After starting the season off with back to back losses, the Arkansas State Red Wolves earned their first win against the University of Louisiana Monroe War Hawks by the score of 34-20. The win gives the Red Wolves their sixth straight victory in home openers.
The Red Wolves exploded to a 21-0 lead by using an improved running game, led by quarterback Ryan Aplin and running back Derek Lawson. Aplin was responsible for 318 total yards of offense, carrying the ball 16 times for 75 yards and a touchdown, and completing 20 of 32 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown.
ASU would strike first at the 7:04 mark in the first quarter on a 4 yard run by Aplin. Lawson would strike from 12 yards out with 1:08 remaining in the quarter, and then with 7:59 left in the half Aplin would connect with Dwayne Frampton for a 34 yard touchdown pass. Bobby Zalud's kicks were perfect on all three attempts.
ULM would pull within seven points before the Red Wolves would once again pull away.
ULM quarterback Kolton Browning would connect with Brent Leonard from 33 yards out for the War Hawks first score of the night with 4:59 remaining in the second quarter, then would score with 10:49 remaining in the third quarter on a 4 yard run by Zach Rhodes. Browning would connect with Anthony McCall for a two-point-conversion, after Radi Jabour's PAT was blocked in the second quarter.
The Red Wolves would finish the night with 474 yards of total offense, a feat Coach Steve Roberts was proud of.
"Offensively I thought we played outstanding." said Roberts. "We had 87 plays with no turnovers, and only punted the ball once. I was disappointed with a couple of drives when we had the ball in the red zone and ended up costing ourselves with mental errors. These kids really stepped up playing without [Taylor Stockemer and Allen Muse]. I was really proud of a lot of people who stepped up."
The Red Wolves also used quarterback Phillip Butterfield effectively in the running game. He finished the night with 8 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown.
"Phillip Butterfield came in and gave us a big lift tonight." Said Roberts. "He is very athletic running the football, and does a great job of holding onto the football and making big plays. He played tremendous ball for us tonight. He just has a knack for making plays."
Butterfield did in fact make plays, to include a 23 yard scamper which set up his one yard touchdown run with 5:16 remaining in the third quarter.
The War Hawks would add one more score with 5:38 to play in the game when Browning connected with Luther Ambrose from 10 yards out. ASU would again block Jabour's PAT. Bobby Zalud would add two field goals, the first from 37 yards out, and the second from 24 yards out, to give the final score of 34-20.
Defensively for the Red Wolves, M.D. Jennings posted his first two interceptions of the season, giving him seven for his career, and his first multiple-interception game. The interception was also the first this season by any ASU player. Brandon Joiner recorded his first sack of the season, and Tausean Holmes recorded a career-high 8 tackles.
"Defensively, I'm pleased with the turnovers we created." Said Roberts. "We created some turnovers, got some key stops. M.D. Jennings really had a good game with two picks. We did have a chance to get a few more turnovers we did not get, but we are really proud to get this victory tonight."
07:04ASU Ryan Aplin 4 yard run, Bobby Zalud kick-ASU 7 ULM 0