No one, at least in red and black, saw what happened last Saturday in Memphis coming.
After dominating in their last two meeting with the Memphis Tigers, the Red Wolves did very little right. They did score on a quick drive that cut the margin to 14-7 but by halftime it was Memphis 24-7 and ASU had done nothing. And showed no sign of life.
In fact, the duo that I rode over with sent me a text that they were collecting money for me to get a rental car to return home because they were leaving at halftime.
Nothing changed in the second half, even though the defense came up with a couple of fourth-down stops and the game was even on the scoreboard in the second half.
The final: Memphis 31, A-State 7.
At his Monday press conference, coach Bryan Harsin hinted of several things to come like more physical work, position challenges and…
Now we will see if it worked.
But the problem is the next opponent is playing pretty darn good and playing pretty darn well.
When Missouri was first scheduled, many in the A-State camp were thinking this might be a chance for an upset. Now, not so many feel as confident.
The Tigers (3-0) are working on a perfect non-conference slate and with what is ahead of them, getting as many wins as possible is important. So other than a Nov. 9 meeting at Kentucky, the road to six victories and a bowl game is full of potholes for the Tigers. Missouri is in need.
The Tigers have a skillful quarterback James Franklin, who is hitting on two of every three passes and has six touchdowns in three games. They also have a strong defensive front, one Harsin said is the best the Red Wolves have faced this season.
So at 2-2, and facing a possible 2-3 mark for September, the Red Wolves are in the same position they were a year ago. That team finished the season with eight straight victories.
The Red Wolves come home for Idaho, then a big Sun Belt tilt with Louisiana-Lafayette, also on the home turf. If the program is going to maintain its recent success, those two games are vital.
Jeff Reed is editor of Astatenation.com.