Arkansas State got back to its winning ways last Saturday against a pesky Idaho Vandals team. The “future bullies of the Sun Belt” were pushed around by the current bullies. The Red Wolves rack up 565 yards and went 6/6 in the red zone with four of those scores being touchdowns. That’s something they have struggled with, and it was good to see A-State mix it up a little inside the 20.
Defensively A-State shored things up a little, although the team still allowed 386 yards to a bad Idaho team; however, 210 of those yards came in the second half after adjustments were made by Paul Petrino’s squad. Really a majority of those yards were gained in the third quarter when the Vandals made a run.
Adam Kennedy had a career night throwing for 375 yards and four touchdowns and JD McKissic was once again a focal point of the offense and the spark that the Red Wolves needed to get their mojo back. He had ASU’s first kick return for a touchdown since 2001 (ironically against Idaho). Both of which were named players of the week in the Sun Belt Conference for their efforts.
The one downer from the game was the penalty yards the Red Wolves racked up.
A-State had 110 penalty yards on 14 flags with only maybe two of those being somewhat questionable (but aren’t all of them?!). Seemed like the Red Wolves were a little rusty and a little amped up for being back at Liberty Bank Stadium for the first time in a month. Not the usual performance from what is normally a pretty disciplined team, but I think that will get shored up.
Another glaring downer was the crowd.
Not necessarily the attendance number (more than 26,000 ain’t too shabby) but the energy of the homecoming attendees was that of a golf tournament. It was a very unusual crowd that night for A-State.
I have been to The Vault when it is absolutely electric, and there have plenty of games the past two seasons that have made that place the best home-field advantage in the Sun Belt Conference. But the crowd last Saturday was pitiful!
Not much noise other than on scoring plays for the Red Wolves. Even after the bells tolled on third downs for the defense, nobody really seemed to be in to it, so you could understand why the home team fell into a funk in the third quarter. It’s not an exaggeration when coaches say that the crowd gives their players some motivation and that game was proof that they do whether the crowd is pumped or flat.
Maybe the opponent didn’t necessarily excite fans, but you would think knocking down Paul Petrino a notch would fire folks up. They need to show up and be loud for sure next Tuesday (Oct. 22) since that NATIONALLY TELEVISED game against ULL could possibly decide the Sun Belt.
Hopefully, fans of the Red Wolves will get their howl on for that one.