February 5, 2020
By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Quarterback Adam Martin capped his Heber Springs High School football career by signing a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II letter-of-intent with Arkansas Tech at the Panther Den Tuesday.
Martin, who started the final two games of his freshman season and the past three years, led the Panthers to a 21-17 record, four playoff appearances and a share of a conference championship.
Overall, Martin completed 387-of-662 passes for 5,051 yards and 42 touchdowns. He rushed for 2,042 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.
“I’m very excited, like Russellville and excited what the future will hold,” said Martin when asked about selecting Arkansas Tech. “I’m ready to start working on my football career in Russellville. I like the coaches who kept in touch with me throughout the process. They were honest and treated me like family.”
Will Cox, who was interim head coach last season for the Panthers, said Martin was one of the key parts on offense. Martin was responsible for 54 percent of the team’s touchdowns and 64 percent of the team’s total offense.
In 2019, Martin completed 139-of-232 passes for 1,627 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was the team’s second-leading rusher with 864 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Martin also handled the punting duties.
“I only coached Adam during the past two years, but he played well beyond his years,” Cox said. “He took pride in how he played. I’m happy he is getting this opportunity. His stats are incredible and only tells part of the story. Adam always put our offense in good position to be successful.”
Cox said he never doubted Martin would play college football and said his new coach will learn quickly how valuable of a player he is.
“I told every coach once he gets in your program, you would see why,” Cox said. “Adam is the best high school quarterback I ever coached. His best attributes are leadership and he holds himself to a higher standard than others.”
Martin is expected to compete for playing time next season for the Wonder Boys, who tied for eighth place with East Central Oklahoma in the Great American Conference last season during head coach Kyle Shipp’s first season.
“Most likely, I will probably be redshirted, but that decision will not be made until after the August camp,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting to Tech. Coach Shipp takes pride in being a Wonder Boy (player and assistant coach before becoming head coach). The program is going in the right direction.”
Martin was one of three quarterbacks signed.
“I’m excited about all of the kids that we’re signing,” Shipp said. “I feel like it’s a very good class from top to bottom. This class is a building block to where we want to get to in the future. Along with our returning class we feel like this group will have the chance to be special.”
Martin said he is ready for the challenge and compared it to when he was summoned to the varsity during his freshman year for the Panthers.
“I already was playing junior high basketball and coach (Darren) Gowen came and told me I was going to be playing more football,” Martin said. “I learned a lot in those games. I have so many memories, but two of the highlights were winning at Southside Batesville during my junior year and defeating Riverview at senior night last season.”
Martin said it was special to play on the same field as his father, Danny.
“I built a lot of relationships in the locker room and the community,” he said. “It also was special playing where my dad and uncles did.”
Martin continues to play for the Heber Springs basketball team and will compete for the baseball squad before heading to Russellville.
“Learning a new playbook will be the first challenge,” he said. “I need to become more physically because Division II football is a different game than high school. I want to get it up to their standards.”
Martin will join former teammate, Julian Cameron, at Tech. Cameron signed with the Wonder Boys last spring and redshirted this past season.
Martin is also the fifth Panther football player in the past three seasons to sign to play college football joining Cameron (Arkansas Tech), Blaze Nelson (Lyon College), J.J. Bray (Southwest Baptist, Mo.) last year and Jacob Bremmon (Hendrix) in 2018.
RELATED ARTICLE: Arkansas Tech announces 2020 signing class
ADAM MARTIN INTERVIEW
HEBER SPRINGS COACH WILL COX
FORMER HEBER SPRINGS COACH DARREN GOWEN
February 5, 2020
By ARKANSAS TECH SPORTS INFORMATION
RUSSELLVILLE – Thirty-nine high school student-athletes and three four-year transfers have joined the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys 2020 football program, announced by head coach Kyle Shipp on Wednesday.
Of the new additions, 24 are from the state of Arkansas, with student-athletes from Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri also joining the program.
