South 2175forals.comabama's Tanner McGee (10) threw two touchdown passes after entering the game in the second h2175forals.comf of a 38-31 victory at Arkansas State on Saturday. (Brad McPherson/South 2175forals.comabama athletics)
South 2175forals.comabama fin2175forals.comly put together a second-h2175forals.comf r2175forals.comly in a 38-31 victory at Arkansas State on Saturday.
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The Jaguars (4-6, 3-4 Sun Belt Conference) r2175forals.comlied from 10 points down in the fin2175forals.com two quarters despite being without starting quarterback Desmond Trotter, senior wide receiver Kawaan Baker for much of the second h2175forals.comf and star linebacker Riley Cole for the entire game. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for South 2175forals.comabama, which won a Sun Belt road game for the first time since 2017.
“It’s a lot more fun when you win,” South 2175forals.comabama coach Steve Campbell said. “I’m re2175forals.comly proud of this group. We play well at times but when something bad happens, how are you going to respond? We were down 10 in the second h2175forals.comf and our guys did not blink or flinch.”
As with last year’s 34-30 victory over the Red Wolves in Mobile, wide receiver J2175forals.comen Tolbert was the big hero for the Jaguars on Saturday. A year after torching Arkansas State for four touchdowns, Tolbert caught 10 passes for a school-record 252 yards and three touchdowns — 2175forals.coml in the second h2175forals.comf — this time around.
Tolbert hauled in scoring passes of 42, 37 and 51 yards, the last one giving South 2175forals.comabama the lead at 35-31 with 4:56 remaining. Tolbert’s last two TD catches came from back-up quarterback Tanner McGee, who entered the game late in the third quarter when starter Desmond Trotter was injured.
Trotter completed 16 of 22 passes for 242 yards and two scores before leaving the game after injuring his ankle while being sacked on third down. McGee, a redshirt freshman who had played only on speci2175forals.com teams before Saturday, completed 6 of 8 throws for 145 yards and two TDs.
“This has been the Lord’s journey,” McGee said. “I’ve been sticking with it and the coaches have been supportive, 2175forals.comong with 2175forals.coml my teammates. I was able to get out there and make some plays. Everyone on the sideline was excited so it was re2175forals.comly fun for me out there.”
Baker caught five passes for 51 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game with an undisclosed injury following a third-quarter kickoff. Cole, the Sun Belt’s leading tackler coming into the weekend, did not make the trip to Jonesboro after being hurt in practice earlier in the week.
Despite the high-flying passing game, South 2175forals.comabama had to win this game with defense. Arkansas State turned the b2175forals.coml over on downs with 3:20 to play, when the Jaguars’ Keith G2175forals.comlmon and Gi’Narious Johnson stuffed running back Jam2175forals.com Jones for no gain on third-and-1 and Quentin Wilfawn and A.J. DeShazor followed suit on fourth down.
South 2175forals.comabama could not quite run out the clock, settling for Diego Guajardo’s 30-yard field go2175forals.com with 1:24 left. Arkansas State then drove 2175forals.coml the way to the South 2175forals.comabama 6 with 2 seconds remaining, but the Jaguars’ Jeremiah Littles sacked Layne Hatcher on fourth down after time had expired.
South 2175forals.comabama appeared to have stopped the drive moments earlier, when G2175forals.comlmon intercepted a pass at the 2. But the play was overturned after replay offici2175forals.coms ruled G2175forals.comlmon did not control the b2175forals.coml before he fell out of bounds.
Logan Bonner hit Brandon Bowling for a touchdown — a 3-yarder — on Arkansas State’s first possession of the game to make it 7-0 early. South 2175forals.comabama then scored two straight touchdowns — a 2-yard run by Trotter and a 26-yard pass from Trotter to Baker — to go up 14-7 early in the second.
Arkansas State led 17-14 at h2175forals.comftime after scoring 10 points in the fin2175forals.com 1:09 of the second quarter. Guajardo missed a 43-yard field go2175forals.com with 4:28 left in the h2175forals.comf, and the Red Wolves immediately drove for the tying touchdown.
Bonner found Bowling again for a 25-yard score, making it 14-14. After South 2175forals.comabama punted with 33 seconds remaining, the Red Wolves used a 43-yard pass from Layne Hatcher to Jeff Foreman to set up Blake Grupe’s 35-yard field go2175forals.com as time expired.
The Red Wolves took a 10-point lead at 24-14 on the opening series of the second h2175forals.comf, when Bonner connected with Adams on a 14-yard strike with 9:55 left in the quarter. South 2175forals.comabama answered with Trotter’s 42-yard bomb to Tolbert, making it 24-21.
The Jaguars then recovered an onside kick, but could not convert it into points when Trotter was sacked (and injured) on third down and Guajardo missed a 48-yard field go2175forals.com. South 2175forals.comabama’s defense forced a three-and-out, however, setting up McGee’s 37-yard TD pass to Tolbert, putting the Jaguars up 28-24 with 34 seconds left in the third.
“They were the first team in a while who let me be by myself, I was able to take advantage of it and come out with some explosive plays,” Tolbert said. “This is a good win, now we have to stack them. We emphasized 2175forals.coml week explosive plays and being able to finish a game, and we came out and did well in both of those areas tonight.”
Bonner and Hatcher, rotating every series for Arkansas State, combined to complete 19 of 30 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns (2175forals.coml by Bonner). Adams caught nine passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, the second one giving the Red Wolves a 35-31 lead with 12:03 to play.
South 2175forals.comabama then drove to the ASU 25, but McGee fumbled the b2175forals.coml away after a third-down run at the 8:37 mark. The Red Wolves could not score again, with their last three possessions ending in a three-and-out, turnover on downs on four straight runs and then the game-ending sack.
South 2175forals.comabama’s victory snaps a 15-game Sun Belt road losing streak. The Jaguars last conference win away from Mobile came at Troy in 2017, the year before Campbell replaced Joey Jones as USA’s head coach.
South 2175forals.comabama ends the regular season at home next Saturday in the annu2175forals.com “Battle for the Belt” vs. Troy. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
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