Red Wolves 62 UAPB 11

It was a perfect opening night. The Arkansas State Red Wolves crushed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 62-11 Saturday night before an announced crowd of 30,451 Saturday at Liberty Bank Stadium.

The offense turned in a monster night, with four Red Wolves clipping 100-yard mark in Arkansas State's ninth-straight victory.

David Oku led the way with 124 yards on 16 carries. Senior Sirgregory Thornton added 112 yards on 9 carries, sophomore Michael Gordon 102 on 4 carries and and sophomore Fredi Knighten 101 yards on 3 carries. ASU became just the seventh school in FBS history to have four 100-yard rushers in a game.

The Red Wolves finished with 509 yards rushing, the second best in school history, and 672 yards total offense.

"I was very proud of our players with the mindset they came out with tonight," said A-State coach Bryan Harsin. "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.

As strong as the offense was, the defense was just as dominating. UAPB finished with 12 yards rushing and 161 yards passing, 61 of those coming on one play after when Rocky Hayes went for an interception and whiffed. That set up a goal line stand where the Red Wolves twice stopped UAPB on fourth and 1 at the 5. A-State turned in 15 negative yardage plays.

ASU romped to a 48-0 lead. Knighten, who scored twice, punched in a 21-yard run to cap the first series and J.D. McKissic scored on a 14-run for the second TD. Brian Davis kicked both PATs and it was 14-0 after one quarter.

The Red Wolves scored five touchdowns in the second quarter. Oku ran in from the 2 and later added a 17-yard scoring run on the statue of liberty play. Knighten scored on a 1-yard run the play after he scampered for 71.

Gordon scored from 91, tying the second longest in school history. Julian Jones added the final score, catching a 22-yard pass from Adam Kennedy, who was 9 of 12 for 149 yards.

Davis hit four of five PATs in the quarter.

In the third quarter. Thornton capped off the scoring with runs of 6 and 31 yards. Davis nailed both PATs.

UAPB scored on a 37-yard fumble return by Jer-Ryan Harris, who finished with 14 tackles. The Golden Lions also scored on a 39-yard field goal by Tyler Strickland.

"When our players came out on all sides of the ball, we did a great job of establishing the run game which is what we wanted to do," said Harsin.

"I thought Adam (Kennedy) did a great job of operating the offense. I know he didn't get that many chances to throw the ball tonight, but when he did it was the right way and the way we wanted him to."

ASU plays at Auburn on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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