0-10 , 0-7
4-7 , 2-6
Game Recap: Football | 12/5/2020 5:54:00 PM
JONESBORO, Ark. (12/5/20) – In his first career start, Arkansas State wide receiver Corey Rucker made quite the splash.
The Yazoo City, Miss., native made the most of his opportunity, grabbing nine passes for an A-State single-game record 310 yards and four touchdowns as the Red Wolves (4-7, 2-6 Sun Belt Conference) knocked off ULM (0-10, 0-7) 48-15 on Saturday night at Centennial Bank Stadium. A-State’s win over the Warhawks snapped a five-game losing streak while marking the 11th straight victory in the series versus ULM.
Rucker’s yardage shattered Lennie Johnson’s 23-year old school record and also set an NCAA single-game record for receiving yards by a freshman. His total is the most by an FBS player since 2016 and is second-most in a single-game in Sun Belt Conference history.
“To see smiles on these guys’ faces and to see guys get opportunities that they haven’t gotten this season, some getting their first opportunities, and make the most of it, it just fills your heart,” head coach Blake Anderson said. “I’m excited for them and it feels great to get a win. I’m really proud of them and now we’re moving on to next week and see if we can do it again. We knew what (Rucker) was capable of, but I don’t think anybody saw coming what he did today.”
A-State outgained ULM 589-323 and held the Warhawks to just 213 yards passing and 1 of 13 on third down. The Red Wolves, on the other hand, converted 10 of their 16 third-down opportunities and averaged 9.2 yards per play. A-State’s defense also accounted for four sacks on the day.
Layne Hatcher completed 11 of 14 passes for 326 yards and five scores in the victory, as A-State quarterbacks combined to go 17 of 31 for 511 yards and six touchdowns. The 511 passing yards is No. 2 in school history for passing yards in a single game. Logan Bonner completed six of 17 attempts for 185 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Foreman was also a factor in the Red Wolves’ air attack with 144 yards on four catches with two scores.
Jeremy Hunt connected on 20 of 34 passes for 203 yards and a score to lead ULM’s offense that totaled 323 yards of offense. Malik Jackson was the team’s top receiver with 57 yards on five catches and a score. Josh Johnson led the Warhawks’ rushing attack with 51 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.
A-State struck first on its first drive of the day after forcing a ULM 3-and-out to open the contest, with Bonner finding Rucker for a 55-yard touchdown pass. The Warhawks then evened it up on the next drive when Johnson found the end zone on a four-yard rush up the middle.
Rucker found the end zone again at the 5:22 mark in the first, this time on a 30-yard pass from Hatcher to put A-State up 14-7. The score capped off an eight-play, 98-yard drive after the Red Wolves started on their own 2. The first quarter ended with A-State driving inside the ULM 15, leading 14-7.
The Red Wolves took a 21-7 lead early in the second when Hatcher found Foreman for a 15-yard touchdown strike. Hatcher and Foreman reconnected with 6:21 left in the half to expand A-State’s lead to 28-7. The Scarlet and Black took that lead into the locker room at halftime.
Hatcher found Rucker on the third play of the second half for a 66-yard touchdown pass, giving A-State a 35-7 lead less than a minute into the third quarter. The Warhawks picked up a safety when an intentional grounding penalty occurred in the end zone, making it 35-9 with 10:29 to go in the third. ULM then made it 35-15 when Hunt completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Jackson and a failed two-point conversion try.
Early in the fourth, A-State’s lead grew to 38-15 when Blake Grupe drilled a 41-yard field goal. After KaRon Coleman blocked a punt to give the Red Wolves possession at the ULM 31, Hatcher found Rucker for a 31-yard strike to make it 45-15. That score was Rucker’s fourth of the day, tying the A-State single-game receiving touchdown record set in 2019 by Omar Bayless. Grupe then knocked through a 42-yard field goal with 7:12 to go to make it 48-15 and cap off the day’s scoring.
A-State concludes the 2020 regular season on Saturday, Dec. 12, hosting Incarnate Word at 2 p.m. on ESPN3. Every Red Wolves football game can be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Northeast Arkansas area. The live radio broadcast can also be accessed on the official A-State Athletics web site (AStateRedWolves.com).
Original article source: https://astateredwolves.com/news/2020/12/5/football-rucker-notches-record-day-as-a-state-rolls-ulm.aspx | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council