Week two is upon us as the Memphis Tigers head out west to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to face their hated rival, the Arkansas State Red Wolves. It’s a rivalry game that dates back to 1914. Make no mistake, Arkansas State and Memphis don’t like each other all that much. Both programs have historically been overlooked and not respected by anyone despite recent success. Last season, Memphis and Arkansas met for the season opener at the Liberty Bowl and gave College Football fans one of the most exciting games of the year, which is expected to carry over to Saturday’s matchup in Jonesboro.
On paper, Memphis looks to hold a slight edge over Arkansas State after last week’s performance against Nicholls State. Last Saturday, it was Seth Henigan and Brandon Thomas taking over the spotlight for the Tigers in the new season following the departure of Brady White.
All things considered, Arkansas State is just as deadly as the Tigers are on the offensive side of the ball. We saw that last year when these two programs met for the first since 2013. Arkansas State went all twelve rounds with the Tigers before falling 31-24. You can bet that even with a new coach, those Arkansas State players will be out for blood as these two teams go to battle on Saturday
Not to mention, Arkansas State has a familiar face to Memphis fans roaming the sidelines as their Athletics Director, Tom Bowen, has taken over as the AD in Jonesboro. Bowen served as Athletics Director for the Memphis Tigers from 2012-2019. During his seven years at Memphis, the Tigers football program reached new heights that many thought would never happen for this program. Now that Bowen is at Arkansas State, folks around College Football have started to talk like Arkansas State could be the next program to take that next step to football glory.
As far as the matchup on the field goes, Memphis and Arkansas State are about even at every position. These are two programs that mirror each other, which usually translates over to the matchup itself. Memphis comes into the game with Arkansas State as a five and half point favorite over the Red Wolves, but it’ll be a war for whichever team comes out on top.
For Memphis, it’s simple, rely on the football that got you to this point, don’t try to do too much, and quite simply DO YOUR JOB. It’s that simple, Arkansas State is going to throw everything they can at the Tigers on Saturday night. All Memphis has to do, take the punches and keep playing Memphis football. The rest will take of itself.
For Arkansas State, use the home field advantage to your advantage, force Memphis out of their comfort zone, and apply pressure to Seth Henigan. You do those things, a victory for Arkansas State could be likely.
Memphis and Arkansas State will kickoff Saturday night at 6:00 P: M and will be televised on ESPN Plus.