Arkansas State blew past Texas A&M 71-20 Saturday in Jonesboro, Ark. The Red Wolves led the entire match, including 36-3 at intermission and 64-3 in the second half. Texas A&M managed three tries in the last quarter of the game, all scored by wing Luke Carter.
“We put three really nicely-worked tries in the last 20 of the game, and when we actually had some ball we did some stuff with it. The problem was we didn’t have any ball,” said A&M coach Brett Mills. “They probably had about 90-percent of the possession today.”
The Red Wolves beat in-state rivals Arkansas 58-0 last week, but were unhappy with the result against the DI-AA opponent. ASU coach Matt Huckaby said the team worked earnestly to retain more ball against the Aggies.
“That was kind of our focus today. No matter what happened, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s not just give the team possession off silly offloads and stuff. Let’s just starve them of the ball,’” said Huckaby.
“And we’re capable of playing a lot of phases. We did it really well at times…It’s the beginning of the season and they’re still sorting out what’s a good offload and what’s not in the game pace.”
Standing out for Arkansas State with four tries was open -side flanker Steyn Benade.
“Steyn had a monster of a day,” said Huckaby. “Just good, classic open-side play. He just bottled up his assignments off set pieces and was at the right place at the right time following line breaks and had the fitness to catch back up to the play and be that last guy that took that offload, and it was just an incredible individual effort to finish between the posts. The kid’s just a ballplayer.”
Huckaby was also pleased with his front row, comprised of Nardus Wessels, Jake Mizell and Nick Thompson.
“They were really controlling. They were playing it safe and we were able to dominate in the front row without giving up penalties for pushing early,” Huckaby said. “They just played a very disciplined, good game in the front row. The whole backline, as long as they keep their depth when we spin it out, did brilliant.”
Arkansas State hosts Notre Dame next week, and Texas A&M hosts Oklahoma.
Arkansas State 71
Tries: Ritenour, Benade (4), Patterson, Sullivan, J. Mizell, Bates, Caswell
Cons: Caswell (9)
Texas A&M 20
Tries: Carter (3)