Gus Mahlzan was one and done as head coach of the Red Wolves. In his first and only season at Arkansas State, coach led his team to a Sun Belt title with the top offense, his area of expertise, in the conference. The Red Wolves averaged 36.4 points per game, which ranked 21st in the country. Quarterback Ryan Aplin finished with over 3,100 yards with 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The running attack finished 21st in the country with David Oku totaling 1,024 yards with 15 touchdowns and 4.6 yards per carry. The defense, led by interim head coach John Thompson, was tops in the Sun Belt in scoring defense at 25.4 ppg. (50th in country).
The top defense in the Sun Belt managed to contain Notre Dame in the first quarter. The Red Wolves held the Irish to two, three-and-outs and one, four-play drive. Aplin and Oku helped moved the chains during a 14-play drive that actually handed Arkansas State a 7-0 lead after the first 15 minutes.
The score would remain 7-0 late into the second quarter before Tyler Eifert sparked the Irish. Everett Golson swung a pass out to the Irish's tight end and 61 yards later, the game was tied at seven. Notre Dame's defense would hold the Wolves on the ensuing possession and provided the offense a little over a minute to move the ball 62 yards. With 25 seconds on the clock before the half, Golson hit Eifert for his second touchdown of the game. "What in the world of Kyle Rudolph is going on here?" somebody screamed from the stands.
The Irish, up 14-7 at the half, would never trail again as they added a field goal and touchdown to build their lead to 17. Golson passed for over 250 yards for only the third time this season (265 yards vs. Ark. St.). Irish advance with the 31-14 win.
Player of the game: Everett Golson (265 passing yards, 2 TDs)
Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Notre Dame 81.0% - Arkansas State 19.0%
Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: Notre Dame 31.4 - Arkansas State 19.3