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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas State wide receiver Kirk Merritt (middle) is dragged down by Georgia defensive backs Mark Webb (23) and J.R. Reed during the Red Wolves’ 55-0 loss to the No. 3 Bulldogs on Saturday in Athens, Ga. Merritt finished with six catches for 25 yards.

ATHENS, Ga. -- It was a forgettable performance Saturday afternoon for the Arkansas State University football team, but it was still by no means a forgettable day.

Georgia fans pinked out Sanford Stadium in honor of ASU Coach Blake Anderson's late wife Wendy, a tribute that nearly brought him to tears.

"One of the classiest moves I've ever seen," Anderson said after the game.

Meanwhile, the Red Wolves' 55-0 beatdown courtesy of the third-ranked Bulldogs was both humbling and predictable.

Power 5 programs, especially the good ones, schedule these type of payout games at home against non-Power 5 competition in order to fill nonconference dates. In return, the visitors often take a shellacking, but they also pocket quite a bit of cash for their coffers.

How's $1.8 million sound? That's what Georgia paid ASU for playing in Athens.

Sure, the Red Wolves (1-2) would have liked to at least make Georgia nervous. The Bulldogs were 33-point favorites, but after Saturday's outcome, even that seemed a little low. ASU was shut out for the first time since a 35-0 loss at Alabama in November 2008.

"We were hoping to play a competitive game and honestly hoping to find a way to come in here and surprise everybody and win, but just didn't play well enough to do so," Anderson said. "I think we have a better team than showed today," Anderson said. "I think we have a lot of work to do. I'm hoping that we got out of it somewhat healthy because I think we have a very good possibility of a good season ahead of us if we can just continue to learn and grow."

That healthy part remains a question, and there may be real concerns moving forward.

Junior cornerback Jerry Jacobs went down in the second quarter with an apparent leg injury and missed the rest of the game. Jacobs' replacement, junior Demari Medley, appeared to tweak his hamstring in the fourth quarter when he abruptly pulled up from chasing down a 62-yard rushing touchdown by Georgia and grabbed the back of his left leg.

Anderson was unsure of the severity of both injuries.

"It obviously makes you nervous when a guy can't finish," Anderson said of Jacobs. "I'm holding my breath hoping that it's nothing significant. He just got tangled up a little bit."

On Sunday night, Jacobs took to Twitter and appeared to confirm that he's out for the rest of the season.

"Speechless for words," Jacobs tweeted. "For all the hard work and dedication I put in this game...I wish I can be out there with my team but you know god give his toughest battle to his strongest soldiers...I'll be back Next Year to give you the summary... STAY TUNE."

Freshman Jarius Reimonenq and sophomore Nathan Page are listed behind Jacobs on the depth chart.

The offense isn't unscathed either, as sophomore starting running back Marcel Murray and senior wide receiver Dahu Green each did not play because of injuries. After missing nearly all of last year, Green has yet to play this season.

Even after getting shut out, junior quarterback Logan Bonner -- who finished 20 of 35 passing for 124 yards and no turnovers despite having to constantly withstand and evade pressure by Georgia's defense -- stood at the podium after the game and still found a silver lining.

"I thought I played probably the cleanest game in [terms of] making decisions," Bonner said. "Everybody has to make plays, including me. I missed a few out there that I can't miss.

"It starts with me. We got to do a better job. We're gonna rally, and Tuesday we'll come out ready to work and get ready for the next opponent."

Saturday's opponent will be a lot more forgiving, to say the least.

The Red Wolves host Southern Illinois, an FCS program which plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, at 6 p.m. in Jonesboro. It's ASU's final tune-up before Sun Belt Conference play begins Sept. 28 at Troy.

Still early in this season, the Red Wolves know their biggest games are ahead of them.

"I think we're capable of being a really good team," Anderson said. "We got some guys that are still growing up and learning. The people we're gonna play will look a lot more like us moving forward. I've got to feel like we match up much better in every scenario from here on out."

Sports on 09/16/2019

Print Headline: Red Wolves earn big payday for 'L'

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