Preview: South Alabama vs Arkansas State

October 11, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Jags_vs_ASUSouth Alabama started their conference schedule with a win over Troy last weekend and brought home the championship belt in its debut between the two schools. Jaguar fans traveled well and made their voices hear in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The Jaguars will host Arkansas State on Tuesday evening for a nationally televised game with big implications for the conference.

The Red Wolves are perineally in the mix for the conference championship and have represented the Sun Belt Conference in the GoDaddy Bowl in each of the last four seasons.

One of these two teams will suffer their first conference loss of season.

The Jaguars fell behind early and the Red Wolves capitalized on three interceptions and a fumble recovery to defeat the Jaguars 45-10 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. ASU rushed for 227 yards and threw for 186 more while the Jaguars only managed 90 yards passing and 111 on the ground. It was the second loss in a row as they were trying to get bowl eligible. The team regrouped and won a hard fought game against Texas State the next week to get bowl eligible and eventually earn their first-ever bowl invitation.

After replacing 17 starters, the Jaguars seem to be meshing well and getting ready for the remainder of their conference schedule. They had painful setbacks against Nebraska and NC State, but showed guts and determination in both games despite the score. That work could pay dividends throughout the rest of the season.

On the other hand, Arkansas State has florished through uncertainty. This is the first season the Red Wolves has had the same head coach since 2010. Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin all spent just one season in Jonesboro before moving on to bigger programs.

The Red Wolves enter the game coming off of a 49-35 win over Idaho in their conference opener. They have won 12 of their last 15 conference road games.

The Jaguar defense will have their work cut out for them. J.D. McKissic has taken over the Arkansas State record books in almost every major receiving statistical category and broke the conference record for career receptions last week against Idaho. Quarterback Fredi Knighten has recorded at least 300 yards of total offense in seven of the last 11 games going back to last season. Running back Michael Gordon has a career average of 6.8 yards per rush.

It’s still early in the season and the stats are still widely skewed by playing Power-5 teams, but here are some numbers about the two teams.

Scoring Offense:
5. Arkansas State 30.4 ppg
10. South Alabama 22.6 ppg

Scoring Defense:
3. Arkansas State 32.2 ppg
7. South Alabama 35.8 ppg

Total Offense:
7. Arkansas State 394.4 ypg
9. South Alabama 374.8 ypg

Total Defense:
4. Arkansas State 390.6 ypg
5. South Alabama 405.2 ypg

Rushing Offense:
5. Arkansas State 192.8 ypg
7. South Alabama 137.8 ypg

Rushing Defense:
3. Arkansas State 169.8 ypg
6. South Alabama 204.8 ypg

Passing Offense:
4. South Alabama 237.0 ypg
8. Arkansas State 201.6 ypg

Passing Defense:
4. South Alabama 200.4 ypg
6. Arkansas State 220.8 ypg

Punt Returns:
5. Arkansas State 8.9 yards per return
10. South Alabama 2.0 yards per return

Interceptions:
T1. Arkansas State 10
4. South Alabama 6

Sacks By:
5. Arkansas State 8
10. South Alabama 3

Sacks Against:
4. South Alabama 10
T7. Arkansas State 12

3rd Down Conversions:
3. Arkansas State 38.9%
9. South Alabama 34.7%

Opponents 3rd Down Conversions:
5. Arkansas State 37.0%
7. South Alabama 42.4%

Penalties:
1. South Alabama 25 44.8 yards per game average
11. Arkansas State 45 95.2 yards per game average

Turnover Margin:
T4. South Alabama -3
T8. Arkansas State -5

Red Zone Defense:
8. Arkansas State 88.2%
11. South Alabama 100%

Red Zone Offense:
10. Arkansas State 77.8%
11. South Alabama 71.4%
South Alabama and Arkansas State kick off Tuesday night at 7pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. In addition to the normal LiteMix 99.9FM radio coverage, the game will be broadcast on ESPN2 Nationally.

GO Jags!

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