Archive for the ‘College football’ Category

College football: Week 4

Monday, September 19th, 2022

At the end, most of the 74,133 in attendance at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium could finally exhale. Arkansas had overcome a 17-point deficit to subdue Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State Bears, 38-27.

No. 10 Arkansas lost two fumbles in the first half that the Bears turned into points. The Razorbacks led 597-409 in total offense, but Missouri State won the turnover battle 3-0. That allowed the Bears to keep the game close. Missouri State also dominated time of possession, 35:51 to 24:09.

So what are we to make of this?

Sam Pittman is now 7-0 in nonconference games, the first Razorback coach to do that since Lou Holtz. The mark of a good program is one that wins the games it’s supposed to win, even when having an off night.

Let’s also note that Petrino coached his 200th game as a college head coach and now has a record of 134-66. He’s pretty good at coaching this sport. Of course, we already knew that.

So don’t panic. Arkansas will be just fine.

We went 7-0 last week to bring the season record to 25-2.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Arkansas 31, Texas A&M 29 — Which Arkansas team will show up at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday night? Will it be the one that looked so organized and confident in wins over Cincinnati and South Carolina or will it be the bumblers who were on the field in Fayetteville last Saturday? The better question is probably which Texas A&M team will show up. Will it be the one that lost 17-14 to Appalachian State on Sept. 10 or the one that looked decent in a 17-9 win over Miami (which came in ranked 13th in the country). Max Johnson threw for 140 yards and a touchdown against Miami as he took over as Aggie quarterback.

Old Dominion 28, Arkansas State 24 — ASU fell to 1-2 with a 44-32 loss to the Memphis Tigers at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. It was the 61st meeting between the two schools. The Red Wolves took a 32-31 lead late in the game but couldn’t hold it. Memphis, which had 547 yards of offense and 25 first downs, led 21-17 at halftime in a game that was close throughout. ASU heads to Virginia this week to battle an Old Dominion squad that shocked Virginia Tech, 20-17, in the season opener. Old Dominion has since lost 39-21 to East Carolina and 16-14 to Virginia. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team.

Southeast Missouri State 23, UCA 21 — UCA is 1-2 following a 31-16 victory over Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho. Bear quarterback Will McElvain was 24 of 29 passing for 259 yards and one touchdown. UCA is back on the road this week to face a 2-1 Southeast Missouri team. SEMO started the season with a 42-10 loss to Iowa State but has bounced back for victories of 34-31 over Southern Illinois and 42-16 over Nicholls. Once more, we give a small advantage to the home team.

Alcorn State 20, UAPB 17 — The Golden Lions dropped to 2-1 following a 63-7 thrashing at the hands of Oklahoma State. Let’s just hope the big check cleared. UAPB had only 230 yards of offense in that game. The Lions travel to Mississippi this week to play Alcorn State. Alcorn began the season with losses of 31-27 to Stephen F. Austin and 52-0 to Tulane but bounced back Saturday for a 30-19 win at McNeese State. For a third consecutive game, let’s give the advantage to the home team.

Ouachita 35, Harding 30 — It’s rare when two Arkansas teams are in the Top 10. On Saturday night at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia, No. 7 Harding will visit No. 9 Ouachita. It’s safe to say that this is one of the biggest small college games ever played in Arkansas. Between them, Ouachita and Harding have won seven of the 10 Great American Conference titles. Ouachita has won five. Harding has won two, including last year. Ouachita roared to a 49-7 halftime lead Saturday in Russellville and wound up beating Arkansas Tech by a final score of 63-14. The Tigers had 629 yards of offense. Ouachita is now 46-4 in its past 50 regular-season games. Two of those four losses have come to Harding. The Bisons led Southern Arkansas only 17-10 at the half but pulled away for a 37-17 victory over the weekend as Will Fitzhugh rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Yet again, the advantage goes to the home team.

Henderson 41, Southern Arkansas 27 — We’ll finally pick a road team. The visiting Reddies will have too much firepower for 1-2 Southern Arkansas in Magnolia on Saturday night. Henderson is 3-0 following a 37-27 victory over UAM. Coach Scott Maxfield earned his 120th victory at Henderson to become the winningest coach in school history.

UAM 43, Arkansas Tech 33 — It’s the 2-1 Boll Weevils vs. the 1-2 Wonder Boys. Not only are the Weevils at home, UAM also appears to have the most talent.

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College football: Week 3

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Isn’t it nice, Razorback fans, to be able to speak these words: “The University of Arkansas is in the AP Top 10.”

It might not last, but it feels good for now. The Razorbacks’ 44-30 victory over South Carolina was another display of Sam Pittman football as Arkansas’ offensive line dominated. That led to 295 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. Raheim Sanders had a career-high 156 yards with two touchdowns.

On defense, meanwhile, the Razorbacks had three takeaways, six sacks and nine tackles for loss.

For the first time since 2003-04, Arkansas has won back-to-back Southeastern Conference openers. Arkansas now leads the series with South Carolina 14-10.

Arkansas led in time of possession 34:37 to 25:23.

Now, Bobby Petrino returns to Fayetteville with his Missouri State Bears.

We were 8-2 on the picks last week, making the record 18-2 for the season. Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Arkansas 43, Missouri State 27 — In an appearance before the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, Paul Finebaum called Petrino a “reformed man” and warned Arkansas not to take this game for granted. Pittman won’t let that happen against an FCS foe. The Bears are off to a 2-0 start with victories of 27-14 over UCA and 35-30 over Tennessee-Martin. The Arkansas players are too young to remember much about the Petrino era in Fayetteville, but most of the fans aren’t. It will be louder than usual for a nonconference game in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

Memphis 31, Arkansas State 29 — ASU is 1-1 following the expected whipping at the hands of Ohio State. The Buckeyes rolled to a 45-12 victory as C.J. Stroud had 351 yards of offense. He completed 16 of his 24 passes and had four touchdowns. Memphis is 1-1. The Tigers fell 49-23 to Mississippi State in their opener and then came back Saturday with a 37-13 victory over Navy. We’ll give Memphis the slight edge in this one since the Tigers are home at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

UCA 24, Idaho State 23 — The Bears must make the long trip to Pocatello, Idaho, to take on an 0-2 Idaho State team that has lost 52-21 to UNLV and 38-7 to San Diego State. UCA is also 0-2. Its loss to Missouri State was followed by a 59-3 whipping at Ole Miss. Both of the Rebel quarterbacks had success against the Bears in a game that the Rebels led 31-0 at halftime. This is a tough one to call as it’s looking like both UCA and Idaho State will have down years.

