Even though Ark State is picked as 21 point underdogs to the Vols I think the final score will be 28-27!!!

Wally Hall said in yesterday’s paper:

ASU AT TENNESSEE

Almost went with the upset here because the Vols scored twice in the fourth quarter, one on a 15-yard pass, to get to 38 points and they had only 383 yards against Utah State. The Vols better be ready for “Lightning” Fredi Knighten, who rushed for 104 yards and passed for 219 against Montana State. Tennessee, 28-27

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I agree totally. Even though Ark State is picked as 21 point underdogs to the Vols I think the final score will be 28-27.

ARKANSAS STATE AT TENNESSEE

WHEN 11 a.m. Central

WHERE Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

RECORDS Arkansas State 1-0, Tennessee 1-0

COACHES Arkansas State: Blake Anderson (1-0 in first season at ASU and overall); Tennessee: Butch Jones (6-7 in second season at Tennessee, 56-34 in eighth season overall)

TV SEC Network

INTERNET astateredwolves.com

RADIO KFIN-FM, 107.9 in Jonesboro; KKSP-FM, 93.3, in Bryant/Little Rock

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Arkansas State will enter Neyland Stadium this morning as an almost three-touchdown underdog to Tennessee. Regardless of the outcome, the Red Wolves will leave with a $1 million paycheck.

ASU’s trip to Tennessee today is the same as the nine other trips Sun Belt Conference teams will make into SEC stadiums this season in that it will provide a boost to the schools’ budgets and provide national television exposure.

But in the eyes of Red Wolves Coach Blake Anderson and Athletic Director Terry Mohajir, today’s game is one of two on its schedule each season that could be used to accomplish the program’s most sought-after long-term goal.

“To really measure how good you’re getting, you have to play those games,” Mohajir said. “If you never play those teams, you’re not going to really know how good you are.”

Mohajir said when he arrived almost two years ago that ASU’s most desired goal is a spot in a major bowl game, which once considered a BCS bowl, now is one of the six contract bowls as part of the College Football Playoffs. To get there, he’s always said, ASU has to expand its season-ticket base, add revenue and “grow the brand.”

Winning a game at the home of an SEC team can do that almost better than anything else. Anderson said today’s game is “just one of 12,” but he also acknowledged an upset today could help ASU perhaps more than a victory in any other game this season.

“If you want to be seen on a national stage, you’ve got to win a game on a national stage,” Anderson said. “It’s an opportunity on national television against a well-known program. … We’ve seen guys in the past take these opportunities and create an opportunity for themselves throughout the season and create momentum for recruiting and all those things.”

Anderson has experienced the benefits of such victories first hand. While an assistant at Southern Miss in 2008-2011, he helped the Golden Eagles beat Virginia of the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2009 and 2011, and Kansas of the Big 12 in 2010. In 2011, Southern Miss finished 12-2 and used the victory over Virginia to vault into the national rankings.

Southern Miss never reached a BCS bowl, but Anderson said the program benefited from beating the programs from what Mohajir calls “the higher-resource conferences.”

“Every one of those wins was helpful. A lot of people saw those games,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a [recruit] tell me that that game was a big factor. But, again, it’s exposure, it builds confidence, it’s another W, and you need as many as those as you can get.”

Today’s game was scheduled last summer under then-ASU coach Bryan Harsin because it fit Mohajir’s three-pronged criteria for such games.

He said ASU will likely play only one game for budgetary purposes each season — next week’s game at Miami is part of a home-and-home series, as was last year’s loss at Missouri — as opposed to two or even three it has played in the past. To find that opponent — ASU goes to Southern Cal next season and Auburn in 2016 — Mohajir said open dates have to match and that school has to meet ASU’s request of about a $1 million payout.

The final requirement has to do with ASU’s ability to win the game, or at least keep it close. When today’s game was scheduled, Tennessee was coming off a 5-7 finish in 2012, and USC was a few months removed from a 7-6 finish in 2012 when next season’s game was scheduled in June 2013. The one exception is Auburn, which was scheduled in the last year after the Tigers won the SEC title.

“Who do you think you have a chance to be competitive with?” Mohajir said. “You only have so many options when you’re scheduling teams, but they haven’t been as good as they have been traditionally.”

Anderson said he knows his team is an underdog heading into today’s game against a crowd that will likely top 100,000. But if it wants to achieve something it hasn’t in the past 11 tries — ASU hasn’t beaten a team from a Power 5 conference since winning at Texas A&M in 2008 — he said the plan calls to stay simple.

“Create explosive plays and don’t turn the ball over and great effort,” he said. “That’s what wins games every week, regardless of opponent, regardless of location or any other circumstance.”

Sports on 09/06/2014

Print Headline: ASU: Game with Tennessee not all about the paycheck

2013 Arkansas State Football Highlights

2012 Arkansas State Football Highlights

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2011 Arkansas State Football Highlights

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