GAME 10: Arkansas State (6-3, 4-1) hosts ULM (6-3, 4-1)
November 8, 2012 l Liberty Bank Stadium
Jonesboro, Ark. l 6:00 p.m.
Radio: EAB Sports Radio Network (107.9 FM, flagship)
LIVE STATS: AStateRedWolves.com, TapStats
ON TAP: Arkansas State became bowl eligible last week with a 37-19 victory over North Texas and moved into a three-way tie atop the league standings, setting up a key Sun Belt Conference game against ULM this Thursday at 6 p.m. at Liberty Bank Stadium. Thursday's contest will be televised by ESPNU, and every ASU game can also be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Jonesboro area with the live radio broadcast accessible through the Arkansas State athletics Web site (AStateRedWolves.com).
THE PRINCIPALS: Winners in five of its last six games, A-State moved its overall record to 6-3 and Sun Belt Conference mark to 4-1 with a 37-19 road victory over North Texas its last time out. The Red Wolves' four-game winning streak is their longest since ending the 2011 regular season on a nine-game winning streak. With a least three games remaining, ASU is one victory away from securing back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1986-87. ULM suffered its first Sun Belt Conference setback of the year last week with a 40-24 loss against Louisiana-Lafayette, which snapped a five-game winning streak for the Warhawks. ULM now stands 6-3 overall and will bring a 3-1 road record into Thursday's game at Liberty Bank Stadium, where the Red Wolves also stand 3-1 as well.
BY THE NUMBERS . . .
- 1 more victory needed by ASU to secure back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1986-87.
- 1 more conference victory needed by A-State to secure a winning Sun Belt record for the fifth time.
- 1 ASU's 2012 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt by Rivals, ESPN.com, Scout and 247Sports.com.
- 1 ASU's rank in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing offense (212.1 ypg).
- 2 ASU players named an SBC Defensive Player of the Week, including LB's Nathan Herrold and Qushaun Lee.
- 2 A-State players (David Oku and Rod Smith) with a 100-yard rushing game this season.
- 2 touchdown receptions needed by Taylor Stockemer to become ASU's career leader in the stat.
- 2-0 ASU record in midweek games this season and 9-3 mark in midweek contests since 2001.
- 3 field goals needed by Brian Davis to become ASU's second all-time leader in the stat.
- 4 or more receptions by J.D. McKissic in every game this season.
- 5 of the last eight seasons, including 2012, have seen A-State achieve bowl eligibility with at least six victories.
- 5 games this season in which Brian Davis has made multiple field goals.
- 5 games this season the ASU defense hasn't allowed 200 yards passing.
- 5.0 yards per rush by A-State, just under the single-season school record of 5.1 set in 1989.
- 6 receptions needed by Josh Jarboe to become the 8th player in ASU history with 100 career catches.
- 6.2 yards per play by the ASU offense, which would be the highest in school history for a single season.
- 7 consecutive road victories by A-State against conference opponents, the most since 1973-75 (7).
- 7 consecutive winning seasons at Liberty Bank Stadium, including a 6-0 mark in 2011.
- 8 A-State games scheduled to be televised by ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3.com in 2012.
- 9.0 tackles for loss recorded by Tim Starson, tied for the fifth most in the Sun Belt Conference.
- 9 of the last 10 years the football team has won the Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Award.
- 9.2 tackles per game by Nathan Herrold, tied for the 2nd highest avg. in the Sun Belt Conference.
- 12 A-State victories in its last 13 conference games played, dating back to the 2011 season.
- 12.1 yards per rush by Rocky Hayes, which would easily break the school record for a season by over 3 ypa.
- 13 receptions by Josh Jarboe against Oregon, tying the most in ASU history.
- 14 Brian Davis' national rank in field goals made (1.6 per game).
- 15 different ASU players with a touchdown this season, which is tied for the fifth most in the nation.
- 15 first-time starters for A-State this season, tied for the 14th most in the nation.
- 17 combined true freshmen and redshirt freshmen have played for ASU, tied for the 31st most in the nation.