Oklahoma State 59, UAPB 7 — A Golden Lion football team is 2-0 in the fall for the first time since 2000. UAPB picked on a tiny NAIA independent from Texas called North American last Saturday night and won 76-3. It was the fifth most lopsided victory since the school began football in 1916. Now, as is the case with most FCS schools, UAPB must play a Power 5 team in order to collect the check. It will be ugly. Let’s just hope the Golden Lions don’t get any key players hurt before SWAC play begins.

Harding 30, Southern Arkansas 22 — The defending Great American Conference champions from Harding moved to 2-0 following a 38-13 victory over 1-1 Southeastern Oklahoma, which was the only school to down the Bisons last year in the regular season when Harding went 10-1. The 2-0 Bisons host Southern Arkansas, which fell to 1-1 with a 24-20 loss at 1-1 Southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern outscored the Muleriders 10-0 in the fourth quarter of that game. Harding is now up to No. 7 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll.

Ouachita 34, Arkansas Tech 25 — Ouachita moves up to No. 10 in the AFCA poll following its 45-0 shutout of 0-2 Southern Nazarene. The 2-0 Tigers, who have won five of the 10 GAC titles since the league was formed, are 45-4 in their past 49 regular-season games. Tech should be 2-0 and is much improved from last season. The Wonder Boys lost their opener in double overtime to Southeastern Oklahoma and then bounced back for a 35-13 victory over 0-2 East Central Oklahoma. Quarterback Taye Gatewood threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in that victory. Ouachita saw senior tailback T.J. Cole rush for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Southern Nazarene.

Henderson 33, UAM 28 — The Reddies and Boll Weevils are both 2-0 coming into Saturday night’s game at Arkadelphia. Henderson made its longest road trip of the season and came home with a 51-27 victory over 0-2 Northwestern Oklahoma. Henderson head coach Scott Maxfield is now tied with the legendary Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter with 119 victories at Henderson. Carpenter was the head coach there from 1971-89. UAM was at home Saturday and posted a 40-17 victory over 0-2 Oklahoma Baptist as Jonero Scott rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

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College football: Week 2

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

That was vintage Sam Pittman football at the end.

After Cincinnati made it a one-possession game in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon, the Razorback offense kept the ball on the ground and ran the final 5:49 off the clock.

Run it down their throats. Out-physical them, as coaches like to say.

And thus for the first time since 1974, a ranked Arkansas team has defeated a ranked opponent in a season-opening game. In 1974, it was No. 5 USC that lost at War Memorial Stadium.

The final statistics were close. Arkansas outgained Cincinnati 447-436. Both teams had 23 first downs.

You had to know it was going to be a tough test. Cincinnati is 22-3 since 2020. The three losses have come against Southeastern Conference teams.

Bumper Poole led the Arkansas defense with 13 tackles. He’s now eighth in school history with 362 tackles, and that number should soar in the weeks ahead.

Now, the SEC season starts for Arkansas.

We were 10-0 on the picks opening week. We’ll try to be perfect again this week, though the schedule is more challenging.

Arkansas’ six Great American Conference teams went 5-1 against Oklahoma foes. Arkansas Tech was the lone loser, but it took double overtime for Southeastern Oklahoma to overcome the Wonder Boys.

Arkansas State and UAPB took care of business at home with the Red Wolves easily defeating Grambling (at least the visitors brought their world-class band to Jonesboro) and the Golden Lions overcoming Lane College.

As expected, Bobby Petrino’s nationally ranked Missouri State Bears were too much for the UCA Bears to handle in Conway.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 2:

Arkansas 28, South Carolina 20 — The SEC flexed its muscles opening week, going 13-1 against nonconference foes. If LSU knew how to block for field goals and extra points, it might have been 14-0. South Carolina didn’t have nearly the challenge that Arkansas overcame. The Gamecocks rolled 35-14 against an outmanned Georgia State squad. Arkansas should win this game at home, but in the SEC it’s foolish to take anyone for granted. Pittman doesn’t strike us as the kind of coach who will allow a team to take a win for granted. Expect South Carolina to stay close.

Ohio State 47, Arkansas State 19 — The Red Wolves had jumped out to a 30-0 lead by the second quarter against Grambling. Quarterback James Blackman finished 15 of 20 passing for 210 yards with two passing scores and two rushing scores. Blackman led touchdown drives on four of the first five series. Anyone who saw Ohio State’s victory over Notre Dame knows what to expect in Columbus this Saturday. The key for the Red Wolves is to avoid injuries and make sure to collect that big check. A close game isn’t in the cards.

Ole Miss 41, UCA 17 — The Bears must have the same goals as the Red Wolves: Avoid injuries and make sure to collect the check. After a scoreless first quarter last Thursday night in Conway, Missouri State outscored UCA 17-0 in the second quarter. The UCA secondary gave up 266 yards through the air. It might be 400 yards this week. Ole Miss had a decent first half in a 28-10 season-opening victory over Troy. Our advice to UCA fans: Get there early, crash a party or two in the Grove, take in the scene (which is truly like none other) and have fun.

UAPB 29, North American 22 — The Golden Lions opened the season against much smaller Lane and still struggled before escaping with a 48-41 victory. UAPB had defeated Lane 34-16 last year to start the season. Sophomore running back Kayvon Britten had 237 rushing yards and 297 total yards. He’s now second on the school’s all-time list for single-game yardage. North American is a tiny NAIA program from the Houston area that we’ve frankly never heard of. UAPB, unfortunately, has a way of keeping what should be blowout victories close, as evidenced by last week’s win.

