What have we learned this week? We've learned that unlike what it does for bulls, a bleeding will simply bolster the red wolves' resolve. A-State will see red and leave little doubt that the bleeding has stopped. The Aggies were in Jonesboro for homecoming and they were willing victims to their claws and bites, folding right around the start of the third quarter when A-State racked up points and, especially, yards. How many? How's 764 sound, good enough for a Sun Belt Conference record? Just what the wolf doctor-these exist!-ordered.
As usual, this space is the perfect place to overreact. We have to do so especially this week, because it may be our last opportunity to do it in about 10 months. While the Red Wolves have (a-)stated their case for a bowl game-great offense, great fans-there's no guarantee that the fine gentlemen at the helm of bowl games were watching. It would be a shame if they weren't.
Thought I'd cry today, almost did but we were having too much fun! Thank you to the fans who showed up, yall were awesome!!
— Brock Barnhill (@Brock_Barnhill) November 30, 2014
A-State didn't exactly "fulfill its destiny and become its most essential self," as I wrote in my game preview, by shutting down New Mexico State's running back Larry Rose, but I'll overlook this today. You're damn right that I'll overlook the 127 yards the Aggies gained on the ground in the first half, or the 178 total. It's pretty simple, too. A win makes you forget many things and a win that ends the season on such a high note is the cure-all this team had needed since the sad run odyssey in Lafayette in October.
Fix the run game before the bowl game, or before next season if they don't go bowling. But today, let's celebrate the two sacks, and the two interceptions, and Money Hunter's 11 tackles, and Tres Houston's 102 receiving yards, and the rushing duo of Michael "Flash" Gordon and Johnston "Silky" White each cracking the 100 yards on the ground.
Let's celebrate a great win.
Giant Trooper Taylor head! pic.twitter.com/7GMYfpJxYn
— Adam Crisler (@adamcrisler) November 29, 2014
I Cried Wolf
For once, let's use this space of the recap to actually cry wolf. As in, let's reinforce just how much the bowl season needs this Arkansas State Red Wolves team. Send them anywhere-hell, even in my native Montreal (in Canada), if that's what needs to happen.
4th straight winning season. 35-16 overall record. So much #PackPride in these seniors.
— Kara Richey (@Kara_Richey) November 29, 2014
A salute to our favorite sr.class ever @RedWolvesFBall. Five coaches, 5 season, 3 league titles and a 35-16 record. You are the foundation!
— AStateNation (@AStateNation) November 29, 2014
And if A-State does get invited to a bowl game, don't tell me that I sold my soul to the devil/Texas State writer Will Butler.
@THETXSTUniv Haha I'm feeling charitable today. (The key to my heart lies in a poutine, just gotta figure out which one.)
— Charles BlouinGascon (@RealCBG) November 29, 2014
Joke's on you, Will! A-State won, I'm getting some kind of poutine, and I had my fingers crossed the whole time while typing.
Howl Of The Night
On a night when the A-State offense plays better than any other Sun Belt offense in the history of the conference, who else should get the "Howl Of The Night" nod but the man to lead the unit? There's quite a compelling case to make that the Red Wolves' 2014 regular season mirrors that of its first-year quarterback, Fredi Knighten.
He's been irregular at times, too often being dependent on the big play, the same way that this team was supposed to contend for the Sun Belt title has had to fight and claw for a prayer at a bowl game.
Looking ahead, let's see whether we ever see them again in an A-State uniform. That's "we" as in the Red Wolves fans, and "them" as in the 14 graduating Arkansas State seniors. There is possibly still that bowl game left before we bid adieu to the excellence of Qushaun Lee, Andrew Tryon and the gang, but nothing's decided yet.
The Sun Belt has only three bids and it's all complicated (and my colleague does a fine job of detailing it), but essentially it comes down to this. Georgia Southern, which won the conference, and Appalachian State, which finished third, can't bowl. Lousiana can and will. Then A-State, Texas State and South Alabama must hope that they will not be the odd team out. We're not exactly sure how that will play out, but might we suggest avoiding the Friday Night Lights technique?
We know one thing, though-it's good offense that sells tickets (to a bowl game) and A-State just reminded everyone that its own couldn't be stopped.
Which Poutine On The Menu?
Coach Anderson, there's no need to assign anything to anyone after this week. Sure, there were a few things that went wrong or that could have gone better. But it's silly to get fancy when the guys have set a conference record for total yards in a game-just hand out the menus and tell them to pick whatever they damn please.
It's #FunBelt, and that starts with the poutine.