Arkansas State and Arkansas to meet in football in 2025

Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 12:04 AM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - It’s been more than 80 years in the making, but Arkansas’s two biggest colleges on separate sides of the state will finally meet up on the gridiron.

Multiple sources, including Arkansas Democrat-Gazette say representatives with the Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas will announce later Wednesday that the Red Wolves and Razorbacks will suit up and play in 2025 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

According to an agreement signed by UA with War Memorial Stadium, the game will be played on Sept. 6, 2025.

The amount UA will pay ASU for playing the game was redacted.

The agreement was signed on Feb. 1 by Terry Mohajir, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics with A-State, and Hunter Yuracheck, vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas.

“I’m happy the two FBS university football team’s in our great state of Arkansas will have an opportunity to participate in a regional matchup at War Memorial Stadium in our capital city of Little Rock. As an athletics director, you’re always trying to provide an opportunity for your students and university community to experience an exciting atmosphere. I appreciate Hunter’s willingness to provide those experiences for his school as well.”

The move comes a year after UA’s Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek told the university’s head coaches they were free to schedule UCA and A-State in all sports, except football.

“We are grateful to the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and War Memorial Stadium for working with us to be able to host some historic in-state matchups at War Memorial Stadium, while also allowing us to host Southeastern Conference games on our campus. The Razorback program belongs to our entire state and as we have shown in many of our sports, it is important that we continue to maintain a presence in Central Arkansas. It is also essential we provide our coaching staff the opportunity to showcase our campus during SEC games to potential student-athletes.”

Mohajir says he has been in contact with Yurachek about the potential game since he became Director of Athletics at Arkansas.

“When he came on board we started talking about it then,” Mohajir said. “He agreed that it would be a good opportunity for his student-athletes to play in front of an exciting atmosphere.”

After this season, Yurachek said he and Head Coach Sam Pittman talked about potential scheduling changes, including moving all future games against Missouri from War Memorial Stadium to Fayetteville, opening up the door for Arkansas State.

“It was very important to the future success of our program to play as many SEC games as possible here on-campus in Fayetteville,” Yurachek said. “As we started talking about what meaningful games look like, obviously in-state competition starting with our game against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and then working towards that game with Arkansas State in [2025].”

It was then when Mohajir called Yurachek and not long after, the game was made official.

Arkansas State’s 2025 schedule could feature three Power 5 opponents. Along with the Razorback matchup on September 6th, the Red Wolves will host Iowa State on September 13th. They’re scheduled to play at Texas A&M, no date has been set yet.

Wednesday’s decision follows years of fans and pundits debating the benefits and drawbacks of such a matchup.

Even the players and coaches weighed in.

Five years ago, according to Saturday Down South, when asked if the two teams would ever face off on the field, former UA Coach Bret Bielema said “Never. Never.”

Zach Barnett with Football Scoop pointed out in 2013 that the Razorbacks would “play just about anyone. Anyone except teams from their home state.”

State lawmakers have even lobbied for a matchup. In 2001, a group of state representatives introduced House Bill 1694 establishing the Arkansas Football Classic.

Through the years, we’ve even wondered why the two teams have never played against each other.

While football fans will have to wait four more years to see the two schools go head-to-head. Now, fans will wonder no more.

“I was surprised to know they haven’t played for 80 years because you’d think they’re Arkansas teams, they’d play each other often. I’m excited and excited to see who wins,” A-State student Haley Brazel said.

“Growing up, I was a Hog fan,” A-State student Jake Williamson said. “Now coming here to Arkansas State, I transitioned my loyalty to the Redwolves. Now, getting to hear the fact that the Hogs are playing the Redwolves, that’s something spectacular to see just as a student.”

While UA has been reluctant to play other teams within the state, A-State has gone head-to-head against in-state rivals, including the University of Central Arkansas, in football, basketball, and baseball.

It was just last year that the Diamond Hogs announced they would host the Red Wolves for the first time ever in 2021 at Baum Stadium.

Both Mohajir and Yurachek expressed interest in the Red Wolves and the Razorbacks facing off in other sports down the road as well, including men’s basketball.

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