Ouachita 49, Southern Nazarene 25 — The Tigers must find a way to rally following the unexpected death Sunday of senior defensive end Clark Yarbrough. Fortunately, they’re hosting one of the conference’s least talented teams. Southern Nazarene finished 1-10 in 2021. In the rain last Thursday at Shawnee, Ouachita overcame a slow first half to defeat Oklahoma Baptist, 42-32. The game really wasn’t that close as Ouachita had a 30-point lead before putting in the substitutes. The Tiger offense again this year will feature the one-two punch of tailbacks T.J. Cole and Kendel Givens. Cole rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Givens rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Ouachita had 406 rushing yards. Continue to pray for Yarbrough’s mother, other family members, teammates and friends.

Henderson 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 21 — The Reddies got off to a 1-0 start with a 30-13 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma. Sophomore quarterback Landon Ledbetter accounted for 319 yards — 179 passing and 140 rushing. It will be the longest road trip of the season for Henderson, but Northwestern is among the conference’s weakest squads. Southern Arkansas hung 62 points on the Rangers last week en route to a 62-31 victory. Look for Ledbetter to pile up even larger numbers this week. Northwestern finished 2-9 a year ago.

Harding 18, Southeastern Oklahoma 16 — Harding is the defending GAC champion, and the Bisons were picked by the conference’s coaches to repeat that feat. Last year, Southeastern was the only team to defeat both Harding and Ouachita. Harding finished the regular season 10-1. Ouachita finished 9-2. Southeastern again appears to be the best of the six Oklahoma schools in the GAC and could win this game in Searcy. Harding opened the season with a 29-12 victory over East Central Oklahoma as Cole Keylon completed three touchdown passes. We’ll go with Harding in a tight one, but don’t be surprised if Southeastern has Harding’s number for a second consecutive season.

Oklahoma Baptist 36, UAM 31 — Oklahoma Baptist has a freshman quarterback out of Moore, Okla., who piled up huge numbers as a prep athlete and looked good at times against Ouachita. Meanwhile, UAM won its opener by a final score of 49-26 against Southern Nazarene as quarterback Demilion Brown rushed for 149 yards and passed for 228 yards. Brown must have an even bigger night for UAM to defeat an Oklahoma Baptist squad that’s filled with young talent.

Arkansas Tech 27, East Central Oklahoma 24 — The Wonder Boys showed improvement in that 41-34 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma in two overtimes. It has been a long dry streak for the conference’s largest school based on enrollment. Tech was 4-7 in 2021. We think Tech is going to be much improved this year, and East Central may find that out the hard way Saturday night in Russellville.

Southern Arkansas 40, Southwestern Oklahoma 32 — The Muleriders have a new coach and seemingly new life after going 4-7 last season. The 62 points scored in that victory over Northwestern Oklahoma were the most points ever posted by a Mulerider team in a season opener. This week’s opponent went 0-11 a year ago. The Muleriders should be able to overcome the long trip to Weatherford and move to 2-0. A Sept. 17 showdown at Harding looms.

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College football: Week 1

Monday, August 29th, 2022

Finally, college football season has arrived.

And it won’t be the usual boring nonconference opponent for the Razorbacks. No, ESPN will telecast a battle of two ranked teams in Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon. It could prove to be quite a test for the Hogs.

On Thursday night, meanwhile, former Hog head man Bobby Petrino brings his Missouri State Bears to Conway to take on the University of Central Arkansas Bears.

Arkansas State and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff are both home on Saturday. ASU hosts Grambling in Jonesboro, and UAPB hosts tiny Lane College in Pine Bluff.

All of the Great American Conference schools start the season Thursday night. The six Arkansas schools play the six Oklahoma schools. Remember, all games are conference games, and there are no bye weeks, just a grueling 11 consecutive weeks of conference play.

Four of the six Arkansas GAC schools are on the road. The two schools that are home are Henderson State University and Southern Arkansas University.

Let’s get to the picks:

Arkansas 31, Cincinnati 27 — Hopes are high on the hill as Arkansas comes off a 9-4 season. The No. 19 Razorbacks will have their hands full against No. 23 Cincinnati. There’s a deeper receiving corps this year for quarterback KJ Jefferson. That could make the difference if the Razorbacks get in a shootout Saturday afternoon. At the start of the season last year, offensive coordinator Kendal Briles was still trying to figure out how to best use Jefferson’s talents. Now, he knows.

Arkansas State 40, Grambling 24 — The 2021 season was a nightmare in Jonesboro as the Red Wolves went 2-10. Coach Butch Jones has shown he can recruit, though, so there should be improvement in 2022. Just how much improvement is anyone’s guess. Last year was the worst record in Jones’ career as a head coach. He was 85-54 as head coach at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Tennessee. The only Red Wolf victories in 2021 were over UCA and Louisiana-Monroe. Remember, this is an ASU program that played in a bowl game every year from 2011-19.

Missouri State 30, UCA 22 — UCA teams qualified for the playoffs in three of the past six seasons. Last year wasn’t one of them as the Bears slumped to a 5-6 record. Four of the six losses were by 10 points or less. The roster has been revamped. There are a ton of question marks as UCA begins play in the ASUN Conference. Quarterback Breylin Smith is among those who are gone. Petrino obviously would love to start the season with a victory in the state he once called home.

UAPB 32, Lane College 14 — The Golden Lions began a less-than-stellar 2021 season with a 34-16 victory over Lane. You should expect a similar margin this year. The Lions finished the 2021 season with a 2-9 record as the team was beset by injuries. The only other victory came against Grambling. UAPB returns six offensive and five defensive starters.

Harding 29, East Central Oklahoma 15 — Last season saw Harding win its second GAC title with an 11-2 record. The Bisons reached the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs and are picked by the GAC coaches to repeat as champions. Harding’s flexbone offense averaged 390.1 rushing yards per game last year, the highest average in Division II since 2014. But Harding must replace the conference’s all-time leading rusher, Cole Chancey.

Ouachita 33, Oklahoma Baptist 23 — Ouachita came into last season having won three consecutive GAC titles and five of the previous nine conference crowns. The Tigers return 10 offensive starters and six defensive starters off a 9-2 team. Ouachita has a combined regular-season record of 40-4 the previous four seasons. The coaches picked the Tigers second and Oklahoma Baptist fifth in the preseason poll. Ouachita will have a new quarterback in Riley Harms, a transfer from Kearney State in Nebraska.

