Passing attack lifts A-State over UAPB

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

JONESBORO – Quarterback Justice Hansen tied the school record with five passing touchdowns and the Arkansas State football team set a single-game record with six passing touchdowns in a 48-3 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday at Centennial Bank Stadium.

Hansen finished 24-of-31 passing for 336 yards and five touchdowns while Logan Bonner was 2-for-3 for 20 yards and a touchdown. Eleven different receivers hauled in receptions for the Red Wolves with Christian Booker (4-76) and Dijon Paschal (4-29) leading the team with four receptions each. Booker had two receiving touchdowns while Omar Bayless, Blake Mack, Justin McInnis and Jonathan Adams Jr. also put six points on the board.

Warren Wand led A-State (1-1) on the ground with nine rushes for 62 yards, including a touchdown. Johnston White added 10 carries for 37 yards as the Red Wolves had 137 yards rushing. A-State finished with 493 total offense and was 5-for-12 on third down.

Defensively, A-State limited UAPB (1-2) to 280 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers. Kyle Wilson had a sack and interception while Hunter Moreton led with six tackles. Jarrod Chandler, Christian Howard and Ronheen Bingham also recorded sacks for the Red Wolves.

“Overall just excited to get the win,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “Any way you can get a ‘W’, you need to be excited about it. I thought the crowd was great and anytime you can win at home, you need to be excited about it. Overall, just frustrated with sloppy play. We had missed kicks, missed tackles and missed assignments and a lot of times where we could have moved the chains and didn’t. I told the guys we have to continue to improve.”

“We have a lot of inexperienced guys playing and you could see that tonight where there were times I thought we could have stretched this thing out and we weren’t able to do it early enough. That would have allowed us to get a lot of young guys on the field and we kept that in question longer than we wanted to. It will be a great teaching tape and we got to get it fixed because we have a very tough football game next week against a very good football team in SMU. Just looking at the guys eyes in the locker room, they realize it and weren’t making excuses for it. We had a lot of heads shaking ‘Yes Sir” and that correction starts tomorrow tonight.”

After Blaise Taylor logged his fifth career interception, the Red Wolves used just 2:15 to march down the field for a touchdown. Wand and White combined for 43 yards on the ground, but two completions by Hansen proved the difference. Hansen connected with Christian Booker for a 38-yard scoring play.

A missed field goal by the Golden Lions gave the ball back to A-State and the Red Wolves took advantage. Hansen completed 6-of-7 passes on the drive, capping the 11-play scoring drive with a three-yard strike to Mack.

UAPB got on the board with a 30-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, but A-State quickly responded. Hansen completed five-straight passes spanning 53 yards. The ground game got A-State into the end zone as Wand rushed 12 yards for the score and a 20-3 lead for the Red Wolves.

Hansen tossed three more touchdown passes in the third quarter as he helped the Red Wolves expand the lead to 41-3. Hansen hooked up with McInnis for a 73-yard touchdown pass and catch on the second play of the quarter and later targeted Bayless for a 23-yard score. Hansen closed his night with a 23-yard touchdown pass to freshman Adams Jr. Bonner entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter and connected on 2-of-3 attempts, including a nine-yard touchdown pass to Booker.

A-State travels to Dallas to face SMU Saturday at Gerald R. Ford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. on ESPN3.

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