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** 2017 Opponent Previews: Arkansas State (Game 1) **

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Saunders    5,843

SBNation: Arkansas State football has mastered the art of peaking when it matters most

 

When you write lengthy previews about each team each year, you’re going to repeat yourself quite a bit. And each year, in talking about Arkansas State, I am pretty much guaranteed to reference a years-old remark from ASU’s athletic director about wanting to become the “Boise State of the South.”

 

2017 projected record & S&P+ Ranking: 7-5 (83rd)

Biggest strength: A defensive line that features Ja’Von Rolland-James and Dee Liner might be the Sun Belt’s best despite potential depth issues.

Biggest question mark: A defensive line that features Ja’Von Rolland-James and Dee Liner might be the Sun Belt’s best despite potential depth issues.

Biggest 2017 game: Troy at home. ASU’s 35-3 road win was the ultimate “defending champ strikes down rising contender” message last year. Can the Trojans get revenge?

Summary: ASU is the Sun Belt’s steadiest winner. And the Red Wolves have the star power again in 2017.

 

Read the awesome in depth preview here: http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2017/2/17/14581728/arkansas-state-football-2017-preview-schedule-roster

 

 

HuskerOnline: Spring Opponent Preview - Arkansas State

 

To get a feel for where the Red Wolves stand heading into their fourth season under head coach Blake Anderson, we spoke with RedWolfReport.com's Luke Matheson to get his thoughts and perspective on the team and what to expect once the season gets underway in a few months.

 

Overall 2017 win-loss expectation

“I definitely think eight wins, possibly 10 with a really good year. But I think the bar is set at eight wins, and that’s because they’ve shown a history of being able to win eight regularly in conference.

 

"They’ve got a couple of non-conference games that I think are definitely going to be winnable, so you factor those in, 10 wins is definitely foreseeable."

 

"The thing about how the Sun Belt Conference sets up, if they beat Lafayette, Troy and Appalachian State, that’s really their three toughest tests. You win those three games, you’re pretty much going to go undefeated (in conference).”

 

https://nebraska.rivals.com/news/spring-opponent-review-arkansas-state

 

 

CollegeFootballNews: Arkansas State Reloaded For Another Title?

It’s one thing for Alabama or Ohio State to reload and keep on winning, but Arkansas State?

The model of consistency, even after a slew of stepping-stone coaching changes – with Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin each moving on after one year – Arkansas State has managed to go to six straight bowl games with Blake Anderson leading the way to the last three. It hasn’t always been easy under Anderson, but he’s pulled off at least a share of the last two Sun Belt titles.

And now the real work begins.

Can the program be so good that it can simply develop talent to step in for the departed stars and keep it all rolling? Did Anderson come up with the right recruiting classes and transfers to prepare for what was coming this year?

http://collegefootballnews.com/2017/preview-2017-arkansas-state-reloaded-for-another-title

2017 Arkansas State Preview: What You Need To Know

2017 Arkansas State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

 

CornNation: Arkansas State 2017 Preview

Arkansas State seeks a signature victory against the Huskers, but didn’t have all the pieces in spring.

 

Arkansas State ended last season on an impressive note by defeating Scott Frost’s Central Florida squad 31-13 in the Cure Bowl. Despite the game being essentially a home game for UCF (being played just 16 miles from campus), the Red Wolves dominated the Knights all game long. The bowl victory capped off an 8-1 conclusion to A-State’s 2016 season, matching the last parts of their 2015 season.

 

While Arkansas State has done very well in October and November the last two seasons, September has been another matter entirely, going 1-7 the last two season. Granted, some of those losses have been payday games on the road against Power Five competition (a 51-14 loss to Auburn last season), but others were just plain bad. Last season, A-State lost 31-10 at home to Toledo and 28-23 to 1-AA Central Arkansas.

 

(Good thing, the Huskers are playing the Red Wolves to open the season, right?)

 

http://www.cornnation.com/2017/6/8/15728010/arkansas-state-2017-football-preview

 

 

More to come!

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Mavric    9,128

Long-planning reminder: Nebraska's first football game of the 2017 season is against an Arkansas State team that has won its conference championship five of the last six years and knocked around Scott Frost's Central Florida team in a bowl game.

 

Arkansas State also lost 51-14 to Auburn last year too. But the point is, it's a program you have to take seriously, especially on an opening day when you unveil a new quarterback and new defensive coordinator.

 

I brought them up because they just began spring practices on Tuesday.

 

LJS

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Redux    5,053

Either he is dedicated to the illusion or he is seriously delusional.

 

Nebraska 63

Arky-St. 17

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Football Guy Bob    4,427

What do you expect him to say? That they suck and don't stand a chance? Reasonable response from him considering how we finished last season.