“I’m excited about all of the kids that we’re signing – I feel like it’s a very good class from top to bottom,” Shipp said. “This class is a building block to where we want to get to in the future. Along with our returning class we feel like this group will have the chance to be pretty special.”
A complete list of signees follows:
2019 High School Signees
|Adam Martin||QB||6-0||190||Heber Springs HS, Ark.|
|Ayomide Johnson||OL||6-4||265||Cedar Hill HS, Texas|
|Brandon Bunton||DB||6-0||180||Dardanelle HS, Ark.|
|Brenton Bachemin||OL||6-4||280||Archbishop Rummel HS, La.|
|Bryce Fox||OL||6-7||275||Dierks HS, Ark.|
|Carmerius Rucks||LB||6-0||205||El Dorado HS, Ark.|
|Christian Corkran||OL||6-4||307||Fontainebleau HS, La.|
|Christian Stafford||DB||6-0||170||Lufkin HS, Texas|
|Cole Cannon||OL||6-4||270||Grandview HS, Texas|
|Connor Watson||ATH||6-0||175||Valley View, HS, Ark.|
|Damarius Newton||WR||6-2||195||Van Buren HS, Ark.|
|Davy Harrod||DT||6-0||255||Henry County HS, Tn.|
|Dewayne Smith||LB||6-0||190||Conway HS, Ark.|
|Drew Rust||TE||6-1||270||Pottsville HS, Ark.|
|Germany Powell||LB||6-0||255||Bastrop HS, La.|
|Hunter Taylor||OL||6-1||285||Pillow Academy, Miss.|
|Jayden Wimberly||DE||6-3||220||Vilonia HS, Ark.|
|Jayson Campbell||DL||6-3||215||Arkadelphia HS, Ark.|
|Jayvien Franklin||OL||6-0||270||Russellville HS, Ark.|
|John Washburn||OL||6-0||285||Hoxie HS, Ark.|
|Jordan Edington||QB||6-2||237||Little Rock Catholic HS, Ark.|
|Jude Bartholomew||WR||6-1||200||Van Buren HS, Ark.|
|Korlin McKinney||DL||6-0||275||Conway HS, Ark.|
|Kyle Green||DE||6-1||230||Bryant HS, Ark.|
|Kyren Harrison||ATH||5-11||180||Arkadelphia HS, Ark.|
|Lorenzo Lawson||DL||6-1||250||Arkadelphia HS, Ark.|
|Mason Ross||WR||6-0||185||Rogers HS, Ark.|
|Matt Arnold||DB||6-0||180||Texas HS, Texas|
|Micah Seawood||WR||6-2||175||Springdale Har-ber HS, Ark.|
|Nakiyah Davis||WR||6-2||195||Joe T. Robinson HS, Ark.|
|Nate Burkhartzmeyer||OL||6-4||280||Broken Arrow, Okla.|
|Sam Bartis||OL||6-2||280||Sunnyvale HS, Texas|
|Sammy LeBlanc||QB||6-1||175||Teurlings Catholic HS, La.|
|Travarus Shead Jr.||ATH||6-2||210||Drew Central HS, Ark.|
|Trey White||DT||6-1||270||Evangel Christian Academy HS, La.|
|Tyler Ivy||DB||5-11||175||Benton HS, La.|
|Tyler Williams||WR||6-2||180||Metairie Park Country Day HS, La.|
|Vincent Steppes||RB||6-0||175||Warren HS, Ark.|
|Xavier Clemons||ATH||5-11||180||Morrilton HS, Ark.|
|Detavion Turner||RB||5-10||220||University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Ark.|
|Jacob Cato||OL||6-2||310||Iowa Central CC, Iowa|
|Devin Burns||DL||6-1||240||Austin Peay University, Tenn.|
January 9, 2020
BY LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
Heber Springs senior quarterback Adam Martin will not go too far away from home to play college football.
Martin, who was recently named to Class 4A all-state team, announced he will sign a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II letter of intent with Arkansas Tech.
In 2019, Martin completed 139-of-238 passes for 1,648 yards and 13 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He was the team’s second-leading rusher with 865 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Martin ran for more than 100 yards four times.
