Sep 18, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris (9) throws a pass against the Arkansas State Red Wolves during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Washington routs Arkansas St. for first win of season

Dylan Morris threw for a career-high 367 yards and three touchdowns as Washington earned its first victory of the season, defeating Arkansas State 52-3 on a rainy Saturday afternoon in Seattle.

The Red Wolves (1-2), who entered the game fourth nationally with 596.5 yards of total offense per game, were limited to just 268 while UW amassed 598.

The Huskies (1-2), upset by Montana of the Football Championship Subdivision in their home opener before a loss last week at Michigan, went three-and-out on their first possession. But the Huskies scored touchdowns on their next four drives — all 70 yards or longer — to take a 28-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Washington got a boost from two players making their season debuts — wide receiver Jalen McMillan and running back Sean McGrew. McMillan, who suffered a hand injury midway through fall camp, had 10 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown. McGrew, a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate, hadn’t played in the first two games but rushed for two scores.

Morris hit tight end Cade Otton with a 13-yard pass to open the scoring.

After Arkansas State missed a short field-goal attempt, McGrew scored on a 13-yard run.

Richard Newton Jr., who led the Huskies with 52 yards rushing on 10 attempts, scored on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter.

McMillan caught a 33-yard scoring strike from Morris with 10 minutes left in the half.

McGrew scored on a 2-yard run with 4:37 left in the third quarter to make it 35-0 before the Red Wolves finally got on the board on Blake Grupe’s 26-yard field goal.

Terrell Bynum caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Morris with 13:59 remaining to make it 42-3.

Huskies backup quarterback Sam Huard led a 72-yard drive to set up Peyton Henry’s 38-yard field goal with 8:05 left.

UW linebacker Bralen Trice returned a fumble 72 yards for a touchdown with 3:34 to go.

Arkansas State’s James Blackman completed 16 of 38 passes for 176 yards. Backup Layne Hatcher entered in the fourth quarter and was 6 of 11 for 44 yards.

The Red Wolves’ Lincoln Pare made seven catches for 69 yards. Johnnie Lang was their leading rusher with 18 yards on six carries.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake returns to the locker room following pregame warmups against the Montana Grizzlies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Washington looks to avoid 0-3 start against Arkansas State

The “good mojo” Washington coach Jimmy Lake felt after spring ball and fall camp is gone.

The word he used most often in his Monday news conference was “unacceptable.”

The Huskies (0-2, 0-0 Pac-12) have dropped their first two games of the season for the first time since their winless 2008 campaign.

They’ll try to get back on track Saturday afternoon when they play host to Arkansas State (1-1) in Seattle.

“So the positive thing is we have lots of football left to play. Our players are in good spirits. They know we haven’t played our best football,” Lake said. “We know there is a lot of room for improvement, but the improvement needs to happen now. All the work we’ve been doing needs to show up with the results on game day.”

The Huskies opened the season at home with a stunning 13-7 loss to FCS member Montana before suffering a 31-10 defeat last Saturday at Michigan.

Despite scoring just 17 points through two games, and going 20 series between its two offensive touchdowns, Washington opened as a 16 1/2-point favorite against the Red Wolves.

Arkansas State, under new coach Butch Jones, defeated Central Arkansas 40-21 in its opener before nearly rallying in a 55-50 loss to Memphis last week, a late Hail Mary pass falling incomplete in the end zone.

“I’m really proud of our players. They had every opportunity to get out of the game and they kept fighting,” Jones said. “There are no moral victories, but I thought there were things to build upon.”

Arkansas State quarterbacks Layne Hatcher and James Blackman combined to complete 42 of 66 passes for a school-record 582 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions last weekend.

The Huskies are allowing the fewest passing yards per game in the country (74.5). But they gave up 343 yards rushing to the Wolverines, who built a 10-0 halftime lead and never felt the need to put the ball in the air.

“If we’re not scoring any points and they can keep handing the ball off … you’re going to get the result we just got put on us,” Lake said. “So that’s what we’ve got to figure out and make sure we get a different result this Saturday.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Tigers defensive back Rodney Owens (30) and defensive back Jacobi Francis (1) celebrate during the first half against the Nicholls State Colonels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis, Arkansas State look to build on opening victories

Memphis again will turn to freshman quarterback Seth Henigan when it visits Arkansas State in a nonconference game on Saturday in Jonesboro, Ark.

Henigan stood out in his debut during a season-opening 42-17 win for Memphis (1-0, 0-0 American) over Nicholls State last Saturday, as he went 19-of-32 passing for 265 yards and a touchdown and led the Tigers on nine scoring drives without a punt. Henigan started in place of Grant Gunnell, who was out with a lower body injury and will be sidelined for the “foreseeable future,” according to Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield.

“He’s so calm, cool and collected — that’s just his nature,” Silverfield told reporters of Henigan. “He’s capable and just seeing him out there he’s never too high or never too low.”

The loss of Gunnell, who threw for 625 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions for Arizona last season before transferring to Memphis this past December, thrust Henigan into the starting lineup just days before facing the Colonels.

The Tigers defeated the Red Wolves, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, 37-24 last season in Memphis. Arkansas State led 14-7 early in the second quarter before Memphis scored 30 of the next 33 points to put the game away.

Arkansas State (1-0) will be playing its second game under new head coach Butch Jones, the former coach at Tennessee. Against Central Arkansas on Saturday, the Red Wolves got off to a slow start before outscoring the Bears 34-14 in the second half en route to a 40-21 win.

The Red Wolves implemented a two-quarterback system that featured James Blackman and Layne Hatcher. Blackman, a transfer from Florida State, went 16-for-26 passing for 169 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions before exiting late in the third quarter. Hatcher came in and completed all 12 of his passing attempts and finished with 150 yards and four touchdowns.

Receiver Corey Rucker had nine catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns, and Alan Lamar rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

“We talked about the DNA of our football team and the ability to persevere,” Jones said. “We definitely didn’t play winning football and have a lot to learn from, but we came out in the second half and finally played complementary football. I said I’d learn a lot about this team tonight, and we have a lot of things to work on to get better. We know, with the schedule coming up, that we have to get better in a hurry.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2018; Knoxville, TN, USA; Former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones on the sidelines as the Alabama Crimson Tide play at Neyland Stadium. Alabama defeated the Vols 58-21. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Butch Jones named coach at Arkansas State

Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones was named head coach at Arkansas State on Saturday night.

Jones replaced Blake Anderson, who left to become the new coach at Utah State, a move that was also made official Saturday night.

Jones, 52, joins Arkansas State after spending three seasons as a special assistant and offensive analyst to Nick Saban at No. 1 Alabama. Jones previously led Central Michigan and Cincinnati prior to his stint as the Volunteers head coach.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be the head football coach at Arkansas State University,” Jones said in a statement. “It is a position that I take great pride in, and I look forward to connecting with our student-athletes to build upon the strong tradition of excellence both on and off the field of play.”

Arkansas State said it will host an introductory press conference at a later date.

“Butch Jones’ outstanding record of success at both the G5 and P5 levels is evident, and we’re excited to have him leading our football program into the future,” Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. “Our candidate pool was fantastic, but following extensive and positive conversations with Butch, while also looking at his winning history, coaching and leadership abilities and vision for our program, we became confident he was the clear choice to be our next head coach.”

Jones brings an 84-54 record over 11 seasons into Jonesboro, Ark. He went 27-13 at Central Michigan (2007-09), 23-14 at Cincinnati (2010-12) before amassing a 34-27 record (14-24 SEC) at Tennessee before getting fired after 10 games in the 2017 season.

He led his teams to eight bowl games in 11 seasons. Jones led the Bearcats to a Big East conference championship in 2011.

Anderson went 51-37 in seven seasons at Arkansas State with two Sun Belt championships. Reports came out Thursday that he was leaving for Utah State.

–Field Level Media

Sep 5, 2020; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Blake Anderson during the second half against the Memphis Tigers  at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Anderson departs Arkansas State, set to become Utah State coach

Blake Anderson is leaving Arkansas State to become the coach at Utah State, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Arkansas State confirmed Anderson’s departure and named offensive coordinator Keith Heckendorf interim coach.

Anderson had a 51-37 record in seven seasons at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves made bowl games in his first six seasons before going 4-7 this year.

