No one is giving the Arkansas State Red Wolves any chance to win the game Saturday; if you look closer at the numbers, the Vols are looking more like the underdogs.
In the last few years, the Tennessee Volunteers failed to even appear in a bowl game. On the other hand, just last year the Red Wolves won eight games and won the GoDaddy Bowl against a Ball State team that had only lost two times before that.
What Tennessee accomplished against Utah State was a major stepping point for the heralded recruiting class of 2014, but Arkansas State dominated their opponents in similar fashion. Arkansas State toppled Montana State for a scoreline that read 37-10.
One story that went under the radar, was the number of injuries Utah State was dealing with. A team with Chuckie Keeton coming off a season long injury, and with Utah State losing their star defensive player Kyler Fackrell in the middle of the game, does not make a formidable team.
Fans should worry about the underrated talent the Red Wolves have. Red Wolves quarterback Fredi Knighten can hurt defenses in multiple ways, in two years he has rushed 70 times for 559 yards (8.0 yards per carry). On top of his rushing numbers, he completed 70% of his passes last year (though he just threw the ball 48 times), compared to Worley’s 55%.
The Red Wolves running backs combined for 283 rushing yards for 3 touchdowns against Montana State. Michael Gordon spearheads that running game. Last year Gordon ran 112 times for 754 yards (6.7 yards per carry). If you’re wondering what the stat line looked like for those two players against Montana State, it read something like this:
Knighten had 19 passes completed in 29 attempts with 219 yards and one touchdown and 16 rushes for 93 yards (5.8 yards per carry).
Gordon seven carries for 68 yards (9.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown.
While I might be the minority, you have to know Arkansas State wants that major win that will them national recognition. If they could beat an SEC team at home in front of 102,000 screaming Rocky Top fans, they would get some attention.
Kyle Furman contributed to this story.
Edited by Will Lomas