With eight consecutive winning seasons under their belt, Arkansas State begin the 2019 campaign with a sizable test, as they welcome Sonny Dykes and SMU to Centennial Bank Stadium on Saturday.
The game (7 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it live right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of most Sun Belt football games every week, other college football and live sports, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Arkansas State vs SMU live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Arkansas State vs SMU Preview
Arkansas State is coming off a strong 8-5 finish a year ago, narrowly falling to Nevada the Arizona Bowl 16-13 in overtime. It was the eighth straight winning season for the Red Wolves, but the Sun Belt squad has only won one of their last five bowl games.
Arkansas State is returning six starters on the offensive side of the ball from a unit that led the Sun Belt in offensive production a year ago. Kirk Merritt, Omar Bayless and Jonathan Adams will be the Red Wolves wide receivers to watch against the Mustangs.
The team will play with heavy hearts, as head coach Blake Anderson announced on Aug. 20 that his wife Wendy died of cancer.
“She passed as peacefully and gracefully as you could ever hope,” Anderson wrote on Twitter. “Just a few minutes before midnight with me laying right beside her. I have been so blessed to have her by my side each day fro the past 27 years. Thank you so much to all who have walked, prayed, cried and loved her through this brutal two-year battle.”
There have been some slim years for SMU lately and last year was exception in Sonny Dykes’ first year as head coach. The Mustangs finished 5-7 and on the outside looking in of the college football postseason, missing a bowl game for the fifth time in six years.
SMU is turning to former Texas Longhorn Shane Buechele to improve a passing game. Buechele decided to transfer after losing his starting job to Sam Ehlinger.
“I haven’t played in a while,” he told The Athletic. “I want to go compete with the guys, have fun, get back to loving the game. I’ve been having fun with these guys. It’s a good time.
“It’s not proving people wrong. It’s having a good time and proving people right.”
In the ACC media poll, the Mustangs are predicted to finish fourth in the AAC West Division, behind Houston, Memphis and Tulane.
The teams last met in 2017, a game that SMU won handily 44-21. The time around, the Red Wolves are a 2.5-point home favorite with the over-under set at 56.5.
After the matchup with Arkansas State, SMU will shift its focus to a North Texas.
The Red Wolves have a trip to UNLV waiting next week and No. 3 Georgia is lurking for a mighty test on Sept. 14.
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