“We appreciate Coach Anderson’s contributions to our program,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. “He is the only head coach in our FBS history to win two conference championships, and he played for a third while also leading us to six bowl games. We wish him the best moving forward.”

Anderson will be taking over a Utah State program that is just 1-5 entering Saturday’s season-ending contest at Colorado State.

The Aggies fired coach Gary Andersen in early November after three losses by a combined 114-29. Frank Maile is 1-2 as interim coach.

Anderson was reportedly looking for a fresh start as he continues to attempt to move on emotionally following the death of his wife, Wendy, in August of 2019 after a battle with breast cancer. Wendy Anderson was 49.

Wendy Anderson’s fight became national news. The Red Wolves played at Georgia a few weeks later and the fans turned the stadium into a memorial for her with people sporting pink instead of the usual Bulldogs’ red.

Mohajir said Arkansas State will conduct a national search to identify a new coach.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; West Point, New York, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks wide receiver Malik Jackson (2) catches a touchdown pass over Army Black Knights defensive back Malkelm Morrison (2) during the second quarter at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas State postponed due to COVID-19

The Saturday game between Louisiana-Monroe and host Arkansas State was postponed Tuesday due to COVID-19 concerns within the ULM program.

The contest between the two Sun Belt Conference programs was rescheduled for Dec. 12.

The game was postponed after Louisiana-Monroe contacted Arkansas State and the Sun Belt to say it was unable to play on Saturday.

“Out of an abundance of caution along with following the CDC and Sun Belt Conference protocols, a recent round of positive COVID tests within the ULM football program combined with contact tracing have led to the postponement of Saturday’s game at Arkansas State,” Louisiana-Monroe athletic director Scott McDonald said in a statement. “Our No. 1 priority remains fostering a safe campus environment for our student-athletes, coaches and administrators, and it became apparent that the team wouldn’t be able to safely resume practice in time to prepare for Saturday’s game.”

This is the second COVID-19 outbreak in the Warhawks’ program this season. The first led to the scheduled Sept. 5 season opener against Troy to be rescheduled for Dec. 5.

Louisiana-Monroe (0-8, 0-5 Sun Belt) is next scheduled to play on Nov. 21 against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La. Arkansas State (3-5, 1-4) is slated to visit Texas State on Nov. 21.

Red Wolves athletic director Terry Mohajir said he understood the situation.

“Our football team was excited to be back home in front of our fans this week,” Mohajir said in a statement. “We certainly understand these tough outcomes due to COVID-19.”

Arkansas State had to pull out of games with Central Arkansas on Sept. 19 and Tulsa on Sept. 26 due to its own outbreak. The Red Wolves beat the Bears 50-27 in a makeup game on Oct. 10, but the Golden Hurricane game has yet to be rescheduled.

–Field Level Media

Sep 5, 2020; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Blake Anderson during the second half against the Memphis Tigers  at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State coach Anderson recovered from virus

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson revealed he was among the members of his program to contract the coronavirus.

He said Monday he tested positive on Sept. 16, four days after his Red Wolves upset Kansas State 35-31 despite being without 10 starters and 20 players in all for the game.

“I got sick within a couple days, started having symptoms,” he said, adding he ran a fever for 10 days.

Arkansas State’s following two games on the schedule — Sept. 19 against Central Arkansas and Sept. 26 against Tulsa — were postponed. The Red Wolves (1-1) are set to return to the field on Saturday in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at Coastal Carolina (2-0).

Anderson became the second college football coach, following Florida State’s Mike Norvell, to disclose a positive COVID-19 test.

“Let’s just say it’s been a challenge. We have dealt with COVID and the reality of it as well as I think you can. We knew there was a risk when we got back to playing, and everybody chose to be here for the potential that we could have some guys both on and off the field that would catch it. And we did,” he said.

He said his players, now past the virus, are ready for Coastal Carolina.

“I do feel like we’re coming over the hurdle, and starting to look like ourselves. And you could tell the kids are real excited about the opportunity to play.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves running back Lincoln Pare (22) follows the block of wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. (9) during a game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State lacks depth, can’t play Tulsa

Arkansas State and Tulsa won’t play Saturday as scheduled because the Red Wolves are shorthanded at one unspecified position group.

