2-4, 29 unanswered points, 3-3, 31-20, A-State, Arkansas State University, ASU, ASU defense, bowl games, Centennial Stadium, Chris Stone, Cody Brown, defensive touchdown, fans, field goals, fourth quarter, Fredi Knighten, fumble, history, J.D. Houston, J.D. McKissic, Jaguars, Javon Rolland-Jones, Johnston White, Jonesboro AR, Justin Clifton, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Louisiana-Lafayette, Michael Gordon, Mobile AL, Phenix City AL, quarterback, Ragin' Cajuns, Red Wolves, sacks, South Alabama, Texas State, touchdown drive, Tres Houston, turnovers, two-point conversion, victory, World Wars, Xavier Woodson-Luster
But thanks largely to a strong defense, the Red Wolves scored 29 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to give them a 49-31 victory. Watching them in blankets to fight the cold were fans watching a gigantic big screen at Centennial Stadium in Jonesboro.
ASU defense forced five turnovers and registered six sacks in the course of the game. Junior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster led the defense with 9.5 tackles.
Quarterback Knighten was 10-17 with 119 passing yards and no interceptions. He also gained 40 rushing yards.
In the first quarter, after the Jaguars scored the first touchdown, Knighten passed to senior running back Michael Gordon with 2:42 left in the quarter, to make the scored 7-7. Soon after that Knighten passed to sophomore running back Johnston White to make the score 14-7.
Midway through the second quarter the Jaguars scored again. Then, a 76-yard touchdown pass gave the Jaguars 21-14 lead at halftime.
Field goals dominated the third quarter, with two by Red Wolves junior J.D. Houston and one by South Alabama.
The fourth quarter started with a 75-yard Jaguars touchdown drive two minutes into the quarter to make the score 31-20.
Then it came.
Less than a minute later Knighten connected with senior wide receiver Tres Houston on a 38-yard touchdown strike. The Red Wolves added the two-point conversion on a pass to senior wide receiver J.D. McKissic to make the score 31-28, still favoring the Jaguars; McKissic is from Phenix City, Ala., some 250 miles from Mobile.
Junior Red Wolves defensive back Cody Brown picked off a pass on the next Jaguars’ drive to set up a six-play, 43-yard drive, capped by a Johnston White one-yard touchdown run, which gave A-State a 35-31 advantage with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the game
Then Chris Stone recovered a fumble in the end zone after a sack by sophomore defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones to make the score 42-31 with 8:44 left in the game. South Alabama’s next drive also resulted in an A-State defensive touchdown as freshman defensive back Justin Clifton intercepted his first career pass and took it 37 yards to the end zone to put the score at 49-31.
ASU now stands at 2-4. The Red Wolves next host the Ragin’ Cajuns from Louisiana-Lafayette Tuesday, Oct. 20, at ASU’s Centennial Stadium. The Cajuns are 2-3 after defeating Texas State 49-27 Oct. 10 and defeating Northwestern State 44-17 Sept. 12, both on their home turf in Lafayette.
South Alabama is now 3-3 and next faces the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos, Tex. Texas State is now 1-4, having defeated only Prairie View A&M 63-24 Sept. 12 in San Marcos.
The South Alabama Jaguars have been playing football only since 2009. The school itself was founded in 1963. Arkansas State has had a football team since 1911, two years after the school was founded, except for breaks for World War I and World War II.
The results of upcoming games will determine what, if any, bowl games each team will be invited to.