Martin became the starting quarterback for the Panthers late in 2016 as a freshman. He started the next three seasons.
Martin will join former teammate, Julian Cameron, at Arkansas Tech. Cameron, a kicker, redshirted this past season for the Wonder Boys after signing last spring.
Players may sign letters of intent with NCAA schools beginning on Feb. 5.
November 10, 2019
Who do you want to see become the next University of Arkansas coach?
- Mike Norvell, Memphis (33%, 44 Votes)
- Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic (23%, 31 Votes)
- Hugh Freeze, Liberty (8%, 10 Votes)
- Other (8%, 10 Votes)
- P.J. Fleck, Minnesota (6%, 8 Votes)
- Matt Campbell, Iowa State (6%, 8 Votes)
- Mike Leach, Washington State (5%, 7 Votes)
- Matt Rhule, Baylor (4%, 5 Votes)
- Eliah Drinkwitz, Appalachian State (3%, 4 Votes)
- Dave Clawson, Wake Forest (2%, 3 Votes)
- Luke Feckell, Cincinnati (2%, 2 Votes)
- Chris Klieman, Kansas State (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 133
Chad Morris was fired as head coach of the University of Arkansas football program one day after a disastrous 45-19 home loss to Western Kentucky.
The loss dropped the Razorbacks to 2-8 on the season and 4-18 under Morris in just under two seasons. Long-time Arkansas assistant and former player Barry Lunney Jr. has been named interim coach for the two remaining games on the schedule, a Nov. 23 date at No. 1 LSU and a game in Little Rock against Missouri on Nov. 29.
The news began circulating last night after the loss but was made official by the university this morning in an official release. No details of the buyout were included in the release.
For Razorback fans, this will be the second coaching search in as many years and the third since 2012. Arkansas is 1-21 against Southeastern Conference opponents since 2017 and with the program floundering, going 4-4 against non-Power 5 schools under Morris’ watch, the next hire will come at a pivotal time in Razorback football history.
With all of that said, many local and national pundits have already released lists of who they think Arkansas should hire, many are the same names that were bantered about two years ago when Morris was hired. The difference between that hire and this one is the man now in charge of the athletics department at the University of Arkansas — Hunter Yurachek.
So to be perfectly honest, many of these people don’t know what they are talking about, just like me. They can only make guesses and assumptions, like me.
It should noted, that one should not expect a hire until after the completion of the regular season and that many names are going to appear and disappear. Agents will use the Arkansas job to get their clients raises (and will intentionally float their client’s names), boosters will float and leak names in an effort to get momentum for someone of interest to them or to gauge the interest of the fans and out of work coaches will express interest publicly because they have nothing to lose.
With that said, the only tangible evidence that we have to go by into what Yurachek might be thinking is the two hires he has made since taking over the department – Eric Musselman for men’s basketball and Jordyn Wieber for gymnastics.
Musselman came to Arkansas from Nevada where he lead a mid-major program to success. He had previously been an assistant at LSU after years in the professional ranks where he followed his father’s footsteps into coaching at the professional level. Musselman is a high-energy guy that is detail oriented and consistently studies the game.
Wieber is young and without head coaching experience, but was hired after helping guide UCLA to a 2018 national title as a volunteer assistant. She has competed and excelled at the highest levels of her sport, winning a Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics as well as being the U.S. all-around champion in 2011 and 2012. Her name is well-known and well-respected in the gymnastics community instantly creating a buzz for the Razorback program when she was hired.
So what can we take from these hires? Obviously the basketball hire was well-followed by the fans and the media. Musselman was not near the top, nor was he on many of the lists, when the news broke that Mike Anderson had been fired last spring.
Though football is the “cash cow” for the athletic department so the parameters may vary to some degree, but with a mindset along Yurachek’s previous hires, here are a list of candidates, keeping in mind with my analysis that is nothing more than an educated (insert jokes here) guess going on the assumptions that fit that bill of previous Yurachek hires at Arkansas (high energy, competed or coached at highest levels, well-respected in profession, attention to detail).
