Three Reasons Why We're Bummed Out
1. Losing, no matter how nobly, no matter how well your team played against a wealthier program, sucks. It sucks rocks. It sucks a a big bag of empty Axe cologne cans. It sucks. Arkansas State played with a warrior's heart, but that big, P5 win continues to elude the Red Wolves.
2. Taj Chambers looks done for the season. Word is the freshman linebacker tore an ACL on a funky onside kick after scoring in the second quarter. Also, QB Fredi Knighten came up gimpy too, ceding much of the second half to James Tabery.
3. A-State had its chances. The defense came up with three interceptions, and WR Tres Houston made two touchdown catches that seemed downloaded straight out of the Matrix, and yet the Red Wolves couldn't quite produce enough offense to put Missouri away.
Three Reasons Why We're Bump'n Fists, Yo!
1. The Defense is scary good. Robert Mondie was destroying the offensive line, and Ja'Von Rolland-Jones had Maty Mauk scrambling for his life. The secondary came up big all night, and Chris Stone was an absolute beast.
2. Red Wolves were 2/2 on field goals, including a 40 yarder that looked to scrape the crossbar. Bonus: A-State was 2/2 on XPs, which is huge news considering the Red Wolves posted the second worst XP percentage in FBS play last year.
3. McKissic and Houston are a legitimate dual threat. JD and Tres were not intimidated by "SEC speed," hauling in passes and making huge plays after the catch.
The Final Analysis
Arkansas State looked every bit as good (and in some areas, better) than the 21st ranked Missouri Tigers. The difference? Maty Mauk's speed. While Missouri's running game at the RB position was largely ineffective, Mauk often gashed the A-State defense for 20-yard chunks.
With USC and Missouri in the rear view mirror, the season looks incredible for the Red Wolves moving forward. Missing a chance to knocking of the nation's 21st ranked team hurts, but this team has the look of a conference champion.