Freeze says Arkansas State not out for revenge on WKU

Brad Stephens

It’s understandable that Arkansas State would want revenge this Saturday against WKU.

The Red Wolves came into last year’s meeting with WKU in Jonesboro winners of three of their last four games, and contending for a bowl berth with a 4-2 league record.

But the underdog Toppers forced five turnovers, held the ball for more than 40 minutes, blocked a late punt and used an overtime two-point conversion to pull out a 36-35 road win.

After the loss to WKU, Arkansas State dropped its final two games to stumble to a 4-8 season record, resulting in the firing of longtime Head Coach Steve Roberts.

Offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze was promoted to fill Roberts’ position, and is 2-2 so far in his first season as head man.

Freeze said Monday that revenge from last year would “absolutely not” be a factor when the teams meet Saturday in Smith Stadium.

“We won’t speak of that last year with our kids,” Freeze said Monday. “We’re just going to talk about this year, one game at a time. We look forward to the opportunity to come to Bowling Green and play.”

WKU Head Coach Willie Taggart said Monday that his team’s play won’t be affected by the outcome of last year’s contest.

“We’ll talk about us gunning for them,” Taggart said. “We can’t worry about what people think of us and what they’re worried about. We’re out there to try and beat them. “Last year is history.”

Freeze said he looks forward to seeing Willie Taggart, who he said he considers a close friend.

He also said the Red Wolves will need to find a way to contain senior running back Bobby Rainey, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in every game this season.

“We better gang tackle him,” Freeze said. “He runs with such a low center of gravity and he’s so physical and his balance is excellent and his vision is great. I mean he’s just a really good running back.

“Hopefully we can put together a good plan that comes in there and gives us a victory in conference play.”