SILLY NAMES, CROSS THEM OFF NOW
ANAYSIS: I am not going to their backgrounds, Razorback fans should already know them, so I am going to give you a list of names to scratch off now because they are not going to happen, Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino. Sure many long for the good times with those coaches, but not going to happen with either one. And just like last time, I am sure Jon Gruden will be seen in Fayetteville, but not going to happen.
SAME NAMES, PART DEUX
Seemingly the leader out of the gate this time around, Norvell has Arkansas connections having played under Clint Conque at the University of Central Arkansas and starting his coaching career at UCA. His wife is also from the state. After serving as an assistant at Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State, Norvell has led Memphis to a 34-15 and two American Athletic Conference Championships. BACKGROUND: Offensive: PROS: Young and energetic. Has Arkansas connections. Continued the success of his predecessor, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente. Reportedly has a low buyout. CONS: Hasn’t built a program from the bottom nor does he have any professional experience. There were rumors floating when his name was bantered about when Morris was hired. Could they still be out there? ANALYSIS: He could wind up in Fayetteville.
Leach was a hot name the last time around with many pundits linking him to the Arkansas job. The same this time around. Leach has a career record of 137-88, with a current record of 53-45 in Pullman. He was successful at Texas Tech becoming the school’s all-time wins leader there before controversy ended his tenure in Lubbock. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Leach has only had two losing seasons as a head coach. His first and third seasons at Washington State. Led the Cougars to 11 wins in 2018. CONS: A sub-par 2019 campaign has the Cougars in danger of not reaching a bowl game (only one win in conference). Controversy has also followed him at both stops. ANALYSIS: Too much controversy, to make him the right fit for Arkansas.
An Arkansas high school coaching legend, was linked to the job the last time around. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: SEC experience. Very well-known in Arkansas. CONS: Used the Arkansas job the last time to get a raise from Auburn. ANALYSIS: Not going to happen. His name is thrown out there because pundits need names to fill copy.
Currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic where his teams have won 11 games in 2017, 5 games in 2018 and set at 7-3 this season. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: SEC experience at a head coach at Tennessee. Head-coaching experience in the NFL. Has some experience in the state having lived in Fayetteville before the age of 5 while has dad, Monte Kiffin, was serving as defensive coordinator under Lou Holtz. CONS: Kiffin is another controversial figure. Hasn’t coach anywhere longer than four seasons. ANALYSIS: Kiffin definitely fits the criteria with NFL experience. He could end up as coach at Arkansas, but much like Leach, will the controversy will cost him a chance in the end?
It seems that Gundy’s names has been mentioned in every coach in the past decade, probably because it has. ANALYSIS: If hasn’t happened yet, don’t see that changing now.
HIRE HIM IF YOU CAN GET HIM CANDIDATE
The former Oklahoma coach, and current XFL Dallas Renegades coach. BACKGROUND: Defensive. PROS: Won a National Title at Oklahoma. Experience. CONS: Retired from Oklahoma stating he was tired of recruiting. Was linked to Florida State job earlier this week and turned it down. ANALYSIS: Stoops is mentioned because you at least make a call to see if he is interested. If he wants the job, throw the bank at him. Not going to happen though.
LOOKING FOR SECOND-CHANCE CANDIDATES
Former Arkansas State and Ole Miss head coach, currently at FBS Liberty University, 5-3 record up to this point. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Did well at Ole Miss including beating Alabama. Coached in the state. CONS: Controversy surrounded his tenure at Ole Miss. ANALYSIS: Freeze would jump at the opportunity to take the job. As with Leach and Kiffin, will the controversial past be what the program needs? He could end up on the Hill, but I don’t see it though Yuracheck was part of the committee that brought Kelvin Sampson to Houston.
Former Arizona and Michigan coach is only mentioned because he was in a national pundit’s top 5 candidates. BACKGROUND: Offensive. ANALYSIS: Going to save the space, he is only being mentioned because he would jump at the opportunity. Name floated and bait taken by pundit. Not going to happen.
