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Red Wolves Looking for More Momentum

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Consecutive victories would come with some significant history for Arkansas State.

A win on Saturday against UNLV would move Arkansas State to 3-1 for the first time in a decade. After some September struggles in recent years, the Red Wolves have a chance to jump into Sun Belt Conference play with considerable momentum. Consecutive victories would come with some significant history for Arkansas State. A recent win over Tulsa was the program's first non-conference road win since beating Texas A&M in 2008. 

Already the lone FBS team with five league titles in seven years, the Red Wolves are looking to expand their impressive success.

Two years ago, Arkansas State had an 0-4 first month of the season that included a disappointing loss to FCS Central Arkansas. A four-game debut, with only a loss to top-ranked Alabama, would be notable non-conference progress this fall. Saturday night in Jonesboro awaits as simply the next game on the schedule, but also a potential key moment, of sorts, as the Red Wolves' non-conference finale. The challenge will be a good barometer as UNLV is 2-1 and played Southern Cal close in week one.

Even having faced Alabama already, Arkansas State has, by a wide margin, the Sun Belt's most-dynamic offense at 490.7 total yards per game. Against the Crimson Tide, the Red Wolves compiled 391 total yards, a margin just two offenses, Jarrett Stidham's Auburn and Deshaun Watson's Clemson, have bested since mid-October of 2016. Arkansas State compiled 676 yards against Southeast Missouri State and 405 against Tulsa.

Star quarterback Justice Hansen has almost 900 total yards. He will lead the Red Wolves against a UNLV defense that ranks second in all of college football, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 42.2% of their passes. For head coach Blake Anderson's talented squad, the Rebels will be a good litmus test before Sun Belt play begins with a road game at Georgia Southern and a high-profile Tuesday night clash with Appalachian State.   

Former members of the Big West Conference, Arkansas State and UNLV will soon meet for the first-time as non-league foes. A victory for the Red Wolves would move Arkansas State to 3-1 for just the second time as an FBS program and give the Red Wolves consecutive non-conference wins against FBS foes for the first time ever.

Expectations are always high for Arkansas State; this weekend could be a statement and a springboard.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports