Arkansas State and UAPB locked horns Saturday night at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro in a rare Division 1 in-state match up. Arkansas State entered the game after an unexpected off week due to Hurricane Irma, and the Miami Hurricanes not being able to make the trip to Jonesboro.
Arkansas State put up 493 yards of offense on their way to a 48-3 victory.
The Golden Lions took the opening kickoff and drove down the field before Blaise Taylor picked off Brandon Duncan on the 10-yard line with 13:19 to play in the first quarter. A-State then drove down the field with a seven play, 93-yard drive that was capped off by a 38-yard pass from Justice Hansen to Christian Booker. Sawyer Williams’ kick gave the Red Wolves the early 7-0 advantage.
The Golden Lions drove the field again late in the first quarter, but Jamie Gillan missed a 41-yard field goal with 4:24 remaining in the quarter. The Golden Lions had several opportunities to score more points, but faltered in the Red Zone.
“Anytime you’re in the red zone you want to talk away with points,” said UAPB head coach Monte Coleman. “We’ll take the field goal, but we want the touchdown. It’s very disheartening. The first drive I thought the offense moved the ball extremely well. You’ve got to capitalize in the red zone either with a field goal or a touchdown, and the last thing you can do is turn the ball over. It’s hard to beat a really good football team like the Red Wolves making the mistakes we made.”
Following the missed UAPB field goal, Arkansas State drove the length of the field, and scored on a three-yard pass from Hansen to Blake Mack with 44 seconds remaining in the quarter. Williams’ PAT hit the crossbar and fell no good, giving A-State the 13-0 advantage.
UAPB finally got on the board with 9:51 remaining in the first half on a 30-yard field goal by Gillan, but A-State answered on the next drive on a 12-yard run by Warren Wand with 7:24 left in the half.
Arkansas State had an opportunity to punch it in once again with less than 30-seconds to play in the half after Nehemiah Wagner picked off Duncan on the 15-yard line, but a fumbled snap on fourth and goal from the one negated the score.
Arkansas State ran 37 plays for 270 yards in the first half, while UAPB ran 36 plays for 154 yards.
The Red Wolves took only two plays and 37 seconds to score in the second half as Hansen connected with Justin McInnis from 73-yards out. Williams’ PAT gave A-State the 26-3 advantage with 14:18 remaining in the third quarter.
A-State head coach Blake Anderson spoke about the fast third quarter start.
“We had missed an easy opportunity to get a touchdown at one point and gotten ourselves off of the field on third down in the first half when we could have converted,” said Anderson. “Defensively we let them off of the hook when we had them behind the chains, and we let them move it.”
The Red Wolves would score twice more in the third quarter, first on a 23-yard pass from Hansen to Bayless with 12:14 to play, then with 3:12 remaining in the quarter on a 23-yard pass from Hansen to Jonathan Adams. Hansen set his career high with five touchdown passes in a single game, and tied former A-State quarterbacks Cleon Lemon and Fredi Knighten for the single game school record for touchdown passes.
Logan Bonner and Christian Booker connected on a nine-yard pass with 11:41 to play to end the scoring for the game.
KeShawn Williams led UAPB with 13 carries for 43 yards, with a long of 20, followed by Tryvarious Cole with eight carries for 20 yards. Brandon Duncan was 13-of-23 passing for 140 yards and three interceptions. Jontavis Testa led the Golden Lions with 11 tackles, followed by Je’Kevin Carter with 10.
Warren Wand led Arkansas State with nine carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, followed by Johnston White with 10 carries for 37 yards. Justice Hansen went 24-of-31 passing for 336 yards and five touchdowns. Christian Booker led all receivers with four receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns, while Hunter Moreton led the defense with six tackles, followed by Darreon Jackson, Jarrod Chandler, and Trent Ellis-Brewer with five tackles each.