Justice Hansen's phone was full of messages about ticket requests.
Hansen, Arkansas State University's senior quarterback from Edmond, Okla., who began his collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma, is heading home at 6 p.m. today against Tulsa. The 6-4 Oklahoman expects many family and friends inside H.A. Chapman Stadium, but he said that doesn't apply any extra pressure to ASU's third game of the season.
Arkansas State at Tulsa
WHEN 6 p.m., Central
WHERE H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa
TELEVISION CBS Sports Network
RADIO Red Wolves Sports Network
COACHES Blake Anderson (32-21 in fifth season at ASU and overall); Philip Montgomery (19-21 in 4th season at Tulsa and overall)
SERIES Series tied 2-2
LAST MEETING 2003: Tulsa 54, Arkansas State 7
ASU also must cure any hangover from last week's 57-7 loss at Alabama, Hansen said. Tulsa, with a defense layered in disguises and an offense able to force a shootout, presents a different set of problems for the Red Wolves.
"Last week definitely didn't go the way we wanted it to," Hansen said. "But the thing is, we're so early in the season you can't let that just continue to sting you as the season goes on."
Sometimes dropping eight defenders into pass coverage and rushing with three defensive linemen, the Golden Hurricane (1-1) ditched a traditional defense 1½ games ago and evolved into a speedier defense midway through a 38-27 season-opening victory against the University of Central Arkansas.
A seven-point loss last Saturday to Texas deepened the confidence of Tulsa's defense and showed its offense -- which posted all 21 of Tulsa's points in a resurgent second half of a 28-21 loss against Texas -- is capable of hanging with premier programs.
"We're going to see something completely unique," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said of Tulsa's defense. "What they've chosen to do defensively is very different than what we've seen from our defense or from anybody we've seen up to this point. That will be unique for us and a challenge to figure out how to attack it and what it's going to do to us in terms of our decision-making."
The responsibility to process and react to the many faces of Tulsa's defense falls on Hansen, whose job is to distinguish the Golden Hurricane's disguises from one another so ASU isn't blindsided.
How much of ASU's success Saturday is reliant on Hansen reading and understanding Tulsa's defense and its many twists?
"A lot," Anderson said. "It's big. I think that's the most difficult [thing], because it is different than what you see on a daily basis from our defense and what we see from most other people.
"It creates a big challenge for him, to know what his keys are and how it's going to look. It's going to move differently than what [we've] seen in most spring and fall camp and the first two weeks. It puts a lot of pressure on him."
Arkansas State (1-1) blasted the Southeast Missouri State from the FCS 48-21 in Week 1 and took a beatdown via the Crimson Tide in Week 2, setting a third week of the season as a measurement game. Tulsa should provide a better gauge of ASU through three games, a large enough sample size to more accurately evaluate ASU's team.
Did ASU actually take and apply lessons from the 50-point loss last week?
How far has ASU progressed since blowing out SEMO, a weaker opponent, and a loss on the road via the No. 1 team in the country?
Today should provide some answers.
"The next challenge that faces us is to travel on the road and win a game on the road," Anderson said. "I think every team is different. This team, as talented as I really think it is, it's still inexperienced in a lot of places. We've got to learn how to go on the road and win.
"Tulsa will be a tremendous test."
Quarterback Justice Hansen’s ability to read and understand Tulsa’s defense and its many twists will be key to an Arkansas State victory today, according to Coach Blake Anderson.
Sports on 09/15/2018
Print Headline: Tulsa to ascertain where ASU stands