by Chris Bahn on Thursday, Sep. 1, 2011 12:30 pm
ASU and quarterback Ryan Aplin open the season Saturday at Illinois. (Photo by Arkansas State University)
This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.
Arkansas State has never beaten a Big Ten team. The Red Wolves have twice met Illinois, their opening opponent for 2011, and been outscored 100-10.
No first-year coach at ASU has won a season opener since 1979.
But Coach Hugh Freeze wants to know what that has to do with him or his team.
Freeze, the Red Wolves offensive coordinator in a record-setting 2010, doesn't want his players focused on the program's past. He's trying to build something for the future and has asked the team to only look forward.
"I haven’t talked about the past at all," Freeze told reporters in Jonesboro earlier this week. "We’ve just [discussed] what we want to become this year. ...We haven’t spent any time talking about that.”
If there is any motivation to be drawn from the past, it stems from what Freeze was able to do with the Red Wolves' offense in 2010. ASU set a number of school records on offense with Freeze in charge and was close to breaking through. Of the team's eight losses, five were by a touchdown or less.
Below are Arkansas State’s rankings at the end of 2010: