Jeff Reed: UCA Bears Win; Can Red Wolves Rebound?


Jeff Reed Author PageSomewhere there is probably a template on how an FCS school defeats one from the FBS.

And while we are taking a look at UCA’s victory over Arkansas State last weekend in Jonesboro that template pretty much works for any underdog.

You start with an easy score, the Bears got a punt return.

You add winning the turnover over state — the Red Wolves had four, all in UCA territory and two of the them in the Red Zone.

And you throw in controlling the ball. The Bears did that very well, having the ball about 10 more minutes than A-State and running 11 more plays.

So despite getting outgained by about 100 yards, the UCA Bears, which shut down the Red Wolves’ running game, had a nice bus ride back to Conway enjoying the spoils of victory.

So it all leaves Arkansas State, the preseason pick to finish second in the Sun Belt, sitting 0-4 going into its league opener on Wednesday in Jonesboro vs. Georgia Southern.

And it has not been fun for anyone in the A-State camp.

The first three losses could be explained. But this one, to UCA, is pretty rough, especially when the Bears were the fourth team this season to shut down the A-State running game.

Coach Blake Anderson and staff have been openly criticized, many wondering how a program that has achieved such a high the past 5 seasons could fall so quickly.

The pinball offense of the past two seasons has gone stagnant and Anderson said at his Monday press conference no staff changes are planned and Buster Faulkner remains the offensive coordinator.

All the A-State assistants, the unpaid variety who buy the tickets to the game and use their money to support the program, all have answers. We’ve heard many of them here. Some have credence; others might be a stretch.

The biggest issue is the inability to run the football, and this is with an offensive line that included two preseason all-conference types and five returning starters. And as we have started before, you can use all the bells and whistles you like but if you can’t run the football and control the line of scrimmage your chances to winning greatly decrease.

Of course, the Red Wolves now have a Georgia Southern team has three all-conference-types on the defensive front. That does not look promising for a rebound.

But as Anderson said, and something that riled some of the faithfuls, the Red Wolves are a program that is measured by conference championships, and that chase begins next week.

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Jeff Reed is editor of A-State Nation.

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