Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Robertson Helps Steer ASU in Right Direction

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Robertson Helps Steer ASU in Right Direction

Article excerpt

JONESBORO, Ark. | Jermaine Robertson has witnessed a major turnaround in the Arkansas State University football program this season.

The usually dormant Red Wolves are 9-2 and have won a share of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference championship, after last Saturday's 45- 19 win at Middle Tennessee. With the win, ASU became the third team in league history to open the season with seven straight conference wins.

The Red Wolves can win the conference outright next Saturday with a win over Troy in the home finale in Jonesboro. ASU has already clinched a berth in the 2012 Bowl, which will be played Jan. 8 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile against the Mid-American Conference champion.

"You look at our teams in the past and how we are doing this year and it's nothing short of a miracle," Robertson said.

The fifth-year senior and former Northridge High School standout had never been a part of winning team, but came close his redshirt freshman year in 2008 when the Red Wolves finished with a 6-6 record and included an 18-14 season-opening win over Texas A&M and a 35-0 loss at No. 2 Alabama.

ASU posted a 19-29 record from 2007-10 and offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze replaced Steve Roberts as head coach after back-to-back 4-8 records in 2009-10.

"I think (Freeze) has come in and really shared his faith with a lot of guys and instead of having just a championship team and being bowl eligible, he has changed a lot of guy's lives and their outlook on life. That had a lot to do with our success as well. I give all the credit to him and the entire coaching staff. If we did not have him this season would be a bitter story."

ASU began the season with two losses in first three games, losing road games to BCS foes Illinois and No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Red Wolves evened the record at 2-2 with 53-24 drubbing of Central Arkansas in week four.

Robertson and the Red Wolves opened conference play at Western Kentucky on Oct. 1. Playing on regional television, ASU pulled out a 26-22 road win and Robertson that was a signature win for his team.

"The game that really decided how good we were going to be was Western Kentucky," Robertson said. …

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