Arkansas State thumps Texas State 77-31 to become bowl-eligible

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JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Ja’Quez Cross rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns then returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score and Arkansas State got three touchdowns from its defense and one from special teams, thumping Texas State 77-31 on Saturday to become eligible for a bowl game.

Arkansas State (6-5, 4-3 Sun Belt Conference) was trailing 17-14 when Cross finished off a 75-yard drive with a 42-yard run, giving the Red Wolves the lead for good with 9:14 left before halftime.

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Cross scored on a 15-yard, first-down run after Keyron Crawford recovered a fumble by Texas State’s Donerio Davenport for a two-score lead. He added a 57-yard touchdown run with 1:52 remaining and Arkansas State led 35-17 at intermission.

Cedric Hawkins had two short touchdown runs, Thomas returned a TJ Finley fumble for a 91-yard score and Cross scored on a 93-yard kickoff return on the final play of the third quarter to give the Red Wolves a 63-24 lead. The final two touchdowns came on interception returns — an 87-yarder by Melique Straker and a 50-yarder by Dane Motley.

Jaylen Raynor completed 14 of 17 passes for 196 yards for Arkansas State. Zak Wallace rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Courtney Jackson had seven receptions for 107 yards.

Finley totaled 366 yards on 37-of-55 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions for Texas State (6-5, 3-4). Ashtyn Hawkins had eight catches for 165 yards. Kole Wilson caught 10 passes for 68 yards and two scores. Joey Hobert also caught a touchdown pass. Ismail Mahdi had a first-quarter scoring run.

Texas State hosts South Alabama on Saturday to close out the regular season. Arkansas State travels to play Marshall to end the regular season.

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