The schedule changes keep on coming for the Arkansas State University football team.
This time, the adjustment benefits the Red Wolves.
One week after the team had its third game postponed by the coronavirus pandemic, ASU announced Tuesday that a 12th game had been added to its schedule after it agreed to play FCS member Incarnate Word on Dec. 12 at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves' home Sun Belt Conference matchup with Louisiana-Monroe was supposed to be played last Saturday, but it was rescheduled for Dec. 12 because of an outbreak within the Warhawks' athletic department. With the addition of Incarnate Word, ASU's game with Louisiana-Monroe now will be played Dec. 5.
Earlier in the season, ASU (3-5, 1-4 Sun Belt) had games against the University of Central Arkansas and Tulsa postponed because of covid-19-related issues. While the in-state battle with UCA was rescheduled and played, the Red Wolves weren't able to do the same with Tulsa.
That, in turn, led to the Red Wolves striking a deal with Incarnate Word, which like UCA is a member of the Southland Conference.
"We were just trying to find somebody to fill that 12th game," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said. "With everybody playing conference games at this point, it made it really tough. So we started talking to a couple of FCS opponents, and we had several that were interested in getting a game in.
"So after talking to two or three different teams, we went with Incarnate Word. But this is a big opportunity because it's a chance for us to get that sixth home game."
Adding the Cardinals means the Red Wolves will play three consecutive games at home to end the regular season. ASU is scheduled to host South Alabama on Nov. 28.
The move also provides a boost for Incarnate Word. The Cardinals haven't played a game this fall and are set to start a six-game league schedule beginning in February. Facing the Red Wolves allows Incarnate Word to get a game under its belt before its winter break begins next month.
"I think for them, it gives them an opportunity to practice and test themselves against an opponent," Anderson said of Incarnate Word, which finished 5-7 in 2019 but beat two teams that were ranked in the FCS Top 25 at the time. "They get to practice a week or two more than they normally would and see what they have. It's always a challenge in the spring. They're kind of doing things in reverse.
"It'll kind of let them know what their strong areas are, maybe what their weak areas are before they get into the season."
While an agreement is in place for the two schools to meet for the first time, Anderson knows nothing is guaranteed in 2020.
"Of course, all of it is predicated off covid not shutting us down over the next few weeks with our conference games," he said. "Hopefully none of those will have to be pushed back. For us, if we can find a way to play that sixth home game for our fans and finish up with 12 games, it's a plus for everybody."
ARKANSAS STATE AT TEXAS STATE
WHEN 2 p.m. Central, Saturday
WHERE Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, Texas
RECORDS Arkansas State 3-5, 1-4 Sun Belt Conference; Texas State 1-8, 1-4
INTERNET ESPN 3