FACTS & STATS: Site: Centennial Bank Stadium (30,964) — Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: ULM 3-0, ASU 2-0. Away Record: ULM 0-1,
ASU 0-2. Neutral Record: ULM 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: ULM 2-0, ASU
0-0. Series Record: Arkansas State leads, 21-14.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves will face their first Sun Belt
Conference test of the season on Saturday night when they welcome the ULM
Warhawks to Centennial Bank Stadium.
ULM endured a back-and-forth contest last Saturday versus Troy before a field
goal late in the fourth quarter gave it a 22-20 victory, allowing it to move
to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Sun Belt. The Warhawks have played just one road
game, falling at nationally-ranked LSU on Sept. 13, 31-0.
ASU had an up-and-down non-conference schedule. After winning its opener at
home versus Montana State (37-10), it dropped back-to-back difficult road
games to Tennessee (34-10) and Miami-Florida (41-20) before moving back to
.500 with a home win against Utah State on Sept. 20 (21-14 in OT). The Red
Wolves have enjoyed their home cooking, winning 10 of their last 11 in
The Red Wolves lead the all-time series with the Warhawks, 21-14, which
includes an 11-6 mark in Jonesboro.
The Warhawks’ offense has been grounded for most of the season, including last
week when they put up a modest 357 yards. They average 19.2 ppg and 334.0 ypg
and have converted third downs at just a 34-percent clip.
Pete Thomas completes just 57.6 percent of his passes for 978 yards and four
touchdowns, but he takes care of the ball with only two interceptions in 158
Ajalen Holley has been a big play waiting to happen out wide, piling up 301
yards and three touchdowns on just 14 receptions (21.5 ypc). Rashon Ceaser (20
receptions, 169 yards) and Kenzee Jackson (18 receptions, 238 yards) round out
a solid receiving corps.
Centarius Donald is the featured tailback and has turned 71 carries into 294
yards and three scores.
While ULM’s offense has struggled, the defense has helped pick up the slack.
The unit ranks first in the Sun Belt in total defense (314.8 ypg) and third in
scoring defense (23.0 ppg).
Mitch Lane has been the team’s top defensive playmaker through the first month
of the season with 33 tackles, two interceptions and three passes defended.
The unit also gets after the quarterback with 17 sacks, with Gerrand Johnson
and Ray Stovall leading the way with 3.0 apiece.
Since putting up 37 points in its opener, ASU’s offense has stumbled in
scoring 21 points or fewer in three straight to bring its years numbers to
24.2 ppg and 380.8 ypg. It tallied just 316 yards in last week’s win despite
having an overtime period to work with.
Fredi Knighten has been quiet in terms of his passing production, completing
just 59.6 percent of his passes for 792 yards, three touchdowns and an
interception. He’s been a versatile piece of the offense, adding 169 rushing
yards and two scores and has even caught two passes for 64 yards.
Johnston White earns the most backfield work, turning 48 carries into 237
yards and three touchdowns.
J.D. McKissic is Knighten’s preferred target in the passing game with 22
catches for 223 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone.
Much like ULM, ASU’s lackluster offense hasn’t done much to help a stellar
defensive effort (24.8 ppg, 386.0 ypg).
Qushaun Lee has made plays all over the field with 31 tackles, 3.5 TFL, a sack
and two interceptions. Other defensive standouts include Xavier Woodson (30
tackles, 2.0 sacks), Sterling Young (24 tackles, sack, INT), and Chris Stone
Expect a hard-nosed, defensive-minded bout between two of the Sun Belt’s best,
with the Red Wolves finding a way to come away victorious on their home field.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 24, ULM 21