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(Saturday, December 1)
Final Score: Arkansas State 45, Middle Tennessee 0
Jonesboro, AR (Sports Network) - Ryan Aplin threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, as the Arkansas State Red Wolves captured the Sun Belt Conference championship with a 45-0 rout over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at ASU Stadium.
Aplin displayed razor-sharp accuracy, completing 19-of-21 passes for 238 yards while adding another 64 yards on the ground. David Oku ran for 102 yards and a score on 19 carries for the Red Wolves (9-3, 7-1 SBC), winners of seven straight.
The Blue Raiders (8-4, 6-2) did not resemble the team that entered the day with a four-game winning streak and a shot at the outright league title. Logan Kilgore threw for 114 yards and was intercepted twice, as the Middle Tennessee offense finished with only 203 total yards.
ASU opened the game with a seven-play, 75-yard drive, which Aplin finished off with a four-yard touchdown run.
Oku's nine-yard touchdown run midway through the opening frame made it a 14-0 game. The TD was set up by Nathan Herrold's interception and 45-yard return down to the MTU 33-yard line.
Middle Tennessee went three-and-out on its next series, and the Red Wolves answered with a 12-play, 85-yard drive, capped by Aplin's six-yard touchdown pass to Josh Jarboe on the final play of the first quarter.
ASU kept hold of the momentum with a defensive fourth-down stand on its own 41-yard line at the 11:50 mark of the second quarter. On the very first play of the ensuing possession, Aplin found Julian Jones for a 59-yard scoring strike to put the Red Wolves on top, 28-0.
Rocky Hayes added a 12-yard rushing TD in the final minute of the half to send ASU into the locker room with a comfortable 35-0 advantage.
The Red Wolves padded their lead in the second half. A six-yard touchdown pass from Aplin to Kedric Murry made it 42-0 with 9:49 to play in the third quarter. Brian Davis tacked on a 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
Arkansas State racked up 26 first downs and 512 yards of total offense for the game. The Red Wolves converted 10-of-13 third downs and scored on all six of their trips inside the red zone, including five touchdowns.
12/01 18:58:20 ET
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