Red Wolves football team looks to put away Jaguars
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 15:11
The Arkansas State Red Wolves will seek to overcome last week’s loss at home to Louisiana-Lafayette as they head south to take on the South Alabama Jaguars in Mobile, Ala.
The Red Wolves (3-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) seek to turn the season around against the Jaguars (3-4, 1-2 Sun Belt) who suffered a 33-31 loss to the Texas State Bobcats last Saturday in San Marcos.
Though last week’s 23-7 defeat may feel like a blowout, South Alabama’s head coach Joey Jones knows that this Red Wolves team is far from an easy team to beat.
“We’ve got to keep them from hitting the big play, because the certainly do that and score quick,” Jones said.
“We’ve gotta’ make them earn their points.”
When asked if he believed if this game would be another close one for the Jaguars, Jones replied, “Probably so. They’re very talented and we’re pretty decent, so I think it’s gonna’ be a good ballgame.”
The Jaguars certainly know a thing or two about close games, as six of their seven games were decided by seven points or less and four of those six were decided by a field goal or less. This Jaguars team is led by University of Virginia transfer Ross Metheny, who has led a passing attack that ranks 27th in the NCAA.
Among its other stats, the Jaguars ranked 64th in rushing, 73rd in rush defense, and 84th in pass defense.
Their struggle all year has been giving the opposition the lead too early and having to battle back, which is what the Red Wolves will hope to accomplish this Saturday.
Senior receiver Julian Jones expressed that though South Alabama season shows mediocrity, any team can be fierce competition.
“Personally, I feel like you can’t overlook any team,” Jones said.
“South Alabama is a tough team. If three or four plays had gone differently for them, they could easily be 7-1 right now. We need to focus on us and do what we can to push their defense.”
For the Red Wolves, last Tuesday echoed of the Memphis game, as they seemed simply dominated in every aspect of the game, but hope this week will bring a new start.
Senior Adam Kennedy has led the team well this season, amassing over 1,600 yards for seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
The frustration for the Red Wolves this year has simply been an inability to sustain drives.
Last week, A-State managed 10 first downs to Lafayette’s 26 and only possessed the ball for 17:42 as opposed to the oppositions 42:18.
Though it stepped up last week in the second half, the defense has been a big problem for the Red Wolves as well.
Last week was the first time since playing UAPB that the Red Wolves had held an opponent to under 500 yards of offense, and they managed to hold the Ragin Cajuns to a measly 470 yards.
The Red Wolves rank 100th in rush defense and 82nd in pass defense, its lowest rankings since the Steve Roberts era.
Defensive coordinator John Thompson expressed that though this seems horrible, it can actually be simple to fix.
“We just need to get to the point of attack faster. A lot of what defending the run is a mental battle. We just need to plant our flag down on Saturday and say enough is enough.”
Although they are three point underdogs, the Red Wolves have the potential to take this game, but something must obviously change for the team to keep any hopes of a post season alive.
A-State is ranked number five in the Sun Belt Conference standings.
If they can take the victory against South Alabama, they will be looking at their ninth straight road win.
Kickoff for this weekend’s game is at 6:30 p.m. and the game can be watched on ESPN3.com.