Can Red Wolves stop the Tide? Arkansas State takes on Alabama
A- State heads south to take on top- ranked team in the nation
Arkansas State University Arkansas State is set to play its first road game of the season Saturday, when it will face defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama.
The Red Wolves claimed a 48-21 home victory last week against Southeast Missouri State, collecting its first season-opening victory since 2014. The preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite in the league’s annual coaches poll, A-State entered the season receiving votes in both Associated Press Top 25 and Coaches Poll for the first time since gaining FBS status in 1992.
Alabama picked up a 5114 season-opening victory over Louisville and will carry a 16-game winning streak in home openers into Saturday’s game. AState will make its second all-time appearance at Bryant-Denny Stadium, where the Crimson Tide boasts the fourth-best alltime home winning percentage in FBS at .827 (259-53-3) since the stadium opened in 1929.
The Red Wolves football program has enjoyed a strong run over the past several years. Out of 30 all-time head coaches at Arkansas State, Blake Anderson became one of just four to win at least seven games in his first season at the school in 2014.
Arkansas State and Alabama have met twice before with Alabama claiming 34-7 victory in 1982 and, most recently, a 35-0 win in 2008 when the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 2 in the nation. While the two squads will meet for the third time, Saturday’s game will be just the second between the two teams at Bryant- Denny Stadium. The 1982 game was played at Birmingham’s Legion Field with Larry Lacewell serving as A-State’s head coach and Bear Bryant leading the Crimson Tide.
Both attended Fordyce (Ark.) High School and Lacewell served as a graduate assistant coach at Alabama under Bryant during the 1959 season.
Announced prior to this season, a new “Larry Lacewell Award” has been created that will feature the names of future A-State Football MVP’s.
Lacewell, Arkansas State’s all-time leader in coaching victories, led the program to the 1986 national championship game.
The Crimson Tide will be Arkansas State’s sixth SEC opponent over the last six seasons after facing Auburn in both 2016 and 2013, Missouri in both 2015 and 2013 and Tennessee in 2014.
Although A-State has never defeated a team while it was a member of the SEC, it has picked up victories over two current schools prior to them joining the league. The Red Wolves defeated Ole Miss 10-0 in 1915 and also tied the Rebels twice. A-State defeated Texas A& M in 2008 as well while the Aggies were a member of the Big 12 Conference. AState has played Ole Miss 23 times, more than any other current SEC member. Arkansas State will play a defending national champion for the first time since 2004 when it played thenranked No. 4 LSU following its 2003 title season.
Like Alabama, A-State also played LSU in the second game of its 2004 season.
Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The game can also be heard live on 107.9 FM in the Northeast Arkansas area.
By Jerry Scott