MONROE, La. — The Arkansas State special teams units blocked two kicks, while senior quarterback Adam Kennedy posted 337 yards total offense and running back Michael Gordon recorded a career-best four touchdowns to help lead the Red Wolves past Louisiana-Monroe 42-14 in a Sun Belt Conference matchup Saturday at Malone Stadium.
With the victory, A-State (5-4, 3-1 Sun Belt) moved into sole possession of second place in the league standings.
Kennedy finished the night with a season-high in rushing yards (102) and touchdown rushes (2). He also added 235 yards passing with a touchdown. Both of Kennedy’s rushing touchdowns came after the result of a block by the A-State special teams unit.
The first block came with 3:58 to go in the third quarter when Ryan Carrethers got his hands on a 39-yard field goal attempt by Justin Manton. Artez Brown returned it to the ASU 44 and the offense did not waste the opportunity.
Kennedy led the Red Wolves on a five-play, 56-yard drive the culminated with an eight-yard touchdown run from Kennedy to push the lead to 28-14 with 1:40 to go in the third quarter.
Arkansas State added a punt block in the fourth quarter when LaAngelo Albright blocked and recovered Manton’s punt from inside the ULM 10-yard line. Kennedy again made the Warhawks pay by punching it in two plays later from 4 yards out to extend the lead to 35-14 with 9:26 to play in the game.
The final dagger came with 4:40 to play in the fourth quarter when Michael Gordon scored his third rushing touchdown of the night to put A-State up 42-14. The score was set up by a Brown interception with 9:13 to go and the Red Wolves went on a 10-play, 4:33 drive that was capped with Gordon’s touchdown.
Senior kicker Brian Davis added the extra-point and in the process tied the Sun Belt Conference record for most points by kicking with 295.
For the second straight week, the Red Wolves took advantage of a Sterling Young third-quarter interception. The junior safety intercepted Kolton Browning and returned it to the ULM 36 yard line to setup the go-ahead score by Michael Gordon.
J.D. McKissic set up the score for Gordon by taking a reverse rush 15 yards down to the ULM 1 yard line and Gordon scored on the next play to give A-State a 21-14 edge with 8:00 to go in the third quarter.
Gordon finished the night with 72 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns while also hauling in two passes for 59 yards and a score.
A-State started its scoring on the night by constructing a 91-yard scoring drive near the end of the first quarter that was highlighted by a 51-yard touchdown pass to Gordon and put the Red Wolves up 7-0 with 49 seconds to go in the quarter. It was Gordon’s first touchdown reception of his career and Kennedy’s first touchdown pass since Oct. 12 against Idaho.
The lead would not last as the Warhawks needed just two plays to answer the score when Browning connected with Rashon Ceaser on the final play of the first quarter to tie the score at 7-7.
The scoring continued on the following possession when McKissic returned the kickoff 50 yards to give the Red Wolves’ offense a short field. A-State reached deep into its playbook of the first play, executing a reverse double-pass from Kennedy to Jones for a 49-yard gain to put the ball on the ULM 1 yard line. Gordon punched it on the next play and the Red Wolves took a 14-7 lead with over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.
The pass to Jones began with Fredi Knighten lining up in the quarterback position and handing the ball off to McKissic, who then lateraled the ball to Kennedy, who then passed it to Jones for the big gain.
ULM tied the game before halftime thanks to a 10-play, 90-yard drive that was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass by Browning to Ceaser with 8 seconds remaining in the first half.
A-State finished the night with 494 yards of total offense, 259 of which came via the ground game. McKissic led the Red Wolves with seven catches for 75 yards while Qushaun Lee led the squad with seven tackles.
Arkansas State will return to the field next Saturday for a home matchup with SBC newcomer Texas State. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.