- 18 receiving yards needed by Taylor Stockemer for the third most career yards in ASU history.
- 19 statistical categories in which ASU ranks among the top half of the league, including total offense and defense.
- 21 combined single game, season and career school records held by Ryan Aplin.
- 21 J.D. McKissic's national rankin in receptions per game (6.7 pg).
- 23 A-State's national rank in rushing offense (212.1 yards per game).
- 23 consecutive games with at least one sack recorded by the A-State defense.
- 29 ASU's national rank in total offense (460.1 yards per game).
- 33 games all-time versus ULM, the fifth most against any opponent in ASU history.
- 35 Ryan Aplin's national rank in pass efficiency (146.23).
- 38 consecutive games with a reception by Taylor Stockemer, tied for the second most in the nation.
- 60 receptions by J.D. McKissic, the most ever by an Arkansas State freshman.
- 116 career receptions by Taylor Stockemer, making him one of 7 players in ASU history with 100+ catches.
- 125 consecutive passes by Ryan Aplin without an interception, dating back to the WKU game.
- 160 combined rushing yards allowed by the ASU defense the last two games for an average of just 80 yards.
- 300 yards or more of total offense recorded by ASU in 32 of its last 34 games.
- 396 pass yds needed by Ryan Aplin to become just the 2nd player in SBC history to reach 10,000 in a career.
- 400+ yards of total offense recorded by A-State in six of its first nine games.
HEAD COACH GUS MALZAHN: Gus Malzahn was named the Red Wolves' 28th head football coach at Dec. 14, 2011, press conference, bringing him back to his home state after most recently enjoying highly successful stints as a top assistant coach at three NCAA FBS universities that garnered him national acclaim. A name highly recognized throughout Arkansas and the nation, Malzahn comes to Arkansas State after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn for the past three seasons. A native of Fort Smith, Malzahn was named the winner of the 2010 Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate assistant coach.
COACHING RECOGNITION: First-year Arkansas State Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn was recognized as one of the top hires in the nation this offseason, named as the No. 4 best hire and No. 2 most intriguing hire in the nation by CBSSports.com. He was also one of two head coaches in the nation to receive a grade of A+ among new hires for the 2012 season by the Sporting News. Bleacher Report's "Over/Under Victories" for every new head coach places A-State at nine victories, one of the tops listed in the report.
HALL OF HONOR: A-State head coach Gus Malzahn was one of seven inductees into Henderson State University's Reddie Hall of Honor on Saturday (Oct. 6). The event took place at the Garrison Center Day Gym on the Henderson campus. A two-year letterman, Malzahn averaged 35.3 yards per punt his first year at Henderson and 37.7 yards his senior year, including a long of 64 yards. He also caught 24 passes for 288 yards for an average of 12.0 yards per catch. He earned All-AIC Honorable Mention honors in 1989.
ASU ANNOUNCES FOOTBALL FACILITY PROJECT: Arkansas State University announced a $22 million football facility project, including a two-level football operations building and 76,000 square-foot indoor practice facility in ASU Stadium's north end zone, at an 11 a.m. press conference held Sept. 6 at the current ASU Football Facility . . . The new football operations building's first floor will house A-State's locker room, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning and sports medicine centers, a players lounge and equipment room. The second floor will feature coaching and administrative offices, team meeting rooms, a history and heritage showroom and a team film room with theatre seating. The indoor practice facility will run east and west and be connected to the north side of the operations building . . . The facility will have a brick exterior and feature an outdoor plaza facing the field on the building's second level. The interior will have a strong Red Wolves' theme with black and red dominating the esthetic appearance.
IT'S ALL IN THE NAME: In recognition of a $5 million contribution by Liberty Bank, the ASU Board of Trustees announced Sept. 8 that Liberty Bank Stadium is the new name of the football stadium at Arkansas State University. The naming rights to the stadium are for the next 15 years, as announced at the newly-named facility just prior to kickoff of the Red Wolves' home football game against the Memphis Tigers.