UAM 43, Southern Nazarene 39 — The Boll Weevils went 5-6 in 2021. They return seven offensive and four defensive starters for head coach Hud Jackson, who is 39-71 in 10 seasons at the school. The preseason poll has the Boll Weevils seventh and Southern Nazarene last. UAM defeated Southern Nazarene by a final score of 30-23 in the opener a year ago. The key to the first game and the season will be the play of UAM quarterback Demilon Brown.

Southeastern Oklahoma 36, Arkansas Tech 19 — Southeastern was the only GAC team to defeat Harding last year and one of the two teams (along with Harding) to defeat Ouachita. Southeastern is picked third in the preseason poll; Tech is ninth. The Wonder Boys finished 4-7 last year after starting 0-4. Tech has an experienced team, however, with seven offensive and eight defensive starters returning. After being picked 11th in the 2021 poll, the Savage Storm went 9-3 and won the Live United Bowl against Emporia State.

Henderson 37, Southwestern Oklahoma 28 — The Reddies finished 9-2 last year and would have shared the conference title with Harding had they defeated Ouachita in the Battle of the Ravine. Ouachita kicked a 53-yard field goal late for a 31-28 victory. Henderson returns six offensive and nine defensive starters. Quarterback Adam Morse and All-American wide receiver L’liot Curry are gone. Henderson is picked fourth and Southwestern is picked 11th in the preseason poll.

Southern Arkansas 25, Northwestern Oklahoma 16 — Brad Smiley will be SAU’s third head coach in three seasons. The Muleriders were 4-7 a year ago and lost starting quarterback Hayden Mallory. SAU still has Jariq Sales, the 2021 GAC Freshman of the Year, who rushed for 1,475 yards and nine touchdowns. SAU was eighth and Northwestern was 10th in the preseason poll.

 

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College football: Week 13

Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Isn’t it nice to be competitive again in the really big games?

Alabama’s 42-35 victory over Arkansas on Saturday had everything you could ask for in a college football game. The CBS crew seemed thrilled to finally be calling a game in Tuscaloosa that wasn’t a blowout.

How far has this Arkansas program come in a short time?

Consider this: In the previous four games between these two schools, Alabama won by a total of 156 points. It was 52-3 last year.

KJ Jefferson threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns.

Treylon Burks had 179 receiving yards and two scores. That puts Burks at No. 9 on the Arkansas single-game list.

Unfortunately for Arkansas, Alabama’s Bryce Young passed for a school record 559 yards and five touchdowns. The previous best by an Alabama quarterback had been Scott Hunter’s 484 yards against Auburn in 1969.

The most yards allowed by an Arkansas defense were 508 by Dak Prescott for Mississippi State in 2015.

Alabama has now won 15 consecutive games against Arkansas. The Tide reached 10 victories in a season for a 14th consecutive year.

Nick Saban is 18-2 against Arkansas. His last loss to a Razorback team was the 2002 Miracle on Markham when Saban was head coach at LSU.

How impressive was the fact that Arkansas stayed in this game until the very end?

Consider these facts:

— Alabama has a 70-17 record against nationally ranked teams since 2008.

— Saban is 266-66-1 in 26 seasons as a head coach. He’s 96-8 in home games at Alabama. Alabama is 61-2 in its past 63 games in Tuscaloosa.

Truly, it’s a new day in Fayetteville.

I was 4-1 on the picks last week to make the record 73-20 for the 2021 season.

Here are this week’s games:

Arkansas 31, Missouri 23 — Missouri beat Florida in overtime last Saturday, and just like that, Dan Mullen is gone. The Tigers elected to go for two after scoring in overtime and converted for the win, 24-23. Missouri comes into Friday’s game at Fayetteville 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference. This is a game the Razorbacks should win. Any realistic Arkansas fan would have taken an 8-4 record in a heartbeat coming into this 2021 season.

Arkansas State 22, Texas State 20 — A long season will come to an end in Jonesboro on Saturday afternoon. The Red Wolves fell to 2-9 overall and 1-6 in Sun Belt Conference play with a 28-20 loss in Atlanta last Saturday to Georgia State. ASU finished with 270 yards of total offense but had a negative three rushing yards. Georgia State rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns. This is a winnable game for the Red Wolves as Texas State limps in with a 3-8 record. The wins were by scores of 23-17 over Florida International, 33-31 over South Alabama and 27-19 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 29-20 to Baylor, 42-24 to Incarnate Word, 59-21 to Eastern Michigan, 31-28 to Troy, 28-16 to Georgia State, 45-0 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-30 to Georgia Southern and 35-21 to Coastal Carolina. In a battle of two struggling teams, let’s give a slight advantage to the home team.

Harding 24, Northwest Missouri 19 — It seems as if Northwest Missouri is the team that always knocks Harding out of the NCAA Division II playoffs. This might be the year that changes. Harding improved to 11-1 Saturday in Searcy with a first-round playoff victory over Washburn. It wasn’t as close as the 30-14 final score indicated. Harding dominated. The Bisons outgained Washburn 409-38 over the first three quarters. Harding kept the ball for 47:24 of the 60 minutes and had 29 first downs to just seven for Washburn. The Bisons had 419 rushing yards; Washburn had minus two. The Bisons led 20-7 at the half and 27-7 after three quarters. Cole Chancey carried the ball 41 times on the beautiful November afternoon for 176 yards. Northwest Missouri is 10-1 with its one loss coming to none other than Washburn, 17-16. Since then, the Bearcats haven’t had a close game. They’ve defeated Northeastern Oklahoma 59-7, Nebraska-Kearney 66-13, Missouri Southern 49-7, Emporia State 35-7 and Central Washington 50-21.

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College football: Week 12

Monday, November 15th, 2021

The Battle for the Golden Boot. The Battle of the Ravine. Even Arkansas State’s victory.

They all came down to late field goals. It was quite a Saturday for teams from this state.