The former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach appears primed to return to Rutgers. ANALYSIS: Not going to happen.
The former Louisiana Tech and California coach took over for Chad Morris at SMU. BACKGROUND: Offensive. ANALYSIS: SMU gave Dykes a second chance and he has rewarded the program nicely, I just can’t see Arkansas going back to SMU for this coaching hire.
THE PROVEN UP-AND-COMERS (SUCCEEDED A MORE THAN PROGRAM)
The current University of Minnesota and former Western Michigan coach is a hot name everywhere. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Led Western Michigan to the Cotton Bowl and 12-win season before taking over Minnesota where he has led the Gophers to an undefeated mark this season. High energy guy. Former NFL assistant coach. Checks all of the Yurachek boxes. Built programs up. Young. CONS: Just signed a contract extension with a $10 million dollar buyout. ANALYSIS: Just signed a contract extension, so if he name gets mentioned, then you would know he was a serious candidate. He should top every AD’s wish list and with that he could end up in Fayetteville if wants to end up in Fayetteville.
The current Baylor coach has remarkable turnarounds at both Baylor and Temple. BACKGROUND: Multiple. PROS: Turned a once dormant Temple program into a conference champion before taking over a Baylor program that was rocked by scandal. NFL experience. CONS: Could be waiting to take over at Penn State, which could be happening soon if rumors connecting current Penn State coach James Franklin are true. ANALYSIS: Proven to rebuild programs quickly, just what Arkansas needs. Another candidate that if he wants the job, you give it to him. I don’t think it happens because I think the dominoes will fall and ends up in Happy Valley.
Razorback fans may remember Campbell when his Toledo team came into Little Rock and downed the Razorbacks in 2015. He used that season to get the Iowa State job. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Turned around Toledo and has made Iowa State respectable. Definitely a high energy guy, runs the student section before home games. CONS: Hasn’t pushed Iowa State past the eight-win mark, but not many have. ANALYSIS: Campbell played at Division III powerhouse Mount Union, so there isn’t the lure of coaching at his alma mater. Turned down a chance to interview for the New York Jets in 2018 so seems content in the college game. If he wants the Arkansas job, would be his.
Clawson has worked his way through the college ranks and currently has Wake Forest at 7-2 and ranked this season. BACKGROUND: Offensive. PROS: Has won conference titles at Fordham, Richmond and Bowling Green. Coached one season as OC at Tennessee. Has taken Wake Forest to three consecutive bowl games. CONS: Never coached west of the Mississippi so his recruiting ties would be on the east coast. ANALYSIS: Not the splashiest as some of the other proven up-and-comers, but would be a solid hire if Arkansas were to gauge his interest.
Harsin’s name appears because he coached one season at Arkansas State before landing at Boise State, and by default gets mentioned. ANALYSIS: Harsin is from Boise, played quarterback at Boise State and seems to be at home. Yuracheck would surely listen if Harsin was interested, but just can’t see him leaving home.
Going 69-6, including four FCS National Titles, at North Dakota State got Klieman the job at Kansas State, where he has the Wildcats at 6-3. ANALYSIS: Paid his dues in the lower levels of college coaching before finally getting the opportunity at Kansas State. It would be hard to see Klieman leave after one season at the helm.
Fickell is an intriguing candidate having served as head coach at his alma mater, Ohio State, on interim basis (replacing Jim Tressell). After his one season in which the Buckeyes went 6-7, Fickell stayed on the staff at Ohio State before landing the Cincinnati job in 2017. His Bearcats went 4-8 his first season before going 11-2 in 2018 and 8-1 this season. ANALYSIS: Would be a very intriguing hire to say the least, could he be waiting for Ohio State again if Ryan Day decided to turn his attention back to the professional ranks or would he like an opportunity to prove that Buckeyes wrong? Cincinnati is a future nonconference opponent for Arkansas.
THE UNPROVEN UP-AND-COMERS
Spent one season as assistant head coach at Arkansas State before heading to Ole Miss. ANALYSIS: Has Indiana at 7-2 on the year and that is enough to garner attention, but that is coming back-to-back 5-7 campaigns. He would be reach at this point.
