Jay Bir: What We learned From the Red Wolves, Golden Lions

What We Learned from the Red Wolves and UAPB Game

What We Learned from the Red Wolves and UAPB Game

What a weekend in college football.  Lots of FCS uprisings (your turn UCA!) this past weekend.  However, that was not the case in Jonesboro.  Arkansas State fully flexed it’s muscles over UAPB, a very shorthanded UAPB at that. With games like this, though, these kinds of results are bound to happen.  In fact this one falls in line with A-State’s history of playing SWAC schools.

A lot of times fans tend to wonder if scheduling a game like the UAPB vs. A-State is really worth it.  Of course the final result was going to happen, and the second half was a bunch of Red Wolves backups running dive-left, dive-right.  Partially true, but there were some takeaways in this game for BOTH sides.

For UAPB, they had to throw some guys to the wolves, no pun intended.  With 12 players being held out there were some freshman who had their “welcome to college football” moment out of the way.  This could be a good thing for the Golden Lions later this year. The Red Wolves will be UAPB’s toughest opponent this year by far.  Going against the likes of David Oku, J.D. McKissic, Stephen Huanga, Ryan Carrethers, among others, certainly prepares UAPB for the rigors of Jackson State, Alabama State, and the rest of the SWAC.

Also UAPB really isn’t half bad at the quarterback position. Of course, Ben Anderson is the preseason SWAC player of the year is good, but putting up 161 yards against an FBS conference champion ain’t bad and reenforces the fact that UAPB will be a force to be reckoned with when SWAC play starts.

Anderson also stretched several plays with his legs.  Maybe not always with a positive result, but it shows the ability is there to make a play.  The Golden Lions also forced two turnovers against a team that takes care of the ball fairly well, even a scoop and score.

For ASU what can you say?

Hard to really tell if the running game will be that good all the time, but to watch the way the Red Wolves ran tells the story.

FOUR players had more than 100 yards rushing. Regardless of who you’re playing, that doesn’t happen very often. Also, after first week of the college football season, the Red Wolves lead the nation in rushing.

We saw some between-the-tackle stuff work with Oku who, in this game, became the more physical back in the group. We now know why they call Michael Gordon “Flash” and SirGregory Thornton is finally healthy and a beast to bring down.  He had several runs where he broke multiple tackles for big gains.

Arkansas State was able to control the line, and that will certainly be something they will attempt going forward. We also know former Pulaski Academy sensation Fredi Knighten can run at this level, but the thing on everyone’s mind is will he get to throw when he’s in the game.  Obviously against UAPB, coach Bryan Harsin doesn’t want to show off too much, but we still haven’t seen Knighten throw a lot whenever he is out there, so that is something to watch going forward.

Defensively for the Red Wolves we know that this front seven is going to be game planned for by their opponents.  Not a lot of fancy stuff from them but Ryan Carrethers and Amos Draper can bullrush with the best of them.  Carrethers had 1.5 sacks and 2 tackles for loss, both career highs.  Qushaun Lee still has a nose for the ball and don’t expect that to change.  With that in mind the A-State rushing defense picks up where it left off from last year having not allowed a 100 yard rusher for the 9th consecutive game and hasn’t in 12 of the past 14.  Should be their calling card again this year.

So while this was your typical first game of the year for both teams in this situation, these two teams can take away some good from a 62-11 game.  We’ll see exactly what was learned in the next games – McNeese State for UAPB and Auburn for Arkansas State.

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