The Red Wolves are continuing a battle with COVID-19.

“We are postponing our game against Tulsa because the amount of unavailable players at one specific position group doesn’t allow for us to safely play the game,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said Wednesday in a news release. “This is a result of a combination of positive tests on Monday and other players still displaying symptoms, as well as having time to safely reacclimate prior to the game.

“This decision is based on the ability to safely field a two-deep at the position group rather than the total number of players unavailable. We are taking all precautions as our student health and safety remains our first and foremost priority.”

Arkansas State has played two games on the 2020 season — a loss to Memphis on Sept. 5 and a win over Kansas State on Sept. 12. A Sept. 19 game against Central Arkansas was also postponed.

Tulsa is 0-1 after a loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, but games against Toledo and Northwestern State were canceled.

That Tulsa-Oklahoma State contest was moved from Sept. 12 as the Golden Hurricane got back on track after a coronavirus-related interruption.

The news release said the two schools would attempt to reschedule the game, which was set for Jonesboro, Ark.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves running back Lincoln Pare (22) follows the block of wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. (9) during a game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State postpones game vs. Central Arkansas

Arkansas State has postponed Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas due a dearth of players at a particular position group, the school announced Tuesday.

The game has been rescheduled for Oct. 10. Arkansas State was without nine starters this past Saturday in its upset of Kansas State due to injuries and players affected by COVID-19.

“It was not the volume of total players unavailable, but rather the inability to field a safe number of players among the depleted position group that required the game be rescheduled,” the school said in a release.

“We are obviously disappointed for the student-athletes participating from both schools, as well as both coaching staffs and fan bases,” Arkansas State AD Terry Mohajir said in the statement. “While no one wanted this outcome, the health and safety of our student-athletes will always come first.”

Arkansas State (1-1) will play its Sept. 26 game at home against Tulsa as scheduled, Mohajir said.

Central Arkansas (1-1), originally scheduled to play Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 10, will now play the Colonels on Oct. 24.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; With less than an hour before kick-off, only a handful of fans are in the state before the start of a game between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Due to COVID restrictions, approximately 12,000 fans will be allowed into the stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State comes from behind, stuns Kansas State

Jonathan Adams caught three touchdown passes, including a 17-yarder with 38 seconds left as Arkansas State upset Kansas State 35-31 in a nonconference game in Manhattan, Kan., on Saturday.

Kansas State, which had taken a 31-28 lead when Blake Lynch converted a 35-yard field goal with 2:30 left, reached the Arkansas State 40 with three seconds left after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following an incomplete deep pass. Skylar Thompson fired incomplete over the middle on the final play as the Wildcats dropped their season opener.

Adams caught eight passes for 98 yards, with two of his touchdown receptions coming off passes from starter Logan Bonner, who completed 17 of 28 attempts for 204 yards with two scores and an interception. Layne Hatcher, who came into the game every third series, was 6 of 8 for 61 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning score.

The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State (1-1) lost its opener at Memphis but mostly dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage Saturday, outgaining the Big 12’s Wildcats 489 to 374.

Thompson completed 17 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns.

The Red Wolves trailed 21-7 in the second quarter before scoring 21 unanswered points. Arkansas State converted fourth-and-5 from the Kansas State 34 on its go-ahead drive, drawing a pass interference penalty on a fake punt. The Red Wolves went on to take a 28-21 lead on a 5-yard pass to Adams, who cradled the ball with one hand as he fell to the turf with 11:49 left in the game.

The Wildcats tied the game at 28 on the next possession, with the help of a roughing-the-passer penalty on second-and-33, and a fourth-and-2 conversion from their 45. They completed a 10-play drive with Harry Trotter’s 5-yard run to tie the game at 28 at the 6:35 mark.

Defensive back Will Jones II was a force for Kansas State early, blocking a punt and intercepting a pass in the first quarter, with both leading to touchdowns.

Kansas State led 21-7 but the Red Wolves stayed close with the help of a trick play, as wideout Jeff Foreman caught a backward pass and fired deep to a wide-open Rashauud Paul for a 48-yard score to close within 21-14 at the 6:50 mark of the second quarter.

–Field Level Media