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jsneb83    1,279

What do you expect him to say? That they suck and don't stand a chance? Reasonable response from him considering how we finished last season.

But we're Nebraska! Teams are supposed to roll over and accept defeat against us!

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asuato    13

AstateNation.com would have been a much better resource than Rivals. There are several professional beat writers on staff there who follow the team closely. First to correct a statement by Luke Ferguson; he stated the QB spot was still undecided when in fact Coach Anderson said after the spring the job solidly belonged to Justice Hansen, the transfer from OU who led the team last year and solidly improved during spring practices.

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Saunders    5,843

AstateNation.com would have been a much better resource than Rivals. There are several professional beat writers on staff there who follow the team closely. First to correct a statement by Luke Ferguson; he stated the QB spot was still undecided when in fact Coach Anderson said after the spring the job solidly belonged to Justice Hansen, the transfer from OU who led the team last year and solidly improved during spring practices.

The reason those guys went to rivals, is because they're another rivals affiliate. If you're curious about reading about the huskers, we have a pinned thread that will have all the previews/predictions that we find during the offseason. Thanks for coming over, and welcome to the board!

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asuato    13

Thanks for the welcome. As a die-hard ASU fan and alum, I look forward to see how we will match up. I will be around asking questions and reading through posts to learn about the Huskers.

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Saunders    5,843

Thanks for the welcome. As a die-hard ASU fan and alum, I look forward to see how we will match up. I will be around asking questions and reading through posts to learn about the Huskers.

Its going to be an interesting matchup, because NU is a bit of a mystery this yeah. Brand new defensive system, and an offense that won't look like anything we've seen around here since at least 2009, with (likely) better QB play. On a side note, because I live in FL, the ASU game in 2012 was my first Husker game in over a decade, and my wife's first game ever.

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Bojowolf    44

Hello Huskers.

 

With 25 days left before my Red Wolves once again make the trip to Lincoln, I was wondering how the Big Red faithful see their team going into the season.

 

I am not coming here with any delusions of grandeur or predictions of a close game, just interested in the take that Nebraska has in their team as well as your thoughts of the Arkansas State squad.

 

If you have any questions (I can answer without giving away state secrets) I'll do my best.

 

Sincerely,

Bojo

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suh_fan93    1,068

Hello Huskers.

 

With 25 days left before my Red Wolves once again make the trip to Lincoln, I was wondering how the Big Red faithful see their team going into the season.

 

I am not coming here with any delusions of grandeur or predictions of a close game, just interested in the take that Nebraska has in their team as well as your thoughts of the Arkansas State squad.

 

If you have any questions (I can answer without giving away state secrets) I'll do my best.

 

Sincerely,

Bojo

 

 

Who's your best player?

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Bojowolf    44

By reputation, absolutely would be Ja'Von Rolland-Jones. The RS Sr DE was the Sun Belt Player of the Year after starting the season as a rotational player at DE. He improved his run defense and finished the season with 57 tackles, 20.5 TFL and 13.5 sacks. He has an outside shot at eclipsing Terrell Suggs' NCAA record for sacks this season. If not him on defense, then a toss up between Kyle Wilson and Dee Liner.

 

Wilson, a JUCO transfer from Wichita, KS by way of Hutch, moved into the starting line up at the Mike LB position early in last season and ended up with 79 tackles, 15.5 TFL. Liner, the Alabama transfer, was a monster in the bowl game vs UCF, and has seemingly turned a corner for the Red Wolves. He finished with 8.5 TFL, with at least one in the last four games of the year.

 

Offensively, hard to tell you. Justice Hansen was an Oklahoma signee out of HS, where the former 4* recruit redshirted before transferring to Butler CC. Last season he threw for 2700 yards, 19 TD against 8 INT. He also ran for 131 yards, but was slowed by a knee injury last season.

 

Warren Wand is the top returning rusher, the 5'5 running back, ran for 879 yards last year, and 7 TD. He also 279 yards receiving and 3 TDs.

 

Blake Mack might be the best offensive player, the 6'4/245 TE is the leading returning receiver with 34 catches for 600+ yards and 3 TD. Arkansas transfer Kendrick Edwards, at 6'6/215, gives the outside pass catchers a new dimension in length.

 

I know that wasn't a direct answer, but best I could come up with.

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Decked    658

5'5? Jesus that dude is gonna get smoked. Big Mick could eat that little fella!

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jsneb83    1,279

5'5? Jesus that dude is gonna get smoked. Big Mick could eat that little fella!

If he can find him

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Bojowolf    44

 

5'5? Jesus that dude is gonna get smoked. Big Mick could eat that little fella!