Cam Little kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime to power Arkansas to a 16-13 victory at LSU. It was his third field goal of the game. The last one followed a Montaric Brown interception on LSU’s first overtime possession. Little has made 17 field goals this season.

Little has been such a pleasant surprise that he could probably give Sarah Huckabee Sanders a run for her money in the governor’s race if the election were this November rather than next November. As it is, the Razorbacks move to 7-3 overall and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference with two games remaining in the regular season.

Arkansas broke a five-game losing streak in the series against LSU and has its first seven-win season since 2016. Sam Pittman evened his record at 10-10 as the Razorback head coach.

LSU falls to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the SEC under its lame-duck coach. The Tigers outgained the Hogs 308-218, but Arkansas won the takeaway battle 3-0.

Alabama looms in this week’s CBS game.

I was 4-3 on the picks last week to make the season record 69-19.

Here are this week’s games:

Alabama 35, Arkansas 26 — Arkansas has the ability to hang around for at least three quarters in this one. This is a good Alabama team, but it’s not the best team in the nation. The Tide warmed up last Saturday with a 59-3 nonconference win over 1-9 New Mexico State. Alabama is now 9-1. Bryce Young was 21 of 23 passing for 270 yards and five touchdowns. Alabama led 49-3 at the half. Arkansas must hope that the Tide is looking ahead to the Iron Bowl.

Georgia State 33, Arkansas State 31 — The Red Wolves downed Louisiana-Monroe by a final score of 27-24 after making a 42-yard field goal with 1:17 left on the clock. ASU scored 17 of the game’s final 20 points. An interception with 20 seconds left sealed the victory. It was ASU’s first win since Sept. 4 and ended an eight-game losing streak. The Red Wolves are now 2-8 overall and 1-5 in the Sun Belt Conference. Louisiana-Monroe fell to 4-6 and 2-5. This week’s opponent, Georgia State, is 5-5. The wins have come by scores of 20-9 over Charlotte, 55-21 over Louisiana-Monroe, 28-16 over Texas State, 21-14 over Georgia Southern and 42-40 over Coastal Carolina. The losses have been by scores of 43-10 to Army, 59-17 to North Carolina, 34-24 to Auburn, 45-16 to Appalachian State and 21-17 to Louisiana-Lafayette. The game is in Atlanta.

UCA 28, Tarleton State 25 — The Bears fell to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play with a 27-14 loss to Stephen F. Austin, which improved to 7-3 and 3-2. UCA’s offense was held to a season low of 304 yards. Breylin Smith was 17 of 27 passing for 163 yards. UCA makes a road trip to Stephenville, Texas, this weekend to battle Tarleton State. The game will determine which team has a winning season and which one has a losing season since Tarleton is also 5-5. Its wins have come by scores of 54-7 over Fort Lewis, 40-21 over New Mexico Highlands, 41-20 over Dixie State, 17-14 over Midwestern State and 42-21 over Lamar. The losses were by scores of 20-10 to Stephen F. Austin, 40-35 to Southern Utah, 20-3 to Eastern Kentucky, 45-27 to Sam Houston State and 29-3 to Abilene Christian.

Alabama A&M 30, UAPB 20 — The Golden Lions will end a disappointing season with a trip to Huntsville, Ala., to take on Alabama A&M. UAPB fell to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the SWAC last Saturday with a 37-7 loss to Florida A&M in Pine Bluff. The Rattlers are 8-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play in their first year in the SWAC. Florida A&M finished the game with 570 yards of offense. Alabama A&M is 6-3 overall and 4-3 in SWAC play. The wins have been by scores of 42-41 over South Carolina State, 30-27 over Bethune-Cookman, 45-35 over Tuskegee, 42-28 over Alabama State, 42-14 over Mississippi Valley State and 52-49 over Texas Southern. The losses were by scores of 37-28 to Grambling, 61-15 to Jackson State and 35-31 to Florida A&M.

Harding 27, Washburn 19 — Harding is 10-1 and the Great American Conference champion following a 31-0 victory at 4-7 Arkansas Tech. The Bisons led just 7-0 at halftime but scored on their first four possessions of the second half. Cole Chancey rushed for 210 yards on 28 carries with 181 of those yards coming in the second half. Harding hosts a first-round NCAA Division II playoff game Saturday afternoon in Searcy. Washburn is 9-2. Harding has the ability to go deep into the playoffs because teams from outside the GAC haven’t seen anything like the Bisons’ double-slot option offense.

 

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College football: Week 11

Monday, November 8th, 2021

The kick veered badly to the left, Mike Leach announced an open tryout for kickers at Mississippi State and Arkansas became bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Arkansas 31, Mississippi State 28.

It was a fun finish as the Razorbacks drove 75 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, which came with just 21 seconds remaining. The Hogs moved to 6-3 overall and 2-3 in the Southeastern Conference while Mississippi State fell to 5-4 and 3-3.

With LSU down this year, an 8-4 finish now seems possible. It’s remarkable how far this program has come in two years.

Meanwhile, it’s Battle of the Ravine week in Arkansas. The Battle of the Ravine is to small-college football what the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn is to FBS football — an intense rivalry that divides families right down the middle and is talked about 365 days a year.

It’s the only college football game in the country in which the visiting team walks to a road game rather than taking a bus or airplane. I still believe that one of these years ESPN will decide to bring “College GameDay” to Arkadelphia to experience that walk.

Henderson will walk across U.S. Highway 67 this year to take on Ouachita at 1 p.m. at Cliff Harris Stadium. Both teams are nationally ranked. The two teams have a combined record of 17-3. In other words, there will be some good football played Saturday afternoon.

Two years ago, Sports Illustrated devoted eight pages to the Battle of the Ravine, the largest spread in SI for a sports event in this state that I can remember. This rivalry deserves that kind of national attention.

Every Arkansan should experience the Battle of the Ravine at least once.

I was 8-2 on my picks last week, making the record 65-16 for the year.

