JONESBORO, Ark. (9/1/18) – Senior quarterback Justice Hansen passed for a single-game school record six touchdowns and the Red Wolves had seven passing touchdowns as a team for a school record as Arkansas State opened the 2018 season with a 48-21 victory over Southeast Missouri at Allison Field inside Centennial Bank Stadium.
“I am obviously excited to get the win,” said head coach Blake Anderson. “It wasn't pretty at times, but it is hard to be upset with a 48-21 win when a lot of folks did not get it done this weekend. I was excited for some of the new guys that stepped up and made some plays that hadn't had some snaps. It was even good to get (Logan) Bonner out there and have some snaps when the game was still kind of in question and the same thing for Marcel Murray.”
“All of that is kind of clouded by the fact that we had 12 penalties for 119 yards, we turned the ball over a couple of times, and we missed a couple of tackles that turned into explosive plays for them. Those are just things that when we play teams that are better equipped and match up with us better are going to be things that cause you to lose a game. It was an eye-opening experience, love the win, but it is a chance to learn and we have to improve quickly before we go play the No. 1 team in the country. It's not so much that we are playing Alabama it is just that we have to improve overall and play the way we are capable.”
Hansen finished the night 26-of-36 passing for 423 yards and six touchdowns to six different receivers. Hansen became the first Sun Belt Conference quarterback to throw for six or more touchdowns in a game since Giovanni Vizza of North Texas had eight against Navy on Nov. 10, 2007. Sophomore quarterback Logan Bonner was 2-of-3 for 74 yards and a touchdown to give A-State seven scores through the air to seven different receivers.
A-State (1-0) struck first with Hansen connecting with Jonathan Adams Jr. for a 26-yard touchdown. Southeast Missouri (0-1) evened the game at 7-7, but Hansen connected on a 15-yard pass and catch with Justin McInnis to make it 14-7 in the second quarter. After the Redhawks knotted the score at 14-14, Hansen tossed his third touchdown pass finding Kendrick Edwards on the 36-yard connection as A-State led 21-14 at the break.
The Red Wolves added four more scores in the third quarter, with three of the four touchdown grabs covering 50 or more yards, to lead 48-14. Hansen connected with Javonis Isaac for a 57-yard strike to open the second half and followed with a six-yard pass and catch to Bubba Ogbebor. Bonner came in on the next series and it took just one play, a 54-yard pass to Omar Bayless to make it 41-14. Hansen re-entered the game and eclipsed the school record with a 67-yard pass to a wide open Marcel Murray to make it 48-14.
A-State finished the night outgaining the Redhawks 685-285 with a 497-163 edge through the air. The 685 total yards rank third in single-game history, while the 8.7 yards per play ranks the effort seventh. Murray led A-State on the ground with 10 rushes for 54 yards, while adding two catches for 75 yards and a score.
Defensively, A-State was led by Justin Clifton and Tajhea Chambers who logged six tackles each. The unit posted 11 tackles for loss, including three sacks.
A-State travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on Alabama on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a game nationally televised on ESPN2. The Red Wolves return to Centennial Bank Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, to host UNLV.