Hogs get 'unique environment' with Thursday opener at War Memorial

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, right, listens as War Memorial Stadium Commission Chairman Kevin Crass announces future schedule plans at the stadium in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. One Arkansas football game per season will be played in Little Rock through 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, right, listens as War Memorial Stadium Commission Chairman Kevin Crass announces future schedule plans at the stadium in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. One Arkansas football game per season will be played in Little Rock through 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

— Arkansas has moved up its season-opening football game this fall by a couple of days, the school announced Wednesday.

The Razorbacks will kick off against Florida A&M at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Thursday, Aug. 31. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

“From my standpoint, I thought it presented an opportunity to create a unique environment … where we’re playing on a Thursday night,” said Kevin Crass, chairman of the War Memorial Stadium Commission. “We’re not in the middle of people’s Labor Day weekend celebrations.

“There’s obviously a trade-off or balance in dealing with the logistical challenges. It won’t be your traditional War Memorial tailgate schedule. But I’m hopeful that people will take the day or the afternoon and come out and enjoy the tailgating and then enjoy the game.”

Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said opening on the first Thursday of the season presented a great opportunity.

“I was excited about the possibility when the SEC offered the opportunity and I think it’s a great way for our fans to kick off the season and the holiday weekend,” Long said in a UA news release.

The move will give Arkansas an extra couple of days to prepare for its campus opener against TCU on Sept. 9. The Horned Frogs will look to avenge a 41-38 loss at home in double overtime to Arkansas last season.

Arkansas, coming off a 7-6 finish in 2016, will open the season on a Thursday night for the first time since the 2001 team defeated UNLV 14-10, a game also at War Memorial Stadium.

The Razorbacks will play on a Thursday for the first time since a 28-6 victory over South Carolina on Nov. 6, 2003, at War Memorial.

Arkansas and Florida A&M of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference are playing for the first time.

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