Arkansas and Arkansas State will play each other for the first time in 2025

Nick Bromberg
·2 min read

The football stalemate between Arkansas and Arkansas State is over.

The two teams announced Wednesday that they would play each other for the first time in 2025 at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium. They’re one of the few in-state rivals at the top level of college football who have never met on a football field.

The announcement came as Arkansas said it would play Missouri at home instead of in Little Rock in 2021 and 2023.

“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,” Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement.

Arkansas State played at the FBS level from 1974-81 and then moved up to FBS for good in 1990, yet the two teams have never met. The game became possible as Arkansas and Yurachek were slowly more open to playing in-state opponents in reversal of a longstanding policy against in-state contests. In June, Yurachek told his department that Arkansas was free to schedule Central Arkansas and Arkansas State in all sports but football.

In 2015, former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said Arkansas would “never” play ASU and pointed to his good relationship with Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson. But Bielema is now coaching at Illinois and Anderson has moved on to become the head coach at Utah State. Sam Pittman just completed his first year as Arkansas’ coach and Butch Jones was recently announced as Anderson’s replacement.

Before Bielema’s time at Arkansas, state legislators introduced a bill in 2001 in an attempt to get the two schools to play an annual football series.

Arkansas vs. ASU is one of the few in-state games at the top level of college football that we haven’t seen before. UCF has never played Florida State since it moved to the FBS level in 1996, though the Knights played Florida State in its final season of FCS football in 1995.

The Arkansas logo is displayed on a helmet before the start of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Arkansas is going to play Arkansas State for the first time in 2025. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

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