The Arkansas State football team held its annual Spring Game Saturday afternoon at Centennial Bank Stadium, and the offense claimed a 45-32 win over the defense using a modified scoring system put in place by the Red Wolves’ coaching staff.
Although the offense outscored the defense, the Red Wolves shined on both sides of the ball at times. The defense actually took a 13-2 lead early and didn’t trail until the latter part of the outing when the offense took a 31-30 lead after junior quarterback Logan Bonner found senior receiver Dahu Green on a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Putting together a stop on the next drive, the defense went back on top 32-31, but the offense set the final score with a 39-yard field goal by sophomore Blake Grupe that was followed by a nine-yard touchdown rush by sophomore running back Alex Roberts.
“All-in-all it was good day,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “We got the right amount of plays on a beautiful day with a good crowd, and we got some work done. I thought the defense responded from (our last scrimmage) when they didn’t have a great day by coming out and setting the tempo, especially early. They played really well and made it tough for the offense to move the ball.
“At the same time, it was good to see the offense respond later as the scrimmage went on and make some positive plays. It will be something to build on, and I feel like we had a good, solid spring – it was good way to cap it off.”
Unofficially, the offense produced 307 yards through the air and 46 via the ground game, although its rushing total was hampered by nine sacks shared between seven different defenders.
Bonner finished with 12 completions for 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 14-yard pass to sophomore running back Marcel Murray that found the end zone. Senior Carson Coats added 104 yards on 16 completions, while freshmen quarterbacks Coltin Clack and KaRon Coleman also saw action.
Twelve different A-State players caught at least one pass, led by senior wideout Omar Bayless with six receptions for 58 yards. Junior receiver Eugene Minter tallied a game-high 64 receiving yards, while junior Brandon Bowling added 53.
A-State’s running game was led by six different running backs who posted at least one carry, including senior Jamal Jones with nine attempts for a team-high 32 yards. Redshirt freshman Donovan Marshall also had a touchdown, which covered two yards.
In addition to its nine sacks, the Red Wolves’ defense collected 13 tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and a fumble recovery. Freshman defensive back Triston Anderson made a team-high eight tackles, followed senior defensive lineman Javier Carbonell with seven.
Junior defensive ends Aaron Donkor and William Bradley-King each recorded a pair of sacks, while defensive backs Jeremy Smith and Nathan Page came up with two pass break-ups each. Carbonell was responsible for the defense’s only turnover gained.
The action on the field was surrounded by several fan activities before and after the game. The day’s events started this morning with an egg hunt, which was followed by a kids’ pass, punt and kick competition. Those in attendance had the opportunity to visit with the football team on the field after the game while collecting autographs and taking photos.
The first ever Larry Lacewell MVP Award was also presented to former A-State running back Warren Wand just prior to the start of the game, honoring his success on and off the field in 2018. Issued to the team’s MVP, the award recognizes excellence on the field and in the classroom, leadership, integrity and commitment to teammates.