Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorbacks to open 2020 season with Nevada
A Nevada helmet is photographed after the team's NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas Razorbacks will face another Mountain West Conference opponent in next year’s season opener.
The University of Arkansas has completed a contract with Nevada that will pair the teams in their first-ever meeting next Sept. 5 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Nevada’s game guarantee was redacted in a copy of the contract obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via a public records request.
The game will be worked by an SEC officiating crew.
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Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek signed the contract on Aug. 26, and Nevada Chancellor Thomas Reilly signed off Sept. 9.
The Razorbacks had originally contracted to play Kent State in the 2020 season opener, but that game was moved to Sept. 9, 2023, based on a copy of the amended contract obtained by the Democrat-Gazette.
The guarantee amount for that game was also redacted. The Golden Flashes were leery of playing three SEC games in the first month next season, as they are scheduled to play road games at Kentucky on Sept. 19 and Alabama on Sept. 26.
Arkansas has lost two of its last three games against Mountain West competition the last two years. The Razorbacks split a home-and-away series with Colorado State, capped by a 55-34 victory at Razorback Stadium on Sept. 14. The following week, Arkansas was upset 31-24 by three-touchdown underdog San Jose State, which has not been a contender in the Mountain West in recent seasons.
The Spartans took home a game guarantee of $1.5 million, believed to be the biggest guarantee earned by a winning team so far in 2019.
Adding the opener against Nevada and settling the Kent State date completes the Razorbacks’ nonconference slate for the next four seasons.
Arkansas in 2020 is scheduled to host Nevada, Charleston Southern and Louisiana-Monroe and take on Notre Dame for the first time, on Sept. 12 in South Bend, Ind.
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