A-STATE NAMES NEW AD: Arkansas State University Chancellor Dr. Tim Hudson announced Sept. 19 that Terry Mohajir, a 20-year veteran leader in collegiate athletics with a diverse background as an administrator, coach, student-athlete and city government participant, has been named A-State's 11th Director of Athletics. An Arkansas State University alumnus, Mohajir's (pronounced MO-HA-JUR) career path went through three other NCAA Division I institutions, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Florida Atlantic and Kansas, before leading him back to his alma mater. The Overland Park, Kansas native has been involved with major fundraising campaigns at multiple universities, while also overseeing corporate sales, marketing promotions and ticket sales. He most recently served the last 13 months as Kansas' Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to his time with the Jayhawks, he spent a seven-year stint as Florida Atlantic's Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Relations from 2004-11 after working at UMKC from 1997-2004 as its Assistant Director of Athletics for External Relations.
98th SEASON UNDER WAY: Arkansas State kicked off its 98th season of football Sept. 1 at Oregon. ASU now holds a 422-457-37 record since the inaugural 1911 season and has played in eight bowl games. A-State did not field a football team from 1942-44 due to World War II. ASU also didn't have a team in 1918 as World War I was ending.
THE ASU-ULM SERIES: ASU has played ULM 33 times, which is the fifth most in school history among all opponents. Arkansas State leads the all-time series with ULM 19-14 since the first meeting in 1959. As Sun Belt foes, ASU leads the series 7-4 after picking up a win over the Warhawks the last two seasons, including a 24-19 victory in Monroe last year.
ASU-ULM ALL-TIME SERIES: ASU leads 19-14
ASU-ULM ALL-TIME SBC SERIES: ASU leads 7-4
ASU at ULM (SBC SERIES ONLY): tied 3-3
ULM at ASU (SBC SERIES ONLY): ASU leads 4-1
OLD TIES: While Arkansas State and ULM have met the past 11 seasons as Sun Belt Conference opponents, it is not the first time the two teams have shared a league. Both the Red Wolves and the Warhawks were members of the Southland Conference at the same time from 1982-86.
A-STATE vs. THE SUN BELT: A-State is 75-64-1 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Since the league's inaugural football season in 2001, the Red Wolves hold a 46-37 on-field record against all opponents that have been a member of the league. Against current members of the conference, ASU is 41-33 since 2001. The Red Wolves hold their most all-time victories against Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette with 19 against both. The Red Wolves have defeated every team in the SBC since the football league was formed.
SUN BELT CHAMPIONS: Arkansas State claimed its first ever outright Sun Belt Conference championship in 2011. Including last season, ASU has won eight conference championships all-time. ASU won the Southland Conference seven times (1986, 1985, 1978, 1975, 1970, 1969, 1968). ASU also won the 2005 Sun Belt Conference title, but it was later vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
AN A-STATE VICTORY WOULD . . . : Secure back-to-back winning seasons for the Red Wolves for the first time since 1986-87 . . . Guarantee the Red Wolves a winning home record for the eighth consecutive season . . . Secure the Red Wolves a winning Sun Belt Conference record for the fifth time . . . Give it 10 victories over its last 11 home games . . . Make it 10-3 in midweek games since joining the Sun Belt in 2001, including a 3-0 record this year . . . Be its third straight against ULM and give the Red Wolves their 20th all-time victory against the Warhawks, which would be their most all-time against a current Sun Belt member . . . Give it 13 wins over its last 14 conference games . . . Give the Red Wolves their second most wins ever since joining the FBS in 1992, behind only their 10 posted last season.
CODE RED: A Code Red alert has been issued by proclamation from the mayor of the City of Jonesboro and will be in effect for this Thursday's (Nov. 8) Arkansas State football game versus Louisiana-Monroe. Red has been designated as the official game day color for the ESPNU televised gridiron matchup and the City of Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin is encouraging everyone to not only attend the A-State football game but show their Red Wolves pride by wearing red-colored apparel in his proclamation.
