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         ***** NCAA Football Preview - Arkansas State Red Wolves *****
 
 By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor
 
 Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
 
 2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: After winning the Sun Belt Conference championship in
 2011, Arkansas State defended its crown in 2012 by finishing 10-3, including
 7-1 in league play. It was the first time in program history the team has won
 10 games in back-to-back seasons.
 
 The Red Wolves' season did not start off on the right foot however, as they
 went 2-2 in non-conference action, which included loss to nationally-ranked
 opponents Oregon (57-34) and Nebraska (42-13), and in their first Sun Belt
 contest they fell at home to Western Kentucky, 26-13. They caught fire down
 the stretch though, winning seven straight to close out the regular season,
 clinching the conference title with a 45-0 triumph over Middle Tennessee on
 Dec. 1.
 
 For the second consecutive year, Arkansas State accepted a bid to the
 GoDaddy.com Bowl, but after losing to Northern Illinois in 2011 (38-20), it
 took down No. 25 Kent State, 17-13, for its first bowl win since 1970, and its
 first win over a ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 1992.
 
 At season's end, Gus Malzahn accepted the head coaching job at Auburn. Bryan
 Harsin, former offensive coordinator at Texas, was named Malzahn's successor.
 
 2013 ANALYSIS:
 
 OFFENSE: The Red Wolves featured one of the Sun Belt's most potent offenses a
 year ago, ranking second in the league in both scoring (34.9 ppg) and yardage
 (466.7 ypg), although a repeat performance may be difficult considering the
 loss of Ryan Aplin, the most decorated quarterback in school history, who
 completed 68 percent of his passes in 2012 for 3,342 yards, tossing 24
 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
 
 There's been an open quarterback competition to see who gets to replace Aplin
 between Phillip Butterfield, Stephen Hogan, Fredi Knighten and Chandler
 Rogers. Although none of the candidates have much experience thanks to Aplin's
 three-year reign as the starter, each has the ability to take the job
 according to Harsin.
 
 "All our quarterbacks are doing some things really well, but we still have a
 long way to go and that's just the high-standard demands that we're trying to
 get from that position," Harsin said.
 
 There are much fewer questions elsewhere on offense. David Oku returns after
 piling up 1,061 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago and is one of 63
 candidate on the Doak Walker Award Watch List for the nation's top running
 back.
 
 Wide receiver J.D. McKissic was outstanding as a freshman last season, ranking
 second in the conference in receptions (103) and third in yards (1,022) while
 hauling in five touchdowns. Rocky Hayes (551 rushing yards on just 58 carries)
 also returns as a change-of-pace back, as do four starters along the offensive
 line.
 
 DEFENSE: One of the biggest reasons for Arkansas State's run to the Sun Belt
 title a year ago was its stout defense, which led the league in allowing just
 24.5 ppg. Things are less certain on that side of the ball this year, however,
 as only four starters return.
 
 Qushaun Lee was a mainstay in the middle of the defense, racking up 100
 tackles and two forced fumbles despite missing a game due to injury, and with
 Nathan Herrold (114 tackles in 2012) graduated, Lee should take over as the
 leader of the ASU defense.
 
 Ryan Carrethers is the lone returning starter on the defensive line, and he
 will attempt to improve upon a 68-tackle season.
 
 Sterling Young (71 tackles, two picks, six pass breakups) is one of the
 conference's top safeties, and Andrew Tryon (38 tackles) is also back in the
 fold as a starting corner.
 
 SPECIAL TEAMS: Brian Davis was rock-solid as the team's kicker last season,
 connecting on 17-of-21 field goal attempts, with a long of 47 yards. Max
 Coffin, a redshirt freshman, will take over as the Red Wolves' punter.
 
 Hayes will most likely be the primary kick and punt returner once again,
 although he averaged less than 20 yards per kick return and just 3.7 yards per
 punt return a season ago.
 
 OUTLOOK: Arkansas State's recent success has been a catch-22. Past coaches
 have jumped ship for greener pastures, making Harsin the Red Wolves' fourth
 head coach over the past two calendar years. Still, even with the high player
 and coaching turnover, Harsin still expects his squad to be ready to win right
 away.
 
 "The understanding of how to win is important and we've got players that know
 how to do that," Harsin said. "We have to replace some very good players but
 we don't have to build a foundation of winning, they've already done that. We
 have to build a foundation of sustaining success."
 
 The loss of Aplin might be too much for Arkansas State to overcome, especially
 considering the huge question marks that are competing for the starting QB
 job, but there's still plenty of talent in place for the club to make a
 legitimate run at the Sun Belt title, and if one of the signal-callers can
 step up and put together a surprisingly strong season, that goal will be even
 more obtainable.
 
 
 
 08/23 14:13:02 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
Final
PIT 2
CIN 5
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
Final
WAS 5
ANA 4
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
Final
TAM 4
MIN 6
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
Final
MIL 5
SDP 2
Final
LOS 5
PHI 2
12:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
12:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
1:10pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
SAN 92
DAL 113
Final
HOU 105
POR 112
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
Final
DAL 4
ANA 2
Final
CHI 4
STL 3
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR