Now that the Big 12 has officially said they
are kicking the can down the road are not, at this time, postponing the 2020 football season, the Kansas State Wildcats had a hole in the 10-game schedule that needed to be filled.
Well it appears AD Gene Taylor has made quick work of finding that one non-conference opponent — needed after both the Mid-American Conference and the Missouri Valley Football Conference cancelled their 2020 football seasons and deprived the Wildcats of their remaining two non-conference options. Reports from both sides of the equation now indicate that the Arkansas State Red Wolves, members of the Sun Belt Conference, will be making a trip to Manhattan for a Sept 12th matchup, presuming the Big 12 doesn’t shut things down before then.
Despite a fairly close proximity (Jonesboro, AR is closer to MHK than Boulder, CO), the Wildcats and Red Wolves have played just twice: in 1948 (a 37-6 win for Ralph Graham’s bunch), and in 1980 (a 31-7 win for Jim Dickey and his crew). ASU has been an FBS team since the early 1990’s, and is most notable in recent years for a three year period that saw Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, and Bryan Harsin pop in for a year in Jonesboro before each heading off for a higher paying job.
Current head coach of the Red Wolves is Blake Anderson, who has been at Arkansas State since replacing Harsin for the 2014 season, and he’s led the team to two Sun Belt championships. In 2019, The Red Wolves went 8-5, 5-3 in conference (for the second straight year), but at one point it was thought Anderson might not coach the season after losing his wife to cancer just before the season started.
The Red Wolves will be a tough team, and over the years have not backed away from playing bigger-name opponents, but they are still a team that the Wildcats should put away without needing to break into the bag of tricks.