ASU looks to stay in the SBC title hunt

The Sports Xchange

October 31, 2012 at 1:35 am.

Gus Malzahn has his team focused on winning the Sun Belt title. (Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE)

Arkansas State is one victory away from being bowl eligible for the fifth time in the last eight seasons.

Winners in four of its last five games, ASU moved its overall record to 5-3 and Sun Belt Conference mark to 3-1 with a 50-27 road victory over Louisiana-Lafayette its last time out. The Red Wolves’ three-game winning streak is their longest since ending the 2011 regular season on a nine-game winning streak.

“They are all big games at this point. We are still playing for a conference championship, and that was our No. 1 goal, so that is still a possibility,” ASU head coach Gus Malzahn said of trying to become bowl eligible and win a conference championship. “We are playing a good team on the road, and in this league we will take it one game at a time.”

“We talk about improving each week, and I read somewhere that we are the fourth-most inexperienced team in the country. We really didn?t want to dwell on that early, but that was some of our growing pains I felt like. We put three phases together last game, so hopefully that will carry over, and we can get some momentum for these last few games.”

Malzahn said he has no problems, considering the youth of his team, with the extra layoff due to the fact his team has not played since a national televised game against Lafayette last Tuesday in which the Red Wolves never allowed the Cajuns a chance at competing in the game.

“We’ve really just tried to keep the same routine,” Malzahn said. “I really think the biggest factor, since we are an inexperienced team, is the growth of the team each week. It just happens that two of our last three games have been on the road.”

“We tried to get our players mentally and physically “fresher.” Our coaches recruited, while at the same time we focused on us like we did the previous week, which is always good. It gave us an extra day or two to prepare.”

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