Arkansas 29, LSU 27 — Let’s stick with the Hogs for another week even though the game is in Baton Rouge. They certainly showed their grit in Fayetteville last Saturday afternoon. It was the latest winning touchdown for an Arkansas team since a Greg Childs touchdown reception with 15 seconds left against Georgia in 2010. The Hogs are now 18-13-1 in the series against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs missed all three field goal attempts. Cam Little, an Arkansas freshman, made field goals of 51, 48 and 46 yards. He’s the first Razorback kicker since 1997 to make three field goals of 45 or more yards in the same game. LSU may have a lame duck in Coach O, but the Tigers didn’t play like it Saturday against Alabama. The Tide (8-1, 5-1) struggled to beat LSU (4-5, 2-4). It wasn’t over until the final play when an LSU pass fell incomplete in the end zone, allowing Alabama to escape with a 20-14 victory. It should be a close, exciting game in Death Valley this Saturday night.

Henderson 35, Ouachita 25 — Henderson is 9-1, and Ouachita is 8-2. With a victory, the Reddies will clinch at least a share of the Great American Conference championship and a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Ouachita, which had won the previous three GAC titles, saw its hopes for a fourth consecutive crown go up in flames with a 35-21 loss to 8-2 Southeastern Oklahoma. It ended a 19-game conference winning streak for Ouachita at Cliff Harris Stadium. The Tigers, of course, would love nothing more than to spoil Henderson’s party. Ouachita has won the past four Battles of the Ravine. Henderson stayed on track for a GAC title when David Heaton kicked a 43-yard field goal in Shawnee, Okla., as time expired for a 36-34 victory over 6-4 Oklahoma Baptist. Henderson began the winning drive 99 yards away with no timeouts and 2:14 on the clock after a goal-line stand by its defense. It was truly the stuff that championship teams are made of. Reddie quarterback Adam Morse was 28 of 50 passing for 373 yards and two touchdowns.

Harding 51, Arkansas Tech 22 — The Bisons are 9-1 (having only lost to that same Southeastern Oklahoma squad that knocked off Ouachita) and on a roll. They beat 0-10 Southwestern Oklahoma by a final score of 55-7 Saturday, rushing for 459 yards and seven touchdowns. Six different Bisons scored first-half touchdowns as Harding sprinted to a 41-0 halftime lead. They certainly won’t let off the gas this Saturday with at least a share of the GAC title on the line. Arkansas Tech improved to 4-6 with a 56-21 win over 1-9 Northwestern Oklahoma. Senior quarterback Jack Lindsey passed for 185 yards and three touchdowns for the Wonder Boys. Tech led 35-0 at halftime.

Southern Arkansas 21, UAM 19 — Both SAU and UAM are 4-6 entering the final game of the season. Southern Arkansas beat 1-9 Southern Nazarene 31-10 as freshman Jariq Scales rushed for 195 yards and one touchdown. UAM, meanwhile, lost 35-10 to 6-4 East Central Oklahoma as East Central jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead. The Boll Weevils have lost four consecutive games. This week’s game is in Magnolia. Give a slight advantage to the home team.

Louisiana-Monroe 40, Arkansas State 37 — This is a winnable game for the Red Wolves, but it’s hard to have much confidence in a team that’s now 1-8 with eight consecutive losses. The Red Wolves fell 48-14 to Appalachian State (7-2, 4-1) in Jonesboro on Saturday. ASU had just 199 yards of offense in that game. Louisiana-Monroe is 4-5 overall but 4-1 at home, and the game is in Monroe. The victories have come by scores of 12-7 over Jackson State, 29-16 over Troy, 31-28 over Liberty and 41-31 over South Alabama. The losses have been by scores of 45-10 to Kentucky, 59-6 to Coastal Carolina, 55-21 to Georgia State, 59-28 to Appalachian State and 27-19 to Texas State.

Stephen F. Austin 32, UCA 26 — The Bears are 5-4 following a 63-3 homecoming win over an NAIA opponent, Texas Wesleyan. By halftime against the outmatched visitors, UCA already had 49 points, 538 yards of total offense and 410 yards through the air. This is a Texas Wesleyan team that goes to Batesville to play Lyon this week, if that gives you any idea what kind of mismatch this was. Stephen F. Austin is 6-3 with wins of 20-10 over Tarleton State, 58-13 over Mississippi Valley State, 61-13 over Lincoln University of California, 37-20 over Dixie State of Utah, 41-27 over Abilene Christian and 31-17 over Eastern Kentucky. The losses were by scores of 28-22 to Texas Tech, 21-20 to Sam Houston and 38-24 to Jacksonville State.

Florida A&M 41, UAPB 20 — The UAPB losing streak ends at seven games. The Golden Lions are now 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the SWAC after beating Grambling (3-6, 2-4) on Saturday afternoon in Pine Bluff by a final score of 33-26. The opponent will be much tougher this week. Florida A&M comes to Pine Bluff with a record of 7-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play. The Rattler wins have been by scores of 34-7 over Fort Valley State, 28-0 over Alabama State, 30-7 over South Carolina State, 35-31 over Alabama A&M, 31-28 over Mississippi Valley State, 26-3 over Grambling and 29-17 over Southern University. The losses were by scores of 7-6 to Jackson State and 38-17 to South Florida.

 

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College football: Week 10

Monday, November 1st, 2021

College football fans in Arkansas have plenty of choices this Saturday. And the weather promises to be perfect.

There are college games in 10 Arkansas cities — Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Conway, Pine Bluff, Arkadelphia, Searcy, Russellville, Monticello, Little Rock and Batesville.

Never can I remember that many college games in the state on the same day.

Both FBS teams from the state play at home.

Both FCS teams from Arkansas are home.

Four of the six NCAA Division II programs have home games.

Hendrix, which competes in NCAA Division III, plays at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.

And Lyon, which plays in the NAIA, is home in Batesville.

I went 8-1 on the picks last week, am 14-1 during the past two weeks and now have a season record of 57-14.

Let’s get to the predictions for this week’s games:

Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 29 — The Hogs got a needed break. They had an easy nonconference game at War Memorial Stadium against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and that was followed by an open date. So it will have been three weeks since the previous Southeastern Conference contest when the ball is kicked off in Fayetteville this Saturday afternoon. Given that time for injuries to heal, along with the fact that the Razorbacks play at home, don’t be surprised if they manage to beat Mississippi State. This is a Mississippi State team that’s getting better. In Starkville on Saturday, the Bulldogs shocked Kentucky by a final score of 31-17. The Wildcats fell to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the SEC while Mississippi State improved to 5-3 and 3-2. Will Rogers was 36 of 39 passing for 344 yards for the Bulldogs.

