Moral victories might not be on Arkansas State's agenda, but the Indians came out of Saturday's 52-20 loss at Missouri with some positives.
The Indians, with six freshmen starters, figured to struggle defensively against Missouri and quarterback Brad Smith -- and they did, allowing 296 to Smith and 506 yards overall.
However, a new offensive star just might have emerged in the defeat. In fact, a passing game that had been lacking the past three seasons made a surprising appearance.
Junior quarterback Nick Noce, who earned the starting job after Elliot Jacobs quit the team in the fall, passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns. After going to the bench with severe cramps, junior college transfer Devin Hollins threw for 110 yards on 7-of-11 passing.
"I learned that if we continue to improve, that we've got an opportunity to meet our goals," ASU coach Steve Roberts told the Jonesboro Sun. "Our goals are to have a winning season, win our home games and put ourselves in position for a conference championship at the end. We've got to be mentally healthy and physically healthy for that to occur."
Noce, a back-up with very limited experience, is a welcome sight considering ASU ranked 109th nationally in passing last season.
"I wanted to play football. I mean, it doesn't get any better than this, playing in front of thousands of people and playing with 10 other guys who care about you," Noce told the Jonesboro Sun.
Unfortunately for the Indians, they'll likely have to take a step back before moving forward as they play at LSU this week.
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