LAFAYETTE, La. (Ark. St. Univ.) - Arkansas State University'sBrian Davis kicked a season-high five field goals and the Red Wolvesamassed 526 yards in total offense to post an impressive 50-27 Sun BeltConference triumph over the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns Tuesday(Oct. 23) night in an ESPN2 televised contest at ULL's Cajun Field inLafayette, La.
Arkansas State extends its current winning streak to three as the RedWolves improve to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. TheRed Wolves also stretched their conference road winning string to sevengames and have prevailed in 11 of their last 12 SBC encounters to date.The A-State victory also snapped Louisiana-Lafayette's eight-game homewinning streak and was the Red Wolves' first at Cajun Field since 1992(20-7). The Ragin' Cajuns are now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in conferenceaction with the setback.
"I'm very proud of our team," said ASU head coach Gus Malzahn. "Cominghere we hadn't had much success in quite a few years. I'm very proud ofour team defensively, offensively, and the special teams in it all cametogether tonight.
"It was a very important game. It was a big night with ESPN and cominginto an outstanding team (Louisiana-Lafayette) at their home. For us toplay well, it's very encouraging for me and my staff," added Malzahn.
Arkansas State set the tone early in the game, registering the initial20 points of the contest all within the first 16 minutes of play. TheRed Wolves struck paydirt after taking the opening kickoff and marching45 yards on 11 plays before going up 3-0 on junior kicker Brian Davis'career-tying and season-best 47-yard field goal at the 10:29 mark. Onits next possession, A-State would claim a 6-0 lead as Brian Davisconnected on a 22-yarder with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
ASU's advantage increased tp 13 points (13-0) on the first play fromscrimmage in the second quarter when sophomore running back FrankieJackson scored on an 11-yard sweep around the right end, completing a42-yard, five-play drive. A-State started the drive in Cajun territoryat the 43-yard line as a penalty was declined by the Red Wolves on ULLpunter Brett Baer's fake punt attempt pass fell incomplete. Threeconsecutive Ryan Aplin pass completions during A-State ensuingpossession, including a 20-yard toss to senior wide receiver TaylorStockemer helped set up the score. The Red Wolves continued to makeplays as senior free safety Tausean Holmes intercepted ULL quarterbackTerrance Broadway's pass over the middle at the ASU 47-yard line andreturned the ball 18 yards to the 35-yard line. Two plays later, RyanAplin hit junior wideout Julian Jones in the end zone from the 35-yardmarker at 14:09 to cap a 12-second elapsed drive and give the visitors a20-point cushion.
Louisiana-Lafayette would trim A-State's lead to 20-7 with 7:01remaining in the first half as Terrance Broadway threw a 38-yard scoringstrike to wide receiver Darryl Surgent. The Red Wolves would get sixof those points back from the Ragin' Cajuns before the end of the firsthalf on a pair of BrianDavis field goals. The ASU kicker booted a45-yard field goal at 4:18 to end an eight-play, 45-yard drive and thendrilled another from 21 yards away with 21.7 seconds left in concluding asix-play, 51-yard march en route to giving the Red Wolves a 26-7halftime lead. ASU held a 327-179 advantage in total offense throughthe opening two quarters, which included a 244-145 passing yard margin.
The Ragin' Cajuns cut into ASU's 18-point lead in the third quarterwith their second TD of the night as the combination of Broadway andSurgent delivered again, this time on a 25-yard pass play to draw within26-14 at the 12:16 mark. The score remained intact for the next sevenminutes before Arkansas State found the end zone for the third time asjunior running back David Oku tallied on a five-yard sweep untouched tomake it 33-14 at 5:23 in the third. ASU wasn't done putting points onthe board in the quarter however as freshman Rocky Hayes broke loose on a57-yard "highlight reel" scoring run just under the two-minute mark togive ASU a commanding 40-14 lead.
The fourth quarter, which featured a combined 23 points, saw A-State goup 43-14 on Brian Davis' 29-yard field goal with 8:58 left in thegame. The Cajuns countered on Torrey Pierce's five-yard TD rush at6:58 before Frankie Johnson posted his second TD run on a two-yard dashwith about a minute left to give A-State a 50-21 lead. ULL scored onthe game's final play as Terrance Broadway tossed a four-yard aerial toJames Butler.
One of the many ASU highlights on the night was the performance by BrianDavis, who recorded 20 points alone on his five field goals and fiveextra-point kicks. His five field goals were one shy of equaling hisschool-record of six set against Central Arkansas last season (9/24).
A-State's 526 total offensive yards, included 269 in the air from RyanAplin, who completed 21-of-31 throws. Rocky Hayes paced the Red Wolves'ground game with a game-high 86 yards on just three carries and DavidOku added 83 on 22 attempts. Josh Jarboe was among three ASU receiverswith four receptions and compiled a team-best 67 yards.
Senior linebackers Don Jones and Nathan Herrold led the way defensivelyfor ASU with seven tackles apiece. Tausean Holmes, freshman defensiveend Chris Stone, and senior cornerback Chaz Scales notched aninterception apiece.
For ULL, Terrance Broadway threw for a game-leading 374 yards ona28-of-39 passing performance as the Cajuns netted 450 yards of totaloffense but were victimized by five turnovers. Two Cajun receivers,Darryl Surgent and Jamal Robinson totaled 107 and 106 receiving yards,respectively.
The Red Wolves will seek to continue their Sun Belt road success onSaturday, Nov. 3, versus the North Texas Mean Green in Denton, Texas.Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. (CT) at UNT's Apogee Stadium and will airedon flagship station 107.9 KIFN via the EAB Sports Radio Network.