After Arkansas State’s running back Michael Gordon ran 73 yards for a touchdown, Arkansas State had the motivation they needed to conquer the Apps.
The defense held Arkansas State to just 40 yards in the first quarter and 125 in total yards at half. The defense also forced 5 punts in just the first half alone. Arkansas State couldn’t get the run going which ultimately hurt the team as a whole as they’re known for being a heavy running team. The defense played poor in the second half, but you have to applaud their efforts in the first half as they dominated Arkansas State early in the game.
Sophomore wide receiver Dante Jones got his first career touchdown.
Challenging Arkansas State’s secondary was key all game. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Lamb had a barrage of deep throws throughout the game and kept Arkansas State guessing every play.
A pair of fumbles resulted in two touchdowns for Arkansas State in the first quarter. In the third quarter App State managed to fumble again almost losing the ball on their own 30 until it was recovered by a fellow member of the Black and Gold. Arkansas State had no turnovers all game which was a major contributor to their success. App had 3 turnovers in total, each setting up a score for the Red Wolves.
With numerous unsportsmanlike penalties being called on App State, the foolish actions from the players continued to hurt them throughout the game. App State tallied up a total of six penalties all game compared to Arkansas State’s two. The Black and Gold had three unsportsmanlike penalties called on them, which is absolutely absurd from any team. App State was out of the game mentally and physically in the second half, Arkansas State was able to capitalize on it and pull out with the win from it.
App State gave up a 73 yard run early in the third quarter. The defense began to look tired and worn out. The coaches appeared to be frustrated as nothing was working for the Mountaineers and emotions continued to take control over the players and even coaches.
The defense did a fantastic job with stopping the run allowing 3.5 yards carry. In the second half that average increased to 5.9 yards per carry which was the ultimate factor of how Arkansas State was able to form a lead. Ronald Blair appeared to be the only player that was able to clog the run and make defensive stops.
Communication was amazing in the first half, but along with everything else many things went downhill for App in the second half. Players appeared to be frustrated with each other and motivation seemed to be absent from the equation.
App State strayed away from the passing game and decided to run the ball more in the second half. The slant routes along with the fades were working magic on offense and to remain unpredictable those routes needed to be used more throughout the game. App State was averaging 10 yards a pass compared to their mediocre 3.5 yards a carry, yet on crucial plays the play call always resulted in a run.
Cheeky Play Calling:
App State performed a fake punt in the 1st quarter that resulted in a touchdown. The play looked like a scene out of a movie, App State punter Bentlee Critcher threw a bomb downfield for 36 yards moving the chains on a crucial 4th down conversion. Coach Satterfield has been known for his tricky plays throughout his coaching career, nobody saw this coming though.
Death by run:
App State was beaten by the run this game. The defense was playing phenomenal against the run until Michael Gordon ran for a 73 yard touchdown. It was like Arkansas State casted a spell on App State’s defense as the team became incompetent to stop the run in any way.
A Tired Defense:
Arkansas State learned a few things from Troy, which was that the Mountaineers struggle against the no huddle. App State got tired fast and stayed on the field for most of the first half with App State either scoring fast off big plays or turning it over in their own territory. With App State beginning to get tired the team started to struggle to clog the run or make any big plays.
Turnovers Make or Break a Game:
Imagine if those 2 fumbles didn’t happen. App State would have entered the first half with a steady lead over Arkansas State, and the team would be motivated to enter the second half. Arkansas State wouldn’t be able to continue to run the ball due to the clock and would be forced to pass which isn’t their strongest trait as a team. If Arkansas State was forced to pass and App State didn’t fumble it would be a completely different game.
The Mountaineers (7-2, 4-1 Sun Belt) will travel to face the Idaho Vandals (3-5, 2-3 Sun Belt) with hope of still clinching a Sun Belt title, but they’ll now need some help after the loss. Kick off is set for 3:30 p.m.
Story by: Brent Gilmore, Intern Sports Reporter