Troy (3-8) at Arkansas State (9-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 3rd, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: ASU Stadium (30,964) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: Sun Belt Network. Home Record: Troy 3-2, ASU 5-0. Away Record: Troy 0-6, ASU 4-2. Neutral Record: Troy 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: Troy 2-5, ASU 7-0. Series Record: Series tied, 5-5.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves look to close out their regular season with an exclamation point as they host the Troy Trojans at ASU Stadium.
Troy has had a disappointing season as it sits at 3-8 heading into its finale with ASU. The Trojans have lost six of their last seven outings, including a 41-18 bashing by Western Kentucky last week. Troy is usually a contender for the Sun Belt Conference championship every season, it has been a reversal of roles as ASU has assumed sole possession of the top spot this season.
The Red Wolves have not lost since week three and are currently riding a nine- game winning streak into their season finale. ASU accepted a bid to play in the GoDaddy.com Bowl after clinching the conference title last week with its win over Middle Tennessee. ASU's 7-0 conference record provided its first trip to a bowl since 2005. A win against Troy would provide an outright hold of the conference championship, as Western Kentucky finished with a 7-1 record in conference play.
The all-time series between ASU and Troy is tied 5-5. The Trojans won the 2010 meeting 35-25 in Troy.
Troy's sophomore quarterback Corey Robinson still has a lot of upside despite the down year record wise. Troy has the best passing attack in the conference behind Robinson's arm. In his last outing, Robinson eclipsed the 3000-yard mark for the second-straight season. The sophomore proved in high school that he was a special player as he set the high school single season record with 91 touchdown passes. Troy is hoping he can find that pre-collegiate magic for their finale with the champs.
Eric Thomas has been the main target of Robinson this season. Thomas has 791 yards and nine touchdowns going into the finale. In his last two outings, the sophomore wide out has 210 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches.
With the pass-heavy attack and tendency to fall behind, the Trojans rarely run the ball. Troy is ranked 116th in the nation in rushing with just 91.1 yards per game.
The Trojans' defensive unit has struggled this season. Troy is ranked 113th in the nation in total defense with an average of 462.8 yards of total offense allowed per game and 98th in scoring defense with 32.6 points per game. Last week Western Kentucky proved the rankings correct as it ran for 338 yards and passed for 156 more on its way to 41 points.
Troy's Brynden Trawick leads the conference in tackles with 110. Jonathan Massaquoi is ranked sixth in the conference with 5.5 sacks this season.
ASU's dominance of the Sun Belt goes beyond its record. The Red Wolves are ranked first in total offense and total defense. ASU has a game breaker at quarterback as Ryan Aplin leads the conference in total offense.
Aplin is a very versatile athlete as he also leads the team in rushing. He has thrown for 2879 yards and rushed for 570 more in 2011. Aplin has 25 total touchdowns on the season.
Dwayne Frampton and Josh Jarboe have made life easier for Aplin. Frampton is the conference's top receiver with 972 yards and five touchdowns on 80 catches. Jarboe is ranked sixth in the conference in receiving with 650 yards and two touchdowns on 48 catches. The combo of Jarboe and Frampton has given opposing defensive coordinators more questions than answers this year.
ASU's defense has not allowed anything easy all season. Since its opener against Illinois, no team has scored more than 30 points against the defensive unit. The Red Wolves are an aggressive bunch as they are ranked 15th in the nation in sacks per game and 11th in the nation in tackles per game.
The defense is full of talented game changers. Brandon Joiner is ranked fifth in the nation and first in the conference in total sacks with 11 this season. Darryl Feemster and Kelcie McCray are tied for the conference's interceptions lead with four each.
ASU has already clinched the conference championship and already knows its fate for the postseason. Troy might be able to surprise the Red Wolves if Robinson brings his A-game. The Trojans will be looking to spoil ASU's perfect conference record as they play for pride.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 27, Troy 21
11/30 11:38:26 ET