JONESBORO, Ark. (11/3/18) – Justice Hansen accounted for four touchdowns and Justin McInnis had seven catches for 177 yards and a touchdown in Arkansas State football’s 38-14 Homecoming victory over South Alabama Saturday at Centennial Bank Stadium.
The A-State (5-4, 2-3 SBC) defense held South Alabama (2-7, 1-4 SBC) to 260 yards of offense and just 93 yards passing while logging three sacks and eight tackles for loss. The Red Wolves offense finished with 354 yards passing and 156 on the ground while committing just three penalties for 15 yards.
Hansen finished 26-of-37 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns while rushing six times for 25 yards and a score. McInnis had seven catches and 177 yards to lead the receiving corps with Kirk Merritt snagging six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Warren Wand had 16 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown to lead the rushing attack. B.J. Edmonds, Tajhea Chambers and Logan Wescott led the A-State defense with eight tackles each.
“It feels good to be on the winning side of things,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “I’ve been really pleased with how the guys have responded with a great week of practice that was positive in the face of adversity. I thought we pulled together and found a way to get a good team win today. It wasn’t always pretty as we struggled early, but we made the adjustments and settled in and played better. Defensively, I was thrilled with how tough we made it for them to move the ball. That’s what we needed today, find a way to win rather it was pretty or ugly. It’s always good to win homecoming and it was a beautiful day to play ball.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the two teams got the ball moving in the second quarter. The Red Wolves found the end zone on a five yard pass and catch from Hansen to Merritt to open the scoring. The Jaguars answered with a 12 play, 75-yard scoring drive to tie the game with 8:45 to play in the first half.
A-State closed the first half with Wand plunging into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown. A 39-yard strike from Hansen to McInnis was a key play on the 10 play, 83-yard scoring drive that gave A-State the 14-7 halftime advantage. McInnis caught the pass through two defenders and nearly scored on the play.
The Red Wolves scored on its opening drive of the second half with Hansen connecting with Javonis Isaac for an 11-yard pass and catch. After a fourth down stop by the A-State defense, McInnis made his second superb catch and broke free for the longest scoring play of the season, a 78-yard touchdown catch to make it 28-7 late in the third quarter.
A 26-yard field goal by Blake Grupe increased the Red Wolves lead to 31-7 with 14:45 to play and Hansen barreled into the end zone for a two yard score to make it 38-7. South Alabama got their second score of the game with 3:48 to play, but the Red Wolves earned the 38-14 victory.
The Red Wolves hit the road to Conway, S.C. to play Coastal Carolina on November 10 at 4:00 p.m. (CT) on ESPN+. A-State returns to Centennial Bank Stadium for Senior Day on November 17 against ULM. Kickoff is slated for 2:00 p.m. against the Warhawks on ESPN+.