GAME PROMOTIONS AND SPECIAL EVENTS: A number of pregame festivities are planned for Thursday, which include a performance by the Jonesboro Firefighters Pipes and Drums along with USA military recognition, and a flag presentation by the ASU ROTC . . . Holt AgriBusiness is the game sponsor and will give away a Rally Towel to the first 6,000 fans in attendance . . . As part of the Code Red and Hero Day, all military, fire, police, medical, and emergency service personnel will be admitted free with uniform or proper ID. All guests and family members will be admitted to the game at the $9 group rate per individual . . . Prior to the contest, the traditional Red Wolf Walk will commence at 3:45 p.m. (CT). This Thursday has also been designated ASU Student Appreciation Day with a student tailgate featuring a live band to begin at 2 p.m. (CT) in the Pines on the east side of Liberty Bank Stadium. A-State students with proper ID attending this Thursday's game will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last and have an opportunity to win one of two 32" flat screen televisions along with several other gift cards and prizes.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: Arkansas State is bowl eligible for the fifth time over the last eight seasons, including the last two in a row. Since joining the FBS in 1992, the only year ASU has become bowl eligible faster was the 2011 campaign when it reached six victories in eight games.
LOU GROZA AWARD SEMIFINALIST: The Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced Monday that Arkansas State placekicker Brian Davis has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2012 Lou Groza Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee. A junior from Brentwood, Tenn., Davis has made 14-of-17 field goal attempts for an .824 percentage and scored a team-high 76 points this season. He is currently ranked tied for 14th in the nation in field goals made (1.56 per game) and tied for 18th in the nation in scoring by kick. He is also ranked eighth in the country in field goal percentage among players with at least 15 attempts. Davis, who has made his last six field goals in a row, was a perfect 5-of-5 on his field goal attempts and scored 20 points against the Ragin' Cajuns to earn the weekly honors. His five field goals made and 20 points by kicking are both the third most in the nation this year.
HOME SWEET HOME: With a 6-0 home record last season, Arkansas State secured its seventh consecutive winning record at Liberty Bank Stadium dating back to 2005. ASU is now 34-8 at ASU Stadium since the 2005 season. The Red Wolves actual on-field record all-time at Liberty Bank Stadium is 126-71-1 since it opened in 1974. ASU's six home wins last season were its most since 1985.
MIDWEEK MONSTERS: Historically, A-State has performed well in midweek games since joining the Sun Belt Conference. Since the 2001 campaign, the Red Wolves hold a 9-3 record in all midweek games. ASU has won its last four midweek games, including a 34-20 victory over FIU on a Thursday night and a 50-27 win over UL Lafayette on a Tuesday night this year.
ATTENDANCE FIGURES: The Liberty Bank crowd of 25,160 for the ASU-WKU game made it the largest to ever watch A-State play a conference game in Jonesboro. The next largest was 24,256 when ASU hosted Middle Tennessee in 2008 . . . ASU's first four home games all drew a crowd of over 20,000, marking the first time in school history the Red Wolves played four consecutive home games with 20,000-plus in attendance. Not only that, this is the first time ASU has had crowds of over 20,000 in four games over the course of an entire season.
ROAD WARRIORS: Arkansas State has won seven consecutive road conference games, its longest streak ever in the Sun Belt Conference and longest as a member of any league since it won seven straight road contests against Southland foes from 1973-75. The Red Wolves went 4-0 in Sun Belt road games last season and are 3-0 in those outings this year.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Arkansas State is one of 40 teams in the nation to play at least eight true freshman this season. A-State's eight true freshmen played ranks tied for the 37th most in the nation with Auburn, Clemson and Hawai'i. Three true freshmen have started at least one game for ASU, including Rocky Hayes, Bryce Giddens and Chris Humes. Additionally, A-State has played 17 combined true and redshirt freshmen this year, tied the 31st most in the nation.
