Red Wolves vs Auburn – All Eyes Set to Rematch


ASU Red Wolves vs Auburn Tigers

The Arkansas State University Red Wolves vs Auburn – Sept. 7. Unfinished business faces a hungry Red Wolves team out for revenge against Gus Malzahn.

Ten minutes into the game, A-State Red Wolves legend Ryan Aplin fired a 10-yard endzone pass to Dwayne Frampton to open an improbable 6-0 lead over #23 Auburn. Nervous energy replaced all the oxygen in Jordon-Hare. The Tiger faithful weren’t sold on their new quarterback, a mysterious transfer from Florida named Cam Newton. And now they were losing early to a lightly regarded Sun Belt team. The day smelled of doom.

And then, like a golden war eagle, a sign appeared in the sky that brought soothing reassurance to the restless mob:

The Auburn defense blocked Freshman kicker Brian Davis’ extra point attempt.

Although Davis would later recover to record a pair of field goals that day, it was Cam Newton that dominated the Red Wolves on September 4th, 2010. The dual-threat QB scored a total of 5 TDs (which included a nifty 71-yard scamper) and the Red Wolves fell 52-26.

Of course, Auburn would finish the season as BCS Champions and Cam Newton picked up the Heisman. Meanwhile, A-State finished 4-8 during Coach Steve Roberts finale at the helm.

This season, the Red Wolves return to the Plains a different team. Likewise, these aren’t the same Tigers that went undefeated under Gene Chizik, who was unceremoniously fired two years after winning it all. It’s a different day, y’all.

1. Jonathan Wallace and Kiehl Frazier combined ain’t Cam Newton. The Red Wolves ran face-first into the Heisman buzzsaw that no team could repel. (“He is the best player I have ever seen live,” Roberts said after the game.) Newton was a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback that made Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn look like twin geniuses. Newsflash: he’s gone.

2. The Red Wolves return as champions. The failure of 2010 heralded the success of 2011 and 2012. Since Auburn 2010, the Red Wolves have recorded a pair of 10-win seasons, won two conference titles and notched two Bowl invitations. Meanwhile, Auburn went 3-9 last year, and only after managing a last-minute home win against ULM. Red Wolves arrive to Auburn with momentum.

3. The Red Wolves have incentive.  In 2010, the Red Wolves were picking up a check. In 2013, the Red Wolves are out for blood. It didn’t sit well with A-State when Gus Malzahn abruptly ditched Jonesboro for Auburn. A win against Auburn would not only add to the Red Wolves’ growing portfolio of credentials, it would make the ideal parting gift to a coach that callously used A-State as his stepping stone.

Red Wolves vs. Auburn Bryan Harsin is hungry4. Harsin is hungry. As much as Coach Roberts was appreciated, he was completely out of gas by 2010. Enter Bryan Harsin, a young and motivated up-and-comer chewing on the reins of his first head coaching job. Malzahn may be motivated to dump his old employer, but Harsin will be prowling the opposite sideline with a lot to prove.

5. No surprises. Thanks to his one season at A-State, we pretty much know what Gus Malzahn is capable of. (Hint: bubble screens, wildcats, and wacky hijinx). Meanwhile, Harsin is largely an unknown commodity. Malzahn will scramble to prepare, while the Red Wolves have a year’s worth of tape and personal experience to dissect.

6. Revenge! Sure, the Red Wolves want to stick it to Malzahn, but they also want to avenge their humiliating loss at the hairy paws of the Tigers. Losing 52-26 sucks, and guess who’s still around to avenge that missed extra point? Brian Davis, who has moved on to become one of A-State’s most reliable and prolific kickers in school history.

Will the result in the win/loss column be different in 2013? Malzahn is just as familiar with the Red Wolves as the Red Wolves are familiar with him. And visiting Jordan-Hare hasn’t gotten any easier. We can’t know the outcome. But we do know that when the Tigers and Red Wolves lock paws on September 7th, it will be a game for the ages.


Editor’s note: This preview is courtesy of our friends at ASU Fan Rules.

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