Drinkwitz’ name will get a lot of attention just because of his ties to the state. The former Alma Airedale played at Arkansas Tech and was a coach at Alma and Springdale before assistant coaching stops at Auburn, Arkansas State, Boise State and North Carolina State. ANALYSIS: Took over a program that was on very solid ground when Scott Satterfield left for Louisville. In his first season as head coach, he has Mountaineers at 8-1 overall, including a win over South Carolina on Saturday. With only one season for a body of work, this probably not the right time for Drinkwitz.
Clark rebuilt the UAB program from scratch and has went 31-17 at the school, including 6-3 season. The long time high school coach has been in college coaching since 2008. ANALYSIS: Though Clark has done wonders at UAB, his extensive high school background might be a tough sell with Razorback fans after the Morris saga.
The Furman graduate has his Rajin’ Cajuns at 7-2 in his second season as head coach, after a 7-7 campaign last year. ANALYSIS: Spent time as an assistant at both Clemson and Alabama, but his limited experience will turn off many fans.
This list above is just that, a list. It is like many that you see and read over the coming weeks. Names will be dropped, airplanes will be tracked and the craziness is about to ensue. Could the next coach at Arkansas not be on the list? Absolutely. A fired NFL coach could garner attention. Though I don’t think Arkansas can afford to go with an unproven assistant coach, it could be a hot shot college or pro assistant. One thing is certain, Yurachek will keep things close to his chest and odds are he is been putting together a list already. Other coaching changes will also effect things. One thing is certain, the next coach is going to have to hire a more complete staff, win the press conference with plain talk and not just Twitter hastags, and he is going to have to show a complete commitment to the program and the state. So just hang on the for the ride.
September 9, 2019
CONWAY – After incredible performance Saturday in the Warriors’ season opener versus Lyon College, sophomore defensive back Jacob Bremmon has been honored as the Southern Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week, announced by the conference office Monday afternoon.
Bremmon, a graduate of Heber Springs High School, picked off the Scots’ quarterback Isaiah Bradford in the second period Saturday and returned it 39 yards to the house. In addition to the defensive touchdown, Bremmon registered a second-best eight tackles in Hendrix’s 28-20 victory over the in-state rival Scots.
Bremmon played in 10 games last season as a true freshman, starting nine of them at safety. He recorded 26 solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles for a total of 38 tackles. He also had two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Bremmon wasn’t the only former Panther on the field on Saturday. Former Heber Springs Panther Blaze Nelson, who is playing linebacker for the Scots (1-1), played but did not record any stats during the contest.
Sitting at 1-0 on the year, Bremmon and the rest of the Warriors will head west to Seguin, Texas, to battle Texas Lutheran at 6 p.m. Saturday. Nelson and the rest of the Lyon College Scots have the weekend off before traveling to Tyler, Texas, on September 21 for an 11 a.m. contest with Texas College.
Information provided by Hendrix College Sports Information and Lyon College Sports Information
August 31, 2019
August 31, 2019
August 31, 2019
JONESBORO – A record-tying performance by Omar Bayless was not quite enough to move Arkansas State past SMU on Saturday night at Centennial Bank Stadium, as the Red Wolves (0-1) dropped a tough 37-30 decision to the Mustangs (1-0) in the season opener for both teams.
Bayless grabbed four touchdown passes from Logan Bonner, matching the school record set in 1959 by Alfred Bentley vs. Central Missouri. The clock ultimately ran out on A-State’s final drive, which was stopped at the SMU 29-yard mark.
“I really hurt for our team,” interim head coach David Duggan said. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity and I wish I could’ve done a better job getting a win for them. We talked about that adversity – that it can either define you, destroy you or strengthen you. I believe that this group was strengthened by the adversity that it overcame this past week and a half. I’m proud of their effort, I’m proud of their fight, but we just made too many first-game mistakes. You can’t do that against a good football team and think you’re going to win.”