A NEW START: Arkansas State has 15 players who have started their first career game at the school this season, which ranks tied for the 14th most in the nation with six other teams. Hawai'i leads the nation with 28 first-time starters this year. Players with their first career start at ASU this season include David Oku (RB), Rocky Hayes (RB/WR), J.D. McKissic (WR), Aaron Williams (OL), Steven Haunga (OL), Bryce Giddens (OL), Alan Wright (OL), Ronnell Wright (DL), Shervarius Jackson (DE), Chris Stone (DE), Eddie Porter (LB/DE), Andrew Tryon (CB), Artez Brown (CB), Chris Humes (S) and Cole Lorigan (S).
ABOVE AVERAGE: The A-State offense is averaging 6.2 yards per play and 460.1 yards per game, both of which would break the school record for a single season. The current school records for a season are 6.0 yards per play (2008) and 447.8 yards per game (2011).
300-PLUS: Dating back to the 2010 season, Arkansas State has posted at least 300 yards of total offense 32 of its last 34 games. ASU's 12-game streak with over 300 yards total offense came to an end just two games shy of the school record against Nebraska earlier this season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Led by junior running back David Oku with nine scores, Arkansas State has seen 15 different players score at least one touchdown this season. ASU's 15 players with a touchdown is tied for the fifth most in the nation with Georgia Tech, Florida State, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech, while Navy and Marshall have the most in the nation with 17.
LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: After scoring 33 or more points in seven games this year, A-State has now posted at least 30 points in 15 of its last 20 regular-season games dating back to last season. The Red Wolves scored 30 or more points in eight games during the 2011 season, the most since 1951 when it hit the total 10 times.
"PICKING" IT UP: While the A-State defense recorded only one interception over its first three games, it has now posted eight picks over the last six games. The Red Wolves have recorded at least one interception in five of the last six games, including a season-high three against Louisiana-Lafayette. Senior cornerback Chaz Scales and sophomore safety Sterling Young have a team-best two interceptions each.
ALL-PURPOSE THREAT: While junior running back David Oku has recorded only one 100-yard rushing game, his rushing and receiving total combined has exceeded 100 yards in four games. Those games include Oregon (81 rush, 21 receiving, 102 total), Memphis (111 rush, 8 receiving, 119 total), WKU (79 rush, 27 receiving, 106 total) and UL Lafayette (83 rush, 24 receiving, 107 total). He has caught at least one pass in all but one game and is ranked seventh in the Sun Belt Conference in all-purpose yards at 96.6 per game.
BEST TOTALS SINCE 2009: Just eight games into the season, senior running back David Oku's 698 rushing yards and nine touchdowns are both already the most by an ASU running back since Reggie Arnold recorded 723 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2009. Oku leads the team in rushing yards and is ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference.
TOPPING THE TOTAL OFFENSE CHARTS: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin broke the Sun Belt Conference record for total offense career yards during the FIU game, finishing the game with 273 yards to give him 10,365 for his career at the time. Aplin passed ULM's Steve Jyles (10,234 yards from 2002-05) for the record. Additionally, he is ranked second all-time in the league in passing yards (9,604) and completions (815), third in touchdown passes (57) and tied for third in rushing yards by a quarterback (1,568).
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin has tossed at least one touchdown in 33 of his last 37 games dating back to his freshman season. Aplin has also thrown for at least 200 yards 29 times in his career and all 29 have come over ASU's last 36 games. Additionally, he has 16 career games with over 300 yards total offense.
ACTIVE APLIN: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin is ranked among the top active players in the NCAA in several career statistics, including:
4th, career total offense yards (11,172)
5th, career passing yards (9,604)
6th, career TD responsible for (87)
6th, career completions (815)
13th, career touchdown passes (57)
T20th, career rushing touchdowns (29)
FIVE MORE SCHOOL RECORDS: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin has set five new school records this year, giving him 21 combined game, season and career records at ASU . . . His single-game records include most plays, total offense, most average yards per game, passes attempted, completion percentage and completions . . . His single-season records include most plays, total offense, passes attempted, completions, touchdown passes, highest completion percentage and most passing yards per game . . . His career records include total offense, total plays, most average yards per game, completions, pass attempts, highest completion percentage, touchdown passes and most passing yards per game.
