303 yards, making him one of 14 players in A-State history to post 2,000 in a career. He recorded 709 yards in 2015 for the most by a true freshman at A-State since Lamont Zachery ran for 846 in 1996.
A LOSS ON THE PLAY: Dating back to the 2015 season, the Red Wolves have posted at least five stops behind the line of scrimmage in 28 of its last 29 games. A-State posted a season-high 13 tackles for loss in 2017 versus Texas State and has now recorded at least 10 in four of the last seven games.
A-STATE TFL NATIONAL RANKINGS
Yr.: Avg., Rank
2016: 9.6, 1st
2017: 8.3, 6th
GETTING TO THE QUARTERBACK: A-State has ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation in sacks three of the last four years, including the last two in a row (2016-17) when it posted a combined 78 sacks over that span. The Red Wolves have recorded at least one sack in 24 consecutive games dating back to the 2016 season.
A-STATE SACKS NATIONAL RANKINGS
Yr.: Avg., Rank
2014: 2.9, 17th
2015: 2.4, 41st
2016: 3.3, 6th
2017: 2.9, 19th
UNDER 300: Arkansas State has held five opponents under 300 yards total offense each of the last two years (2016-17), matching its total for the previous two seasons (2014-15) combined. Dating back to the 2016 campaign, the Red Wolves have held nine of their last 16 opponents to under 300 yards total offense.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: A-State has consistently put up strong defensive numbers in third and fourth-down situations over the last four seasons (2014-17), ranking no worse than 36th nationally in either category every year. The Red Wolves’ best third-down ranking came in 2015 at No. 19, while they finished among the top 10 teams on fourth down each of the last two seasons (2016-17).
A-STATE 3RD/4TH DOWN DEFENSE NATIONAL RANK
Yr 3rd% Rank 4th% Rank
2014 .359 27th .435 36th
2015 .335 19th .333 11th
2016 .356 30th .250 4th
2017 .330 21st .364 9th
PICK IT OFF: A-State has proven to be an opportunistic defense over the last four seasons (2014-17) when the ball has been put in the air, intercepting a combined 67 passes over that time that ranks as the fourth most in the nation over that span. The only teams with more interceptions are San Diego State (77), Louisville (71) and Ohio State (71).
A-STATE INTERCEPTIONS NATIONAL RANK
Yr: No., Rank
2014: 16, 15th
2015: 26, 1st
2016: 11, 58th
2017: 14, 32nd
Totals: 67, 4th
FORCING TURNOVERS: Arkansas State has recorded at least one turnover gained in 43 of 51 games (84 percent) under defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen. The Red Wolves
have ranked among the top 29 teams in turnovers gained three of the last four years as well (2014-17), and their combined 108 forced turnovers over that span are the fifth most in the nation.
A-STATE TURNOVERS GAINED NATIONAL RANK
Yr: Turnovers Gained, Rank
2014: 28, 21st
2015: 34, 2nd
2016: 22, 46th
2017: 24, 29th
Totals: 108, 5th
DEFENSE IS THE BEST OFFENSE: Arkansas State has ranked among the top 21 teams in the nation in defensive touchdowns each of the last four seasons (2014-17) under defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen. In fact, the 2015 season saw the Red Wolves record an FBS-high eight touchdowns. The Red Wolves have 19 total defensive touchdowns over the last four seasons (2014-17).
A-STATE DEFENSIVE TOUCHDOWNS NATIONAL RANK
Yr: No., Rank
2014: 4, 14th
2015: 8, 1st
2016: 4, 8th
2017: 3, 21st