Senior David Oku paced A-State with a game-leading 124 yards rushing while senior Sirgregory Thornton ran for 112 yards, sophomore Michael Gordon gained 102, and sophomore Fredi Knighten rushed for 101 yards as the Red Wolves tied a NCAA Division I FBS record for most players on one team gaining at least 100 yards. A-State’s 509 rushing yards in the game represented the fifth time in which the Red Wolves have reached the 500-yard plateau in a contest.
Arkansas State, which is 1-0 on the season, snapped three-game losing string in season openers as the Red Wolves put on an impressive offensive performance against UAPB (0-1) with a 509-rushing yards output in their first home season-opening contest since 2009.
UAPB came into the first-ever meeting with A-State as the defending Southwestern Athletic Conference Champions and the preseason favorite to win the SWAC Western Division title.
“I was very proud of our players with the mindset they came out with tonight,” said A-State head coach Bryan Harsin, who was making his collegiate head coaching debut.
“I think the crowd was electric. When we had the Order of the Pack earlier in the week, I felt like if we had that many people and that type of atmosphere by game time then our guys would be excited to get out there and play.
“Today was all about us going out there and doing our jobs. Really just taking everything we’ve done through spring ball, summer, and fall camp into tonight’s game. I’m really proud of our coaches and the effort they put in preparing the players, the type of organization they showed throughout the week,” added Harsin.
Arkansas State dominated the first half as the Red Wolves scored 48 unanswered points while rolling up 480 yards in total offense, including 344 on the ground, to hold a commanding 48-0 at halftime.
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