ON A ROLL: Senior wide receiver Taylor Stockemer has recorded at least one reception in his last 38 games played, ranking tied for the second most in the NCAA among all players along with Baylor's Lanear Sampson and Central Michigan's Cody Wilson. Duke's Conner Vernon leads the nation with a catch in 45 straight games. Twelve of Stockemer's 18 receptions and 178 of his 214 receiving yards have come over ASU's last three games.
AT LEAST FOUR: Redshirt freshman receiver J.D. McKissic has recorded at least four receptions in every game this season, including a career-high 10 against North Texas. He now has a team-high 60 catches to place him second in the Sun Belt Conference and tied for 21st in the nation in receptions. McKissic also has a team-best 609 receiving yards, which ranks fourth in the SBC.
CAREER YEAR: Just nine games into the season, nine of ASU's top 14 tacklers that aren't newcomers have posted the most stops of their career for a single season. ASU's top six leaders in tackles also includes five players with career-best numbers, including senior linebacker Nathan Herrold (83 this year, 78 in 2010), sophomore linebacker Qushaun Lee (62 this year, 49 in 2011), senior defensive back Don Jones (57 this year, 54 in 2011), junior defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers (50 this year, 35 combined for 2010-11) and senior defensive end Tim Starson (46 this year, 39 combined for 2009-11).
PLAYING IN THE BACKFIELD: Senior defensive end Tim Starson has a team-high 9.0 tackles for loss, but senior linebacker Nathan Herrold and junior defensive end Eddie Porter aren't far behind with 6.0 and 5.0, respectively. Herrold has recorded at least a partial tackle for loss in seven of the last eight games and Porter at least one in four of the last five outings. Starson has at least a partial TFL in six games this year as well.
CONTROLLING THE INTERIOR: Junior Ryan Carrethers recorded a career-high 10 tackles twice this year from his interior defensive lineman position. Not only is Carrethers ranked fourth on the team and tied for 36th in the Sun Belt in tackles among all players, he easily leads the league in tackles by all defensive linemen with 50 (5.6 per game) to his credit.
HERALDED PEFORMANCE: Senior linebacker Nathan Herrold recorded a career-high 17 tackles against South Alabama, giving him three games this year (11 at both Oregon and Nebraska) and six for his career with double-figure stops. He now has a team-high 83 tackles, placing him second in the Sun Belt Conference and tied for 38th in the nation in tackles per game (9.2). Herrold has also recorded at least a partial tackle for loss in seven of ASU's last eight games.
KICK IT INTO GEAR: Junior kicker Brian Davis has made multiple field goals in five of ASU's nine games this season and 10 times during his career. He needs two field goals to tie the second most in school history for a career.
THAT'S OFFENSIVE: A-State's 634 yards of total offense against Alcorn State was the seventh most in school history and marked the second time this year the Red Wolves recorded over 600 yards. They also piled up 619 yards against Memphis, which were the most against an FBS opponent since recording a school-record 681 against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2007. ASU has now posted at least 500 yards total offense in four of its first nine games and 400 or more in six games.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: With its 56-0 win over Alcorn State, ASU recorded its first shutout since defeating Mississippi Valley State 61-0 in its 2009 season opener. ASU limited Alcorn State to just 2.2 yards per play, which tied the fifth lowest average for a game in Sun Belt Conference history. ASU's defense allowed just 130 yards, which is the fewest since giving up 69 to Mississippi Valley State in 2009 as well. The Red Wolves also held Memphis under 300 yards total offense, limiting the Tigers to 293 yards for the fewest by an ASU opponent since FAU recorded 281 last season.
REACHING THE CENTURY MARK: Sophomore running back Rod Smith broke 100 yards rushing for the first time of his career against Alcorn State with a career-high 104 yards. He was the second ASU player to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, joining David Oku (111 yards vs. Memphis). A-State had a running back record over 100 yards in a rushing in a game only once all of last season.
HOMECOMING HISTORY: Arkansas State improved to 57-27-1 all-time in Homecoming contests with its victory over South Alabama. The Red Wolves have now won nine of their last 10 Homecoming games dating back to the 2003 season.
