2019 NCAA Division I College Football Team Previews: Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State Red Wolves
Location: Jonesboro, AR
Coach:  David Duggan (interium) ( (39-25 @ ASU & overall) 6th season at ASU
Stadium: Centennial Bank Stadium (Capacity 30,406)

CSJ Projections:
2nd: Sun Belt (1st SB West)
1st: Arkansas
55th: FBS
16th: Group of Five
56th: Division I

2018 In a Sentence: The Red Wolves finished the second half of the schedule strongly, but a 47-43 midseason loss to Louisiana-Lafayette denied them a chance to play for the first-ever Sun Belt championship game and finished  with a 16-13 loss to Nevada in the Arizona Bowl to go 8-5 overall (5-3 SBC).

Biggest Shoes to Fill: QB Justice Hansen was the the Sun Belt player of the year each of the past two seasons.  He completed the 2018 regular season as the Sun Belt’s leader in total offense (297.3 ypg), passing yards (264.3 ypg), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202), while also ranking among the top 16 players in the nation in each category.  Hansen is also the Sun Belt’s second all-time leader in passing touchdowns (83) and ranks sixth in total offense (10,807 yards) and eighth in passing yards (9,858).

Key Players: WR Kirk Merritt (83 receptions, 1,005 yards) and WR Omar Bayless (39 receptions, 556 yards) give the Red Wolves two receiving weapons and leadership for the new Red Wolf QB junior Logan Bonner,  who seems to be the favorite to be Hansen’s successor. Bonner saw action in five games last season, throwing for 181 yards and a touchdown.

Fearless Prediction: While there is some question on the ASU offense, the defense should be one of the best in the conference once again with the amount of production returning at all three levels.  If Bonner (or another quarterback) can manage the offense at least to some efficiency, the Red Wolves should see itself this year in the Sun Belt Championship game.  In the fall camp, Coach Blake Anderson lost his wife to breast cancer and has taken a leave of absence.   Assistant Head Coach and defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve as the interim head coach while Anderson is out.

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