Arkansas State gets one final tune up before playing eight consecutive Sun Belt Conference games to end the season.
The Red Wolves (1-2) gladly take on the task of bouncing back from last Saturdays defeat at Nebraska by taking on Alcorn St. at home in the newly renamed Liberty Bank Stadium this Saturday.
"We've been pretty beat up probably the last three weeks of this grind right now," ASU head coach Gus Malzahn on getting players healthy and playing Alcorn St. this weekend. "We need to get our guys healthy again and Alcorn State we know we're going to get their best coming into here, but we need to worry about ourselves and get our main guys healthy. We have to do a good job in practice this week and this game Saturday."
Malzahn added that playing against an FCS opponent is something that does not bother him even though he didn't make out this current schedule.
"I'm fine with that. I inherited this schedule and we're going to make the best of it coming this week before conference," Malzahn said also adding that future games against FCS opponents are something he is fine with.
"We need to get some momentum going into conference and that's what we're focused on, more of us and wanting to play well."
Malzahn hopes his team doesn't duplicate its last home game, a victory over Memphis when ASU gave up 14 points on special teams to blocks and fumbles.
"It was better. Nebraska overall had one of the best special teams units in all of college football. We did have the two penalties that really hurt us when we had them backed up and that's what stands out in my mind," Malzahn on his team improving its special teams from the Memphis game to Nebraska game. "Our kickoff coverage was also good, all but the one that we tried to pooch and they kind of busted out the back door. Overall I was pleased at the fact we are getting better."
ASU has won its last seven home games, which gives the Red Wolves their longest winning streak at Liberty Bank Stadium since 2004-2006 when they won 11 in a row.
The Red Wolves have played four other SWAC opponents of the history of the conference and hold a 5-0 record against teams like Grambling, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State and Texas Southern. ASU has outscored its opponents a combined 244-10 in those games.
Series History: Saturday's game will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Scouting The Offense: Dating back to the 2010 season, ASU has posted at least 300 yards of total offense in 26 of the last 28 games. ASU's 12-game streak with over 300 yards total offense came to an end just two games shy of the school record last time out against Nebraska.
Scouting The Defense: The Red Wolves defense had their eyes out for the ball last time out against Nebraska and hopes the trend continues at home this week against Alcorn. Against the Huskers the Red Wolves defense combined to record four fumble recoveries last game against Nebraska, which was only one shy of tying the second most in school history. The last time ASU tallied more than four fumble recoveries in a game was 1997 when it had five against Southern Utah.
Quote To Note: "Right now it doesn't matter who we play because we're worried about ourselves. We've got to get better in a lot of areas and we know that. So I know from a coach and players standpoint that's our next opponent but we're worried about us"-ASU head coach Gus Malzahn on his team not overlooking Alcorn St.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Weeks Game: Arkansas State vs. Alcorn St., Sept. 22-The Red Wolves look to improve 2-0 at home this year when they take on Alcorn St, who lost to Arkansas-Pine Bluff 24-6 this weekend.
Keys To The Game: Arkansas State shouldn't have much trouble with this one. The key will be fine tuning the defensive unit before conference play starts next week and trying to get quarterback Ryan Aplin more consistent as he completed roughly just 50 percent of his passes the last two weeks.
Players To Watch:
LB Nathan Herrold matched his season high with 11 tackles last game, marking the second time this year and fifth time of his career he reached double-figure tackles. He now has a team-high 31 tackles, placing him second in the Sun Belt Conference.
RB David Oku rushed for 81 yards in his debut for Arkansas State after not playing football in 2011. Oku started his career at Tennessee and played as a reserve running back while also making an impact in the return game for the Volunteers. Oku followed that with 131 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries against Memphis and 11 carries for 44 yards at Nebraska.
WR J.D. McKissic recorded a career-high eight receptions for the second straight game last time out, giving him 20 receptions on the season to tie teammate Josh Jarboe for the most on the team.
WR Taylor Stockemer is still questionable after not dressing out against Nebraska last week. Stockemer was hurt in the first half of the season opener at Oregon with an apparent leg injury.
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