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story.lead_photo.caption Layne Hatcher keyed Arkansas State’s 35-31 victory over Kansas State on Saturday, throwing the winning touchdown pass with 38 seconds left.
(AP/Charlie Riedel)

Sophomore Layne Hatcher watched from the sidelines Saturday as Kansas State drove down the field to take a 31-28 lead over Arkansas State University with only 2:30 remaining in the game.

Junior Logan Bonner had completed his two series, meaning it was Hatcher's turn at quarterback, despite having not played all quarter.

"This is something you dream about as a kid," Hatcher said.

"You just want to tell that to the guys on the sideline. You wouldn't want it any other way. Let's put it all on the line."

Seven plays, 65 yards and a touchdown pass later, Hatcher led ASU on the game-winning drive to a seal 35-31 victory over the Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan. The Little Rock native, who played four series all game, waited his turn and delivered on the biggest stage.

For Hatcher, his patience and preparedness paid off, knowing he would likely have the final drive.

"From a competitor's standpoint, you always want the ball in your hands, and I think Logan Bonner would say the same thing," said Hatcher, who was 6-of-8 passing and threw for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns. "We want the ball in our hands when the game's on the line, but when that other guy runs out there, nobody's upset about it, nobody' down about it. It's how can I help this guy? How can the team win? And if we win, everybody's going to be happy and we're going to be happy together."

And for Bonner, he couldn't have been happier his team got the win, even if he wasn't the one throwing the game-winning touchdown.

"I just wanted the guys to execute and win. And that's about it," said Bonner, who went 17-of-28 passing for 204 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. "I was looking at the play calls and looking at what Layne was seeing and trying to help them, cheer them on. That's all I can do, really. He did a great job."

Arkansas State has a good problem on its hands, boasting two legitimate and proven starting quarterbacks. A week ago, following the Memphis loss, some thought the two quarterback system may have disrupted ASU's offensive rhythm as the Red Wolves went scoreless in the second and third quarters.

But not Coach Blake Anderson.

Anderson has shown unwavering faith in both Hatcher and Bonner. Against Kansas State, Anderson and the Red Wolves stuck to their guns and this time, it appeared as the offense -- which totaled 489 yards -- didn't appear to miss a beat. And Anderson believed either guy would have gotten the job done.

"Didn't even know whose series it was," Anderson said. "Didn't matter. They're both going to make some mistakes, they're both going to make some plays. It never crossed our mind for the rotation to change at all,

"We trust those guys. You're going to have to play them through a mistake here or there, but if you do that, you get rewarded on the back end because they know you have confidence in them and either one of those guys could have gone down there and did what they did."

Anderson has especially been pleased with both quarterbacks' leadership. And while Bonner may be the official starter, Hatcher has been exceptional on and off the field for the Red Wolves.

"I love how Layne how his attitude has been through this whole process. He has put team first," Anderson said. "He wants to be the starter. But he says, 'Coach, I'll do whatever you need me to do.' And he has done a phenomenal job helping push Logan and make him better, help prepare and listen and watch, have conversations when he comes off and be ready when his series go out. He played a flawless game."

Arkansas State will likely continue with its two-quarterback system again this week and for as long as it continues to work in their favor.

And for Hatcher and Bonner, they're OK with that as long as they keep winning.

"This week, same mindset," Hatcher said. "It's probably an extremely confident, right-on-the-borderline arrogant mindset that, not matter what, you're going to find a way. And our group came together and did that today."


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