A-State cruises past ULM

From A-State Sports
Mark Taylor, Assistant Director for Media Relations

JONESBORO – Sophomore quarterback Justice Hansen passed for four touchdowns and ran for another while sophomore running back Warren Wand caught two touchdown passes and punched another one in on the ground as A-State cruised past ULM 51-10 Saturday night at Centennial Bank Stadium.

A-State (3-4, 3-0 SBC) held a 42-3 advantage at halftime and extended its conference win streak to 12 games. The Red Wolves, which went 7-for-7 in the red zone, finished with 434 yards of total offense, including 335 in the first half, behind 316 yards in the aerial attack.

Defensively, A-State allowed 336 total yards with 174 coming on the ground and 162 in the air. The defense held ULM to 10 points marking the first time since 2006 that A-State has held back-to-back opponents to 10 or fewer points since 2006 (at FIU: 31-6, vs ULM 10-6). The 41-point margin of victory ranks as the fourth-largest in a Sun Belt contest for A-State.

Hansen finished 21-for-36 passing for 303 yards and four touchdowns while rushing four times for 20 yards and a touchdown. Johnston White was the leading rusher with seven carries for 72 yards. Wand finished as the leading receiver with four catches for 65 yards and the two touchdowns.

“I thought it was our most complete game we have played this year,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “We made plays in all three phases. Special teams wise, no big issue that we are concerned about. We actually got the return game going and flipped the field. Defensively, we created turnovers and were stubborn against the run.

“Really, until we started making substitutions and had some mechanical problems with guys that don’t play a lot of snaps and then offensively until we started making substitutions, we were really solid. We were able to move the chains on third down and were seven-of-seven on third down and really taking what they were giving us.

“I don’t think they ever got to Justice and we protected him well and he made good decisions. I thought we improved and took a step in the right direction, but I think we can be better.”

Hansen was 3-for-5 on the opening drive for 61 yards, hooking up with Wand for a 28-yard touchdown on 4th-and-5. The scoring drive marked the first time this season that the Red Wolves had scored a touchdown on their opening drive.

Hansen completed 3-of-4 passes on the ensuing drive and found Chris Murray on a 3-yard shovel pass for the score, his second touchdown pass on the night. White broke the drive open with a 50-yard run on 1st-and-15 to set up A-State with 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line.

The combo of Hansen and Wand was seen again as Wand caught a 31-yard pass to end the first quarter and put the Red Wolves within one yard of another score. After a one yard loss on a rush, Chad Voytik hit Wand for a 2-yard touchdown pass and the Red Wolves grabbed the 21-0 advantage early in the second quarter.

The passing game continued to be a force for A-State as Hansen tossed his third touchdown pass of the night to make it 28-0 with 10:21 left in the first half. Hansen completed 3-of-4 attempts on the drive, finding Sterling Stowers for an eight-yard touchdown.

A pass interference call against A-State helped ULM advance inside Red Wolves territory for the first time. The Warhawks later got within four yards of a touchdown, but A-State held ULM to a 21-yard field goal to make it 28-3 with 4:55 left in half.

Daryl Rollins-Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to make it 1st-and-goal at the 6-yard line. Wand was the focal point on all three plays, catching a pass for four yards before plunging into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown plunge to make it 35-3 with 3:54 remaining.

The first turnover of the game was a Blaise Taylor interception and Taylor returned the pick 33 yards to set up A-State in scoring position once again. After an 11-yard pass on first down, the Red Wolves later faced 4th-and-1 from the ULM 6-yard line. Hansen rushed into the end zone on fourth down and made it 42-3 with 37 seconds left in the half.

A-State added a touchdown on their opening possession of the third quarter with Hansen hooking up with Blake Mack for an eight-yard touchdown. Hansen targeted Mack three times on the drive and Mack hauled in two receptions for 32 yards.

J.D. Houston added a 27-yard field goal later in the quarter to make the score 51-3, but ULM broke free for a 61-yard touchdown to make it 51-10 with 4:05 left on the third quarter clock.

A-State faces a quick turnaround and hits the road to face Georgia State on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU. The Red Wolves close out the home schedule with Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. against New Mexico State.

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