With roughly eight minutes left in the first half and ASU trailing host SMU 17-14, Justice Hansen tossed a pass to a wide open TE Blake Mack who proceeded to rumble down the sideline for a probable touchdown. But instead of a 21-17 lead deep in the half, SMU cornerback Jordan Wyatt got just enough of Macks leg in a desperate swipe to knock him off balance and cause him to fumble the ball into the end zone where it was recovered for a touchback by the Mustangs. After that play SMU added two more big scoring plays to finish the half, a 35 yard run and a 49 yard pass to go in at halftime up 31-14.
Along with the fumble, the two other plays that swung this game away from the Red Wolves’ grasp were QB Justice Hansen getting his back tweaked and a roughing the kicker call that led to a touchdown. On the next series after the Mack fumble, Hansen tried to scramble on a 4th and 13 instead of putting the ball up and was tackled for a yard loss and had a knee in the back. This would lead to muscle spasms and him missing most of the rest of the game. The momentum seemed to swing hard after that as backup Logan Bonner took over for most of the rest of the game.
With Arkansas State up 14-10, the Red Wolves defense held SMU out of the endzone apparently only giving up a field goal, but a roughing the kicker penalty on Nehemiah Wagner gave the Mustangs the ball 1st and goal at the 2, eventually running WR Courtland Sutton out of the wildcat for a touchdown run to go up permanently although it did take SMU five shots inside the five yard line to get the TD.
The shootout matchup went one sided from those moments forward with SMU eventually pulling away led by a rushing game that amassed 315 yards and a passing game that featured 2 TD passes totaling 114 yards. QB Ben Hicks threw for 266 yards and 2 TDs and Xavier Jones led all rushers with 166 yards on 19 carries.
In a limited role at QB for ASU, Justice Hansen threw for 234 yards on 16 of 26 and 2 TDs while Warren Wand picked up 75 yards on 13 carries and a TD. Backup QB Logan Bonner was 7-17 for 50 yards and an INT.
The Red Wolves are 1-2 headed into conference play on October 4th on the road at Georgia Southern.