If he can find him

 

That's the idea. Won't find many "big" RBs on our roster. The biggest, Armond Weh Weh, 6'0/225, is coming off ACL surgery so not sure how ready he'll be by the 2nd. Otherwise:

Wand: 5'5/179

Johnston White: 5'11/190

Jamal Jones: 5'9/185

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Bojowolf    44

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad your best players are a DE and TE. Those are good tests for us week 1.

As long as we can show well (competitively) and come out healthy from the first two games (Huskers and the Hurricanes...because we decided to schedule the best teams of the 80s/90s on the same season) I think we'll end up okay.

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suh_fan93    1,068

By reputation, absolutely would be Ja'Von Rolland-Jones. The RS Sr DE was the Sun Belt Player of the Year after starting the season as a rotational player at DE. He improved his run defense and finished the season with 57 tackles, 20.5 TFL and 13.5 sacks. He has an outside shot at eclipsing Terrell Suggs' NCAA record for sacks this season. If not him on defense, then a toss up between Kyle Wilson and Dee Liner.

 

Wilson, a JUCO transfer from Wichita, KS by way of Hutch, moved into the starting line up at the Mike LB position early in last season and ended up with 79 tackles, 15.5 TFL. Liner, the Alabama transfer, was a monster in the bowl game vs UCF, and has seemingly turned a corner for the Red Wolves. He finished with 8.5 TFL, with at least one in the last four games of the year.

 

Offensively, hard to tell you. Justice Hansen was an Oklahoma signee out of HS, where the former 4* recruit redshirted before transferring to Butler CC. Last season he threw for 2700 yards, 19 TD against 8 INT. He also ran for 131 yards, but was slowed by a knee injury last season.

 

Warren Wand is the top returning rusher, the 5'5 running back, ran for 879 yards last year, and 7 TD. He also 279 yards receiving and 3 TDs.

 

Blake Mack might be the best offensive player, the 6'4/245 TE is the leading returning receiver with 34 catches for 600+ yards and 3 TD. Arkansas transfer Kendrick Edwards, at 6'6/215, gives the outside pass catchers a new dimension in length.

 

I know that wasn't a direct answer, but best I could come up with.

 

 

Great breakdown. Thanks for sharing!

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Redux    5,053

How's the confidence level in Tanner Lee?

Is the transition to the 3-4 going to be a big help for the Blackshirts?

He is the round peg for the round hole we have been missing, that's the idea anyways.

 

Any change on defense should be an improvement. They should be faster and give up less big plays.

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RedDenver    1,386

How's the confidence level in Tanner Lee?

 

Is the transition to the 3-4 going to be a big help for the Blackshirts?

How Tanner Lee and the defense perform are the million dollar questions. Lots of positive comments about both coming out of practices. Husker fans are hopeful, but we won't know until the games.

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Bojowolf    44

If you haven't seen a preview, I will tell you, we're replacing all five main starters on the OL this fall.

 

However, it might be the biggest and most athletic bunch we've fielded. Just going to take some time to gel and not sure Lincoln will provide the most conducive environment for that to happen.

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Bojowolf    44

Bojo, what is the environment like for Ark St home games?

Early in the season, pretty good. Nothing near what I'm sure you're used to, but the average crowd is about 25K or more in the early months.

 

After hunting season or when the weather gets worse, probably closer to 20K.

 

Still working on perfecting the game management to make the atmosphere the best possible, and if you haven't seen, we're working on adding some personality to the stadium with some water features in the corners of the end zone. (People are calling them waterfalls, or tropical settings, when more likely, they'll be more like the river rapids that are actually pretty common around Arkansas.)

 

Seriously, we do have a pretty passionate fanbase, just not as big as others.

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Cdog923    758

 

Bojo, what is the environment like for Ark St home games?

Early in the season, pretty good. Nothing near what I'm sure you're used to, but the average crowd is about 25K or more in the early months.

 

After hunting season or when the weather gets worse, probably closer to 20K.

 

Still working on perfecting the game management to make the atmosphere the best possible, and if you haven't seen, we're working on adding some personality to the stadium with some water features in the corners of the end zone. (People are calling them waterfalls, or tropical settings, when more likely, they'll be more like the river rapids that are actually pretty common around Arkansas.)

 

Seriously, we do have a pretty passionate fanbase, just not as big as others.

 

Great stuff. More visiting fans should be like you.

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caveman99    199

How's the confidence level in Tanner Lee?

 

Is the transition to the 3-4 going to be a big help for the Blackshirts?

I think most fans are cautiously optimistic. Lee has gotten rave reviews from outside press as well as the local press and he showed well in the Spring Game. Problem is, every year we have a Spring Game hero and the offensive scheme will be taking the final step to the pro scheme MR likes and fans are still mixed IMO on the results so far, so there is some hesitation to fully buy in.

