It wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t particularly fun. But the Red Wolves, behind 8.5 sacks, grimly took care of business in rainy San Marcus to earn a share of the Sun Belt title with Appalachian State. Played before an announced crowd of 11,197 souls and broadcast nationwide on ESPN2, Arkansas State was down 14-13 early in the third quarter before piling up 22 unanswered points to grab the win. Coach Blake Anderson delivered his victory interview soaking wet from a water jug dunking while the Bobcats were forced to watch for a second consecutive year.
As it generally is with Red Wolves football games, the defense was the story.
While the offense struggled for much of the game, the Red Wolves started the evening with pressure and never really let up. The Bobcats managed to score two consecutive TDs after spotting the Red Wolves a 13 point advantage. But DE Chris Odom piled up 3 sacks, and the defense delivered 19 TOLs and 2 INTs to sap any momentum Everett Withers’ young Bobcats attempted to marshall.
The offense was not without its moments
It was a mostly miserable affair on the offensive side of the ball until Justice Hansen connected with Dijon Paschal 7 yards out for a mid-third quarter TD to start the A-State Point Parade. But the workhorse of the offense was 5’5″ running back Warren Wand, who logged a grueling 135 ground yards and a TD on a cold, wet night of football.
Johnston White and Chad Voytik also added rushing TDs, and Blake Mack picked up a 14-yard TD strike from Hanson. Though not especially flashy, Hansen was a clean 13/21 for 179 yards and a pair of passing scores. In the end, the 36-14 result was about what was expected from Arkansas State, who will now spend the next few days awaiting the decisions of various bowl committees before learning of their postseason fate.
In the end, the W was what counted
With Troy falling to Georgia Southern earlier in the day, it was up to the Red Wolves to remain focused and put away the Bobcats for a share of the Sun Belt title. And even with a sideline medical scare from Chase Robison (epileptic seizure, he’s expected to be okay), Arkansas State managed to dig deep and collect its 5th Sun Belt title in 6 years.
The Red Wolves await their post season fate. Texas State spends the offseason recruiting and rebuilding.