On Sunday Jan. 5, the Arkansas State Red Wolves will play the Ball State Cardinals in the GoDaddy Bowl at 9 pm ET. This will be the Red Wolves’ third consecutive trip to Mobile, Ala. and they will be seeking their second consecutive victory.
How They Got There
Arkansas State enjoyed a 7-5 campaign that included a 5-2 record inside the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves are coming off a 34-31 loss to the WKU Hilltoppers that was played more than a month ago.
The Red Wolves experienced most of their offensive success in the running game, which was 24th in the nation with 206 yards per game. Michael Gordon, Adam Kennedy and David Oku are the main rushers. They combined for 394 carries, 1,742 yards and 20 touchdowns during the 2013 regular season.
Kennedy is the starting quarterback and had a decent season throwing the football. He had just 11 passing touchdowns, but completed 69.3 percent of his passes, good for fourth in the nation. His ability to pass and scramble was a challenge for teams all season. Despite his completion percentage, Arkansas State’s passing offense was ranked 88th in the nation with 207.2 passing yards per game, and 103rd in total passing touchdowns with 13.
The Arkansas State defense was very pedestrian in 2013. It was ranked 71st in passing yards allowed per game, 83rd in passing yards per game, and 80th in overall yards allowed per game. Against teams with winning records the Red Wolves allowed 459 yards per game, 16 total touchdowns, and were winless.
Scouting Ball State
It is important to note that Arkansas State has been susceptible against the passing game this season, which is Ball State’s strength. The Cardinals rank ninth in the FBS with 333.3 passing yards per game, 12th in passing touchdowns, and 24th with their 64.3 completion percentage.
The man behind these numbers is Keith Wenning, the senior quarterback. He has all of the Cardinals’ 34 passing touchdowns, threw for 3,933 yards, and completed 65.2 percent of his passes, which all rank inside the top 25 in the FBS.
Wenning’s favorite receiver in 2013 has been junior wideout Willie Snead, who leads Ball State with 14 receiving touchdowns. Snead has 97 receptions for 1,429 on the season.
The good news for the Red Wolves is that the Cardinals have been vulnerable to the running game. They currently are 92nd in the FBS allowing 194.75 rushing yards per game, which has been the Red Wolves’ strength all season. The defense has been middle-of-the-pack in passing department allowing 226 passing yards per game.
Player to Watch
Everyone will be quick to point out the incredible season Wenning is having, but the quarterback for the Red Wolves isn’t bad either. Kennedy can make plays happen with his arm and feet, which is something Jordan Lynch was able to do against Ball State earlier this season. If Kennedy is able to make plays, Arkansas State might not be as big of an underdog as everyone thinks.