Appalachian State 40, Arkansas State 28 — The misery continued for Arkansas State last Saturday with a 31-13 loss at South Alabama. The Jaguars ran off 28 consecutive points to start the game, scoring touchdowns on each of their first four possessions. South Alabama outgained ASU 352-70 in the first half. The Red Wolves fell to 1-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. South Alabama improved to 5-3 and 2-3. Appalachian State brings a 6-2 record to Jonesboro this week. The victories have come by scores of 33-19 over East Carolina, 44-10 over Elon, 31-30 over Marshall, 45-16 over Georgia State, 30-27 over Coastal Carolina and 59-28 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 25-23 to Miami and 41-13 to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Grambling 33, UAPB 18 — The Golden Lions are 1-7 after losing 59-17 to Texas Southern on Saturday. UAPB led 3-0 early. Skyler Perry was one of the few bright spots for the Golden Lions as he was 25 of 37 passing for 311 yards. Grambling brings a 3-5 record to Pine Bluff on Saturday. The three victories were by scores of 16-10 over Tennessee State, 37-28 over Alabama A&M and 34-20 over Texas Southern. The losses have come by scores of 37-0 to Southern Mississippi, 45-0 to Houston, 24-10 to Prairie View A&M, 24-20 to Alcorn State and 26-3 to Florida A&M.

UCA 64, Texas Wesleyan 10 — Conference realignment created scheduling scrambles, which means the FCS Bears play an NAIA team in Conway (a team that will later play Lyon if that gives you any idea). UCA will be able to name the score Saturday. The Bears evened their record at 4-4 last Saturday with a 38-14 win over Jacksonville State in Alabama. UCA intercepted three passes and returned two of them for touchdowns. On offense, Darius Hale rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Breylin Smith was 22 of 35 passing for 229 yards and one touchdown. Texas Wesleyan is 6-2, but the wins have come against the likes of Arizona Christian, Oklahoma Panhandle, Wayland Baptist, Southwestern Assemblies of God, Louisiana College and Texas College. The losses were to Ottawa University out of Arizona and Langston.

Ouachita 27, Southeastern Oklahoma 24 — Ouachita, Harding and Henderson remain tied for the Great American Conference lead with just two weeks to go. All three teams are 8-1. Ouachita has the stiffest test of the bunch this week as the Tigers host 7-2 Southeastern Oklahoma (the only team to beat Harding so far this season) at Cliff Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Ouachita, which has won 35 of its past 36 GAC games, trailed by 11 points near the end of the third quarter Saturday at East Central Oklahoma. Senior Hayden Lassiter from Warren returned an interception for a touchdown on the final play of the quarter. That began a run of 26 consecutive points by the Tigers and resulted in a 43-28 victory over 5-3 East Central. T.J. Cole had 226 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 32 carries for Ouachita. Freshman Kendel Givens out of Little Rock Christian had his 20th rushing touchdown of the season.

Henderson 39, Oklahoma Baptist 36 — Oklahoma Baptist, which is 6-3, has the talent to give the Reddies all they can handle in Shawnee on Saturday. The Reddies defeated 1-8 Southern Nazarene by a final score of 34-3 in Arkadelphia last Saturday. Senior quarterback Adam Morse passed for 237 yards and rushed for another 66. The Reddie defense added a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown. Neither Ouachita nor Henderson can afford to look ahead just yet to the Nov. 13 Battle of the Ravine.

Harding 57, Southwestern Oklahoma 19 — The Bisons are on cruise control. They get 0-9 Southwestern Oklahoma in Searcy this Saturday. Harding defeated 1-8 Northwestern Oklahoma 73-14 last Saturday. The Bisons rushed for a school record 674 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns. Harding scored touchdowns on six of its seven first-half possessions, added a 54-yard field goal and led 45-0 at the half. The Bisons had three freshmen rush for more than 100 yards each. This week’s game should play out pretty much the same way.

Arkansas Tech 17, Northwestern Oklahoma 16 — The Wonder Boys kept Southwestern Oklahoma winless as Jesus Zizumbo kicked a 36-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining for a 15-14 road win last Saturday. Tech scored nine points in the final five minutes of that game. There’s another winnable game this week for the Wonder Boys, who improved to 3-6.

Southern Arkansas 37, Southern Nazarene 25 — The Muleriders fell to 3-6 with a 44-40 loss in Magnolia last Saturday to Oklahoma Baptist. The visitors scored two touchdowns in the final 7:32 after Southern Arkansas had gone up by 10 points at 40-30 with 10:49 left in the game.

East Central Oklahoma 23, UAM 15 — The Boll Weevils have lost three consecutive games and are now 4-5. Southeastern Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-0 lead against UAM last week and never looked back, cruising to a 34-14 victory.

 

 

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College football: Week 9

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

Saturday was a wonderful day for the state of Arkansas. No, the game wasn’t close. We knew it wouldn’t be.

But more than 40,000 Arkansans were able to witness a University of Arkansas football team play an in-state opponent for the first time since 1944. The Hogs are now 38-3-3 all-time against in-state opponents with hopefully an annual game against Arkansas State University occurring in the future. A Labor Day weekend festival celebrating all things Arkansas — music, food and more — with that game as its centerpiece would be good for our state. It’s time.

As it was, having the Razorbacks break the 77-year scheduling drought against an HBCU sent a powerful message of unity. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has been underfunded for years, and its prominent alumni haven’t always received the credit they deserve for helping build this state. Last Saturday’s game was about so much more than football.

As for football, Little Rock games continue to be good for the Razorbacks. Arkansas is 169-69-5 in the capital city through the decades and 152-62-4 at War Memorial Stadium.

The 45-3 victory over UAPB marked the 18th consecutive Razorback victory over an FCS opponent, dating back to that memorable 10-3 loss to the Citadel on Labor Day weekend 1992.

The 5-3 Razorbacks get a well-deserved break this Saturday. It’s a chance to heal up before the SEC stretch run against Mississippi State, LSU, Alabama and Missouri.

I went 6-0 on the picks last week to move to 49-13 for the season. Here are the selections for this Saturday’s games:

South Alabama 34, Arkansas State 32 — ASU fell to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in Sun Belt Conference play last Thursday night in Jonesboro with a 28-27 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns burned the final 10:26 off the clock with the game-sealing drive. This is the worst seven-game start for an ASU squad since the 2000 team went 1-10. The Red Wolves go to Mobile this Saturday to take on a South Alabama squad that’s 4-3 overall and 3-1 in home games. The victories came by scores of 31-7 over Southern Mississippi, 22-19 over Bowling Green, 28-21 over Alcorn State and 41-14 over Georgia Southern. The losses were by scores of 20-18 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 33-31 to Texas State and 41-31 to Louisiana-Monroe. Look for ASU to hang close with a chance to win at the end.

Jacksonville State 24, UCA 21 — The Bears head to the hills of north Alabama to take on Jacksonville State on Saturday. Jacksonville upset Florida State 20-17 in Tallahassee back on Sept. 11, The Gamecocks’ other two victories were by scores of 27-24 over North Alabama and 28-24 over Stephen F. Austin. Jacksonville State is 3-4 with the losses having come by scores of 31-0 to Alabama-Birmingham, 34-31 to Tennessee-Martin, 31-6 to Kennesaw State and 42-7 to Sam Houston State. The Bears also are 3-4 following a 49-38 victory last Saturday over 2-5 Lamar in Beaumont, Texas. UCA finished with 541 yards of offense, with 350 of it coming on the ground. Darius Hale had 254 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 22 carries. It was the first time for a Bear to have more than 200 yards rushing since 2015.

Texas Southern 14, UAPB 13 — The loss at War Memorial Stadium dropped UAPB to 1-6. The Golden Lions travel to Houston on Saturday to battle a 2-5 Texas Southern team. The two wins were by scores of 69-0 over North American and 35-31 over Southern University. The five losses were by scores of 40-17 to Prairie View A&M, 66-7 to Baylor, 48-34 to Rice, 34-20 to Grambling and 44-27 to Alcorn State.

Henderson 50, Southern Nazarene 19 — The Reddies are in a three-way tie with Ouachita and Harding for the Great American Conference lead. All three are 7-1 with three weeks left in the season. Henderson survived in overtime at Arkansas Tech last Saturday. Tech settled for a field goal on its possession in overtime. Henderson’s Adam Morse then threw a 10-yard touchdown pass for the win, 41-38. Henderson outgained Tech 634-437. More than 500 of those yards — 522 to be exact — came on the ground.

Ouachita 31, East Central Oklahoma 22 — Since having its 30-game GAC winning streak broken by Harding on the final Saturday of September, Ouachita has outscored its next four opponents 170-34. The Tigers beat Southern Arkansas 42-7 last Saturday as T.J. Cole and Kendel Givens had three rushing touchdowns each. Givens, a freshman out of Little Rock Christian, has 19 rushing touchdowns in eight games. Ouachita led the Muleriders 28-7 at halftime and never looked back.

Harding 44, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons moved to 7-1 with all 340 yards of offense coming on the ground in a 64-7 victory over UAM. Harding led the Boll Weevils 37-7 at halftime. Fourteen Bison running backs gained yardage. Harding takes its double-slot option offense to Northwestern Oklahoma this week to battle an opponent that’s 1-7. Harding can pretty much name the score in this one.

Southeastern Oklahoma 39, UAM 30 — Southeastern fell out of a tie for the conference lead when it lost 43-37 to Oklahoma Baptist last Saturday. The Savage Storm is now 6-2 and should bounce back at home in Durant, Okla., against a 4-4 squad of Boll Weevils.

Arkansas Tech 28, Southwestern Oklahoma 26 — The Wonder Boys are just 2-6 but played Henderson well and now get to take on the GAC’s only team without a win, 0-8 Southwestern Oklahoma. Southwestern lost 44-34 to East Central Oklahoma last weekend.

Oklahoma Baptist 40, Southern Arkansas 33 — The loss at Ouachita dropped the Muleriders to 3-5. They’re home in Magnolia this week but must face one of the most talented teams in the league, 5-3 Oklahoma Baptist.

 

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College football: Week 8

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

For Razorback fans, it was a September to remember.

It has been an October to forget.

Auburn’s 38-23 victory before a crowd of 73,370 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium last Saturday dropped the Hogs to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference following that 4-0 September start.

Arkansas has now lost six consecutive games in the series with Auburn and eight of the past nine. The only SEC team with a longer winning streak over Arkansas is Alabama at 14 games.

Arkansas managed to lose by double digits despite outgaining Auburn 460-427. With 232 rushing yards, the Razorbacks topped 230 yards on the ground for the fifth time this year.

The Hogs were missing three defensive starters due to injury. The good news is that the Razorbacks have three weeks between the Auburn loss and the next SEC game.

I went 4-2 on the picks last week to move to 43-13 for the season. Of those 13 misses, four of them have been Razorback games. I picked them to lose against Texas and Texas A&M. I then turned around and picked Arkansas to win against Ole Miss and Auburn.

Oh well. At least we know how this Saturday’s game at War Memorial Stadium will turn out.

Here are the picks for this week’s games involving Arkansas teams:

Arkansas 64, UAPB 7 — No, the game isn’t going to be close. Who cares? This is history. Arkansas plays an in-state school in football for the first time since 1944. The weather is going to be beautiful. Take some kids to see the Hogs for the first time. Buy them too many hot dogs. Support an HBCU. Enjoy both bands. Take them to the Arkansas State Fair afterward. UAPB fell to 1-5 last Saturday with its fifth consecutive loss, 34-7 to Southern University. The Golden Lions had only 207 yards of offense and committed five turnovers. Again, who cares? You get to watch the UAPB band. You can enjoy barbecue out in War Memorial Park before or after the 11 a.m. kickoff. Have fun.

Louisiana-Lafayette 35, Arkansas State 29 — The Coach Butch Jