Arkansas State is now bowl eligible after its 37-14 win over North Texas on home coming night.
The victory gave the Red Wolves their sixth victory of the year and with only two losses and four games remaining, adding another game to the end of the schedule is starting to look like a legit possibility for the Red Wolf nation in Jonesboro.
"We just aren't going to talk about it. We are going to enjoy it tonight then worry about FAU," ASU head coach Hugh Freeze said. "Just because we have six wins doesn't guarantee we are going to play in any bowl game."
Arkansas State has now won five straight games since an early season loss to Virginia Tech. The only other blemish on the Red Wolves schedule was to an Illinois team on the opening Saturday of college football.
With a 4-0 start in Sun Belt Conference action, ASU is off to its best start as a member of any league since 1986 when it was a 1-AA member in the Southland Conference. The five-game winning streak is also the best since the same season.
"I just want us to take care of us. We are going on the road to a place we have never won," Freeze said. "Arkansas State has never won at FAU (Florida Atlantic). It's another part of our crossing the Jordan so to speak. We are going to enjoy the night. I'm not going to get caught up in talking about bowl games and such. I just want to win another conference game."
With six wins in eight games, Arkansas State is off to its best start in 25 years and best since joining Division 1.
Arkansas State scored on four of its first five possessions and rolled up 540 yards off offense on the way to its 37-14 win, including scoring the first 31 points in the first half.
Through eight games, the Arkansas States defense has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher after holding North Texas RB Lance Dunbar to 90 yards on 21 carries Saturday night. Better than that, most of Dunbar's yardage came on a 43-yard run late in the first quarter that helped him get to 69 yards before the half, leaving only room for 31 over the last two quarters.
Keep An Eye On: LB Demario Davis recorded a season-high 12 tackles against North Texas including one sack and two tackles for loss giving the redshirt senior and preseason All-Sun Belt selection one of his better games of the year.
Looking Good: After beginning the season with only one returning starter in senior center Tom Castilaw, the Arkansas State offensive line continues to improve this week, starting to look like one of the teams stronger units after helping Arkansas State to 218 team rushing yards and only one sack allowed against North Texas. The one sack allowed was impressive because Arkansas State aired the ball out for 322 yards on 42 pass attempts.
Still Needs Work: With its strong start to the season included being undefeated in conference play it's hard to find something that can be actually pin-pointed in still needing work accept what the coaches and play would call consistency on both sides of the ball. Any area the Red Wolves may could improve in though would be the return game as Julian Jones and Rod Hall only managed 40 yards on two kickoff returns for the Red Wolves and Dwayne Frampton had only one punt return of one yard. As lethal has the ASU offense has been thus far, even better field position could lead to more points and put even more pressure on opposing defenses and coaches.
Quote To Note: "That was just another game on the road to being Sun Belt champs."-ASU junior quarterback Ryan Aplin on not celebrating the game too long because bigger goals still remain.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
QB Ryan Aplin finished with maybe his best game of the season completing 28 of 42 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns along with 69 yards rushing on eight attempts. Aplin was 18 of 23 in the first half for 222 yards and two touchdowns including a 30-yard rush.
WR Dwayne Frampton hauled in six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown to give him his ninth touchdown reception of his career at Arkansas State. Frampton needs one to tie for second all-time and six more to tie for first.
DT Dorvus Woods had a forced fumble and 1 1/2 sacks to help lead a Arkansas State defense that tortured North Texas quarterbacks with four sacks and six total tackles for a loss.
"That's our plan every night," Woods said. "We don't want quarterbacks sitting back there in the pocket.'
Frankie Jackson left the game early in the second quarter with a high ankle sprain. The freshman from Louisiana had nine rushes for 44 yards and two receptions for 10 yards before leaving the game.