 

The word on the D is that the back 4 should be stout, MLB is good to go, and we have a couple of players at 1 OLB spot that look to be play makers. The question is about the weak side OLB and how will our DL hold up. There is a fair bit of talent on the DL, but some fans are cautious that maybe we don't have all of the right player types for a 3-4 DL. That being said, I think we all feel confident in the Coordinator and the scheme install has been very smooth thus far by all reports so I think many are confident the D will be better this year, it wasn't bad last year just had some fall off at the end of the year and an embarrassment at OSU.

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Bojowolf    44

 

How's the confidence level in Tanner Lee?

 

Is the transition to the 3-4 going to be a big help for the Blackshirts?

I think most fans are cautiously optimistic. Lee has gotten rave reviews from outside press as well as the local press and he showed well in the Spring Game. Problem is, every year we have a Spring Game hero and the offensive scheme will be taking the final step to the pro scheme MR likes and fans are still mixed IMO on the results so far, so there is some hesitation to fully buy in.

 

The word on the D is that the back 4 should be stout, MLB is good to go, and we have a couple of players at 1 OLB spot that look to be play makers. The question is about the weak side OLB and how will our DL hold up. There is a fair bit of talent on the DL, but some fans are cautious that maybe we don't have all of the right player types for a 3-4 DL. That being said, I think we all feel confident in the Coordinator and the scheme install has been very smooth thus far by all reports so I think many are confident the D will be better this year, it wasn't bad last year just had some fall off at the end of the year and an embarrassment at OSU.

 

Sounds like our biggest offensive question mark will go against your biggest defensive question mark.

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arkstfan    8
On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 1:39 AM, asuato said:

AstateNation.com would have been a much better resource than Rivals. There are several professional beat writers on staff there who follow the team closely. First to correct a statement by Luke Ferguson; he stated the QB spot was still undecided when in fact Coach Anderson said after the spring the job solidly belonged to Justice Hansen, the transfer from OU who led the team last year and solidly improved during spring practices.

Luke Matheson. Luke Ferguson is the long graduated kicker.

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arkstfan    8
On ‎8‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 6:40 AM, teachercd said:

Bojo, what is the environment like for Ark St home games?

 

That's actually been an evolving answer.

Used to be a small diehard faction and some looky loos who would make a game or two each year when the weather was perfect. Our previous AD wasn't great at his job but he did push tailgating when we really had nothing else to sell. Diehards complained that road games were more fun because the people willing to cheer were all in the same area.

 

2004 the NCAA mandated minimum home scheduling and mandated you actually freaking use your allowed scholarships and that set the ball rolling. I remember driving to the stadium on Johnson Ave and couldn't see far down the road because of smoke from tailgate parties. Playing reviled rival Memphis who was #25. They ended up winning on a miracle rally but most of the voters thought they had lost it was so late, so still knocked them SOBs out of the Top 25.

 

Fan base is a work in progress but getting stronger and louder all the time. Hard thing is breaking old habits. People got used to get freebie tickets and don't like the idea they actually have to pay to see a game or used to comfortably waiting until game day to see if the weather is good and buy at the window, there are going to be some flipping out because they refuse to listen to the warnings that gameday tickets now carry a premium and will cost more than advance purchase.

 

The suites, club seats, and loge boxes all having waiting lists, but we struggle to move the cheap seats.

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arkstfan    8
On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 2:00 PM, Decked said:

5'5? Jesus that dude is gonna get smoked. Big Mick could eat that little fella!

 

At a signing day reception, one fan said to Coach Anderson, "I just wish he was three inches taller". Coach said "No you don't he'd be in the Big XII".

Crazy thing is, he's the best pass blocking RB among those with experience and he trucks a couple people every year. He's just an incredible mass of muscle. Not a little breakaway guy at all.

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Bojowolf    44
4 hours ago, arkstfan said:

 

At a signing day reception, one fan said to Coach Anderson, "I just wish he was three inches taller". Coach said "No you don't he'd be in the Big XII".

Crazy thing is, he's the best pass blocking RB among those with experience and he trucks a couple people every year. He's just an incredible mass of muscle. Not a little breakaway guy at all.

As long as you are winning, he's fun to watch. If you're losing, "Can't somebody tackle that little guy?" 

 

As ArkStFan said, he's not going 80, but he might break four 20-yarders, just by slipping through holes and not taking a full on shot from a defender. We don't have a breakaway threat at RB (that we know of) but we have a bunch of slasher types who can bust chunks of 12-25 yards. We're anxious to see how the new OL impacts the RBs, they might look great if the OL is better.

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