Ranking The Red Wolves: Freezes Sees Room For Improvement With 20th-Ranked Offense

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Sep. 29, 2011 10:30 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas State is in some pretty rare company offensively. Only four other teams have twice posted 600 or more yards of offense in a single game this season.

Scan the list of national leaders and the Red Wolves (2-2) are a more-than-respectable 20th in total offense. They’re averaging 469 yards per game and lead the Sun Belt in that category, plus rushing offense and pass efficiency.

Don’t forget ASU was recently 10 for 10 in the red zone against UCA. That 100-percent conversion rate would be well received in a lot of locker rooms.

But the Red Wolves are capable of more. That’s Hugh Freeze’s message to his offense. Freeze would especially like to see them cut down on turnovers and self-inflicted mistakes.

Field goals accounted for six of the 10 scoring trips inside the 20, after all.

“We turned the ball over three times and put ourselves in a hole,” Freeze said of last week’s game. He added, “Offensively, I don’t like where we are in the turnover margin right now. We’ve got to quit turning the ball over and we’ve got to complete some drives.”

ASU will look to fix its issues in the red zone on Saturday against Western Kentucky (0-3). Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. in Bowling Green.

A victory against the Hilltoppers would give ASU its best start through five games since 2008. Winning will require the Red Wolves to take better care of the football. They’ll also need to continue their solid defensive play against the run.

ASU hasn’t allowed an individual player over 100 yards this year. WKU’s Bobby Rainey has eight consecutive 100-plus yard games dating back to 2010.

Western Kentucky escaped Jonesboro with a 36-35 overtime victory against the Red Wolves in 2010. It was one of five ASU games decided by a touchdown or less last season.

That’s not something Freeze will address with his team. ASU gave up a 28-21 lead in the final 40 seconds and WKU won the game on a two-point conversion in overtime.

“You won’t hear me talk about it with our team,” Freeze said. “A lot of people will talk about it. But last year is last year – we can’t do anything about it. We’ve got to take care of ourselves this year. So we won’t talk about it a lot.”



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