When a team has a sustained winning streak or a string of championships, there are always crazy endings, timely turnovers, and big plays that keep them alive. The best teams seem to create their own magical moments.
On the last offensive play of the game for ASU and staring down a 4th and 10 at ULL’s 11 yard line trailing 24-19, Justice Hansen rolled out looking for a receiver in the end zone and finding none, tucked the ball and ran for the end zone. Would this be one of those golden moments fans would talk about forever? Hansen was tackled at the 5 yard line but managed to flip the ball back into play with the loose ball being picked up by OL Joseph Bacchus who proceeded to run into the end zone from 6 yards out for an apparent game winning, conference championship securing touchdown. “I remember that game in 2016 when we beat ULL on that weird last play...” Once the inevitable review was over, the officials had determined that Justice Hansen was down before the magical toss and the outright conference championship and 15 game conference win streak vanished in the Louisiana afternoon.
DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones tallied two sacks on the day to takeover the top spot as the all time Sun Belt conference sack leader, now with a career 28 sacks. Rolland-Jones is only a junior and has at least 14 more games in his career to add to that total.
Johnston White was the lone bright spot on special teams as he blocked a punt midway through the first quarter that would eventually lead to ASU’s first TD.
WR Kendall Sanders continued his late season break out with 6 catches for 90 yards. Seven receivers caught multiple balls which shows some maturing of Justice Hansen’s development as a quarterback. Dijon Paschall also caught 6 balls for 70 yards and a touchdown.
The Red Wolves rushing game was non existent most of the game finishing with 128 yards on 33 attempts for a 3,9 yard avg. This was especially a problem in the red zone. This was evident at the beginning of the 2nd quarter as ASU started with a 1st and goal at the 5 but couldn't punch the ball in from the 1 foot line on 4th down.
The red zone woes caught up to ASU Saturday, with 6 trips into the red zone and only 1 TD and 2 field goals to show for it. The lack of a physical running game showed as the Red Wolves couldn't capitalize on multiple opportunities to put the Cajuns away.
ULL QB Anthony Jennings only completed 13 passes on the day but 4 of those were for over 30 yards. That was as many 30+ yard passes as the ASU secondary had given up in the previous 6 conference games. ULL only had 8 30+ yard completions all year in the previous 10 games.
BIG PLAY THAT WILL NOT GET PRESS
With 9 minutes left in the game, Warren Wand had just scored a touchdown and cut the Cajun lead to 24-19. The Red Wolves lined up for a 2 point conversion and a Hansen pass to a wide open Sterling Stowers was dropped. This would have allowed ASU to go for a game tying field goal at the end of the game.