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story.lead_photo.caption Blake and Wendy Anderson are shown in this 2013 file photo. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

TUCSON, Ariz. -- One month ago, Blake Anderson was unsure if his wife, Wendy, would be able to make the trip to Arizona.

Wendy, 48, and Blake announced that her breast cancer not only returned this fall after one cancer-free year, but now it has metastasized and spread to her lymph nodes, liver and lungs.

On Nov. 25, when news of Wendy's illness began to be shared the day after Arkansas State University's regular-season finale at Texas State, her re-diagnosis had not yet become official until a full pathology report.

Now, the Andersons know. And still, it did not stop Wendy from joining the Red Wolves, Blake and their three children in Tucson for Saturday's Arizona Bowl against Nevada at Arizona Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

"She did come. I'm glad to have her here. It's not been an easy trip," Blake said Thursday. "The cool breeze has been a challenge. She's coughing. She's tired. She's probably doing way more than she probably should. She had a rough morning [Thursday]. She wanted to come. She didn't want to miss it. She wanted to be with the kids. We've had a good time."

Offense unchanged

Arkansas State's offense was on a heater more than 30 days ago when ASU's regular-season ended.

ASU scored 31 or points in four consecutive victories to end the regular season. In the Arizona Bowl, rust could be an issue, and it's why the Red Wolves plan to search for the same offense that ended the regular season instead of experimenting in senior quarterback Justice Hansen's final game at ASU.

"I don't think we're in a place to try anything new," Anderson said. "We've just got to go out and execute. We haven't played in five weeks. We had a bunch of guys that were beat up. Our main focus is getting out and doing what we do well, and hoping that it's going to be good enough to find a way to get a win."

The Red Wolves' offense with Hansen -- the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year who needs three passing touchdowns to become the first player in ASU and Sun Belt history with 30 or more passing TDs in two different seasons -- has ranked No. 1 in the league in passing offense for each of the past two seasons.

Nevada (7-5), with its 3-3-5 defense, has allowed 243.1 passing yards and 135.2 rushing yards per game, compared to ASU's totals of 283.3 passing and 183.2 rushing yards per game in 2018.

"Like anybody, you go in with a wrinkle or two," Anderson said. "But we're going to stick to what we are."

Elliott to redshirt

Arkansas State offensive lineman Troy Elliott, who was expected to be the Red Wolves' starting left guard in 2018, has missed most of this season following knee and shoulder surgeries. ASU is expected to apply for a medical redshirt for Elliott to regain full eligibility for his junior season, Anderson said.

Elliott returned toward the end of ASU's regular season as a backup tight end before re-injuring his knee. Elliot will not play in the Arizona Bowl.

Elliott did not appear in four total games this season, Anderson said, which also qualifies him for a redshirt.

"He'll get the year back," Anderson said Thursday. "He stayed under the four games, anyway, so he'll get the year back. I would expect him and [transfer redshirt junior wide receiver] Dahu [Green], really all those guys that missed significant time."

Sports on 12/28/2018

Print Headline: Arkansas State coach's wife along with team despite breast cancer battle


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