In his first career start, Bonner completed 32 of 50 passes for 324 yards, with 265 of those yards coming in the second half. Brandon Bowling caught a career-high 12 passes to lead the Red Wolves, while Bayless hauled in 10 passes for a team-high 132 yards – both career highs.
On the opening drive, the Mustangs ventured into A-State territory, only for Darreon Jackson to pick off a Shane Buechele pass and return it 49 yards to the SMU 7-yard line. That play marked Jackson’s first career interception. The very next play, Logan Bonner fired a bullet to Omar Bayless to give A-State an early 7-0 lead.
With 8:45 left in the first, Kevin Robledo put SMU on the board with a 34-yard field goal. Through the first 15 minutes, A-State led 7-3.
Early in the second quarter, Bradley-King mauled through the Mustang offensive line, sacking Buechele and forcing a fumble, which was recovered in the end zone by left guard Alan Ali for a safety, putting the Red Wolves ahead 9-3.
SMU found the end zone for the first time when Xavier Jones scampered around the right side from nine yards out. Robledo added the extra point to give the Mustangs a 10-9 lead with 7:08 remaining in the first half.
After a pair of big Murray runs, the Mustangs regained possession on an interception by Terrance Newman at the Red Wolf 41-yard line. Robledo later added a 29-yard field goal to up the SMU lead to 13-9 with 3:53 left in the half.
A shanked punt gave the Mustangs prime field position at their own 45, which turned into three more points when Robledo knocked through his third kick of the night, this time from 25 yards to give SMU a touchdown lead at 16-9 with under 30 seconds left in the half. That score would hold as both teams went into the locker room at the half.
After talking things over in the locker room, A-State’s offense kicked it into high gear, starting with its opening drive.
Bonner connected with Bayless again on A-State’s first drive of the second half, scoring from eight yards to cap off a 6-play, 69-yard drive and knot things up at 16-all.
The Mustangs looked to return the favor, driving to the A-State 2-yard line. However, the Red Wolves defense held tough with a goal-line stand. Seven plays later, Bonner found Bayless for a third time, connecting on a 29-yard strike to give the Red Wolves a 23-16 lead.
SMU punched back with a 98-yard kickoff return by CJ Sanders, but the extra point was shanked, helping the Red Wolves cling to the 23-22 advantage. That score began a run of 15 unanswered points by the Mustangs.
After recovering a fumble on an A-State punt return, the Mustangs turned that into eight more points on the following drive, as Jones plunged forward for a one-yard score. Tyler Page completed a pass to Kylen Granson for the two-point conversion that put SMU ahead 30-23 with under a minute left in the third.
Cody Grace pinned the Mustangs back to their own 11, but Buechele led his offense on an 11-play drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock. Jones found the goal line for the third time, scoring from two yards to give SMU a two-score lead at 37-23 with 9:11 remaining. Jones rushed 18 times for 56 yards.
With under 6 minutes remaining, the Red Wolves cut the deficit in half when Bonner found Bayless for the fourth time for a 34-yard strike, matching the program’s single-game record.
SMU halted the Red Wolves’ last chance at tying up the contest, as Delontae Scott sacked Bonner at the SMU 32.
Reggie Roberson, Jr., led the Mustangs with 11 catches for a game-high 180 yards, while Buechele was 30-of-49 passing for 360 yards and one interception. Ke’Mon Freeman led SMU in rushing with 86 yards on 22 attempts.
For the Red Wolves, Cody Grace punted six times for a 41.5-yard average and a long of 55, landing three inside the 20, giving him 37 for his illustrious career.
The Red Wolves next head out west to Las Vegas, where they will face UNLV with hopes of building on last season’s 27-20 victory in Jonesboro. Kickoff is schedule for 9 p.m. (CT) from Sam Boyd Stadium with the game available on WatchStadium via Facebook. A-State returns to Jonesboro after another road contest at No. 3 Georgia (11 a.m. CT, Sept. 14), when it will host Southern Illinois at 2 p.m. at Centennial Bank Stadium.
August 31, 2019