KNOCKING OFF THE FAVORITE: Arkansas State's 34-20 victory over FIU earlier this year marked the third consecutive year the Red Wolves defeated the top pick in the Sun Belt Conference preseason coaches poll. ASU also defeated preseason favorite FIU last season and Middle Tennessee in 2010.
APLIN NAMED A FINALIST FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin was named as one of 10 finalists for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award on Oct. 18 . . . Aplin was one of 30 original candidates from across the nation for the award, which annually recognizes an NCAA FBS senior with notable achievements in areas of community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the prestigious Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
COLLECTING HONORS: Junior kicker Brian Davis picked up several honors after connecting on 5-of-5 field goals and scoring 20 points against Louisiana-Lafayette, including Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, Lou Groza Award Star of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Placekicker of the Week.
HERROLD NAMED SBC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior linebacker Nathan Herrold was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week following the Red Wolves' 36-29 victory over South Alabama. Herrold registered a career-high 17 tackles and posted his first career pass interception. Herrold's 17 stops in the contest were the most by a Sun Belt Conference player and tied for the 13th most tackles in a game nationally this season. His tackles output against South Alabama represented the most by an A-State player since 2005 when Tyrell Johnson racked up a SBC record 25 stops against North Texas. Herrold's recognition represented the second time this season an A-State defensive player has claimed a league weekly honor. Sophomore linebacker Qushaun Lee earned the league's weekly distinction the week prior (Oct. 8).
LEE NAMED SBC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore linebacker Qushaun Lee was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 8. Lee recorded a game-high 12 tackles, an interception and a pass break-up during Arkansas State's 34-20 victory at Florida International. Lee's 12 tackles were the second most of his career, just three short of his 15 recorded against Nebraska earlier this season.
McKISSIC HONORED: Freshman WR J.D. McKissic was named College Sports Madness' Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week after his stellar performance against FIU. He recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game, picking up 124 yards and a TD on five receptions. McKissic's 124 receiving yards are the most by an ASU player this season.
FCS WINNING STREAK EXTENDED: Arkansas State extended its winning streak against FCS opponents to eight games with a 56-0 win over Alcorn State earlier this season. The Red Wolves have won those eight games by a combined 426-60 score. ASU improved to 19-4 against FCS opponents since moving to the FBS in 1992.
CFPA RECOGNIZES APLIN: The College Football Performance Awards recognized senior Ryan Aplin as an Honorable Mention National Quarterback of the Week following A-State's victory over Alcorn State. Aplin only played in the first half, leading ASU to 42-0 lead at the break with 198 yards passing, another 24 rushing and three touchdown passes. Aplin completed 12-of-13 pass attempts for a school-record .923 completion percentage. His three touchdown tosses gave him 50 for his career, making him ASU's all-time leader in the stat and one of just four players in Sun Belt history to record at least 50 touchdown passes. Aplin ended the game with 222 yards of total offense.
SULLIVENT HONORED: Senior punter Neely Sullivent was announced as a College Football Performance Awards national honorable mention punter of the week following the Nebraska game. Sullivent averaged 48 yards per punt against the Huskers, almost a full 10 yards more than his season average of 38.4 entering the game. He recorded his second punt of the season to travel over 50 yards and also posted his first punt inside the 20. Sullivent raised has season average to 41.8 yards per punt to rank him third in the Sun Belt Conference.
PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE: Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin was named Sun Belt Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and one of four A-State players named to the all-conference team at the league's Media Day in New Orleans. Aplin, senior wideout Josh Jarboe, senior offensive lineman Zack McKnight and senior defensive back Don Jones were all named to the Preseason All-SBC Team.
RED WOLVES TABBED SECOND IN PRESEASON SBC POLL: The Red Wolves were picked second in the preseason coaches poll announced as part of the league's annual Media Day. Arkansas State received 85 points and two first place votes, just behind Florida International, which received five first place votes and 92 points to earn the nod as the preseason favorite in the league race. The Red Wolves won the Sun Belt Conference Championship a year ago after posting a perfect 8-0 record in league play during the 2011 season. Louisiana-Lafayette, Western Kentucky and Troy rounded out the top five in the poll, and FIU defensive lineman Tourek Williams was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
HIGHLY TOUTED RECRUITING CLASS: With a Parade All-American, Under Armour All-American, NJCAA All-American, 23 players that earned either junior college all-conference or high school all-state recognition and 18 players rated at least three stars by one or more of the major recruiting sources, the 2012 ASU signing class could be considered one of the best in the history of the ASU football program. Arkansas State had the top-rated class in the Sun Belt Conference by Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports.com.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS: A-State returns five 2011 All-Sun Belt Conference players this season, including the league's Player of the Year in senior quarterback Ryan Aplin. Aplin was a first-team selection and was joined by second-team choices Josh Jarboe (Sr., WR) and Nathan Herrold (Sr., LB). Returning as honorable mention choices are senior wideout Taylor Stockemer and senior punter Neely Sullivent.
GODADDY.COM BOWL: Arkansas State accepted an official invitation to the GoDaddy.com Bowl last season following its victory over Middle Tennessee on Nov. 19, placing the Red Wolves in a bowl game for the first time since 2005 when they played Southern Miss in the New Orleans Bowl in Lafayette, La. ASU was bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, but for the fourth time over the last seven seasons. ASU reached bowl eligibility after just eight games, making last year the earliest ASU had ever been bowl eligible as an FBS member (since 1992).
SUN BELT CHAMPIONS: Arkansas State claimed its first ever outright Sun Belt Conference championship last season. Including 2011, Arkansas State has won eight conference championships all-time. ASU won the Southland Conference seven times (1986, 1985, 1978, 1975, 1970, 1969, 1968). ASU also won the 2005 Sun Belt Conference championship, but it was later vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
IN THE POLLS: Arkansas State received as many as 18 votes in the AP Top 25 Poll and 13 votes in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll, while also ranking as high as No. 35 in the BCS and reaching No. 30 in the CBSSports.com 120 rankings during the season.
SENIOR BOWL WATCHLIST: ASU has two players on the inaugural Senior Bowl Watch list. Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin and senior wide out Josh Jarboe were added to the watch list on August 24.
APLIN ON NUMEROUS WATCH LISTS: An All-America and Heisman candidate, senior quarterback Ryan Aplin has garnered a significant amount of national attention this preseason as he is listed on the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List, Davey O'Brien Award Watch List, Johnny Unitas Award Watch List and the Manning Award Watch List. Video, action photos and biographical information for Aplin are all available on a Facebook Page, maintained by the ASU Sports Information Department, called "Ryan Aplin All-America and Heisman Campaign." Fans and media will be able to follow Aplin's 2012 season on the page, where updates will be posted throughout fall camp and the upcoming season.
ATHLON'S PRESEASON HONORS: The Red Wolves had six players named to Athlon's preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team, including senior quarterback Ryan Aplin (first team), senior wide receiver Josh Jarboe (first team), senior offensive lineman Zack McKnight (first team), senior linebacker Nathan Herrold (first team), junior defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers (second team) and senior safety Don Jones (second team).
PHIL STEELE'S PRESEASON HONORS: Phil Steele's preseason All-Sun Belt team featured 12 A-State players, including first team selections Ryan Aplin (Sr., QB) and Josh Jarboe (Sr., WR). ASU's 12 selections tied the fourth most in the league with Troy. Earning a spot on the second team were Taylor Stockemer (Sr., WR), Zack McKnight (Sr., OL), Nathan Herrold (Sr., LB), Chaz Scales (Sr., DB) and Andrew Tryon (So., DB), who made the team as a kick returner. The Red Wolves' third-team choices were Frankie Jackson (So., RB), Ryan Carrethers (Jr., DL) and Brian Davis (Jr., K), while Ishamail Hayes (Jr., DE) and Qushaun Lee (So., LB) were fourth-team selections.
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS PRESEASON HONORS: CollegeSportsMadness.com has announced its preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team, which includes Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Aplin (Sr.