Our series on the top five Redemption Games in the Sun Belt continues with a rematch that in 2017 was downright offensive...
#4 UL Monroe defense vs. Arkansas State offense
Last year’s score: Arkansas State 67, UL Monroe 50
Chance for Redemption comes: November 17 at Arkansas State’s Centennial Bank Stadium
Touchdown. Touchdown. Punt. Touchdown. Punt.
Touchdown. Touchdown. Punt. Touchdown. Touchdown.
Those are the Arkansas State drives that spanned the second quarter through the early fourth quarter while last year’s game remained close. The Red Wolves cranked up the offense to nosebleed-high as they put a league-high 67 points on the board in a late-season win.
To be fair, a pick-six to seal the game with a minute to play was not the defense’s fault. So, let’s say they are responsible for allowing 60 points last year.
What they are on the hook for allowing...
- 781 yards of total offense (Sun Belt record)
- 520 yards passing to Justice Hansen (school record)
- Seven of eight offense touchdown drives to last two-and-a-half minutes or less
- Nine of 15 third down completion percentage
It wasted a virtuoso performance from Warhawk quarterback Caleb Evans, who racked up 510 yards of offense and six total touchdowns in the loss. Marcus Green was also electric in defeat with a kickoff return for touchdown that helped pace him to 418 total yards.
When an offense puts up stat lines like those and scores 50 points, the punchline usually does not end with “and they ended the game down three full scoring possessions.”
The amount of quick scores means the Warhawk defense will need to make plays to disrupt the Arkansas State offensive pace. It means more than forcing a turnover or two. It means staying disciplined from giving up big plays. Burn most timeouts on defense, if necessary.
The good news? Evans and Green will return to help keep pace with the Red Wolves on the scoreboard. Arkansas State had some personnel turnover on defense, as well.
The bad news? Hansen, running back Warren Wand, who had more than 200 yards of total offense as well in last year’s game, and four of the five starters on the offensive line return for Arkansas State.
Oh, and they will have to do all of this on the road this time around.
But if you want real redemption, it would make sense for the Warhawk defense to face down the same lineup as last year in the most difficult of circumstances.
Godspeed, Warhawk defense.