Defense Not Even Optional: Red Wolves Outgun Panthers 59-52

If you like ridiculous record-setting spectacles (which I’m sure ESPN executives do on an otherwise dull Thursday night) you’d have appreciated Arkansas State vs Georgia State, which produced 1,192 yards of offense and 15 total touchdowns.

The game started with a kiss of good fortune for Arkansas Staate. After a quick 3-and-out, the Panther’s punter muffed the snap and the Red Wolves collected the pill on the five yard line. Moments later, Logan Bonner connected with TE Reed Tyler for the quick touchdown, resulting in this fine art masquerading as a Tweet.

If you thought that the A-State offensive game plan was “Dahu Green” you’re probably right. The Law Firm of Bonner & Hatcher worked to get the big wide receiver the ball in the first half, and Dahu responded with 160 first half yards and a couple of circus-hauls that belong in its own ring of Ringling Brothers.

Not on the Red Wolves’ game plan: defense. Georgia State, missing its star running back Destin Coates, turned to the talents young QB Cornelius Brown, often borrowing Georgia Southern’s QB option to gain chunks of yards. When that wasn’t working, Brown took to the air, hitting his 10,000-pound TE, Roger Carter and 6’4″ wide receiver Sam Pinckeny (146 yards, 3 TDS). Red Wolves often appeared confused in the secondary and didn’t pressure the QB until late in the fourth.

While helpless against the Red Wolves’ pass attack, Georgia State was aces at stopping the run, limiting A-State to 58 of the ugliest yards in football. With few exceptions the Red Wolves run game was a symphony of two-yard carries, with Lincoln Pare as it’s hard-scrabble maestro. The run game to so bad that even Logan Bonner was compelled to workshop a few of his own runs, some with surprising success.

A level 10 Arkansas reference.

While the Red Wolves were limited to their passing game, the Panthers’ offense was much more balanced, with the rush attack led by Tucker Gregg (142, 1), who bears the mass of a collapsing star. Cornelius Brown was equally impressive through the air, collecting 314 yards without a single pick.

But as offensive as the Panthers were, there was simply too much Jonathan Adams to endure. Too much Dahu Green. Too much Brandon Bowling and juuuuust enough Lincoln Pare to overcome all the kitchen sinks the Panthers tossed on the gridiron. While both defenses were milk cartons, the Red Wolves managed to summon one or two stops that mattered, and sometimes one or two stops is all you need.

Jay Adams was money again for the Red Wolves

The Red Wolves atoned for last year’s loss in Atlanta. They just needed every ounce of offensive firepower to do it.

Some observations on the game