We’ve come to the part of the year where we extrapolate nuggets of positivity from the dung-heap of the football season. Two things are revealed to be true: (1) Arkansas State is 1-4 in Sun Belt play for the first time since 2010, and (2) the Red Wolves looked like a mostly-capable football against the (for now) #25 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns.
Le’t not pussy-foot around the cesspool. Arkansas State football sucks. Pressing an index finger on the “why” is an exercise in madness. My mom asked me why the Red Wolves sucked, and I had no answers, disappointing her once again. We have talent. We have experienced coaching. We have water features. What gives?
I dunno. I do know that the Red Wolves defense, with TW Ayers making his first start, held the Cajuns to ZERO points in the first half. Naturally, the offense failed to take advantage of this burst of excellence and put only six on the board. The Red Wolves offense, once a mind-boggling juggernaut, has been held to under 21 points for three straight games.
Losing Dahu Green for the season doesn’t help, of course. The injury-prone wideout gives the law firm of Bonner & Hatcher a 50/50 match-up we win 80% of the time (stats I made up). But in our loss of Green, we finally discovered Lincoln Pare, the patient RB that reminds me a lot of Kansas City’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Pare gained 121 yards on the ground on Saturday, production we haven’t seen since Marcel Murray was alive.
So the question we have to ask is, when we needed a yard to convert a first down at a crucial moment in the game – a yard that Pare had been delivering the entire game – why did we opt for the sideline pass?
This question vexes me with a vexing more vexing than “Why did we go with Bonner on the last drive when Hatcher obviously had the hot hand?” We’re going with the Two QB until it’s etched onto our tombstone. (Here Lies A-State Fan Rules, Two QB.) No, it’s our stubborn determination to out-cute the opposing defense that murders us again, and again and again. When the solution stares us in the face, we close our eyes, click our heels, and hope for a miracle.
The Red Wolves lost to the Cajuns, an outcome that has become too common the last handful of seasons. The Red Wolves have also completed an inglorious trifecta: losing to all three Sun Belt teams ranked by the AP Top 25. Arkansas State is not a good football team, but bubbles of hope have seeped to the surface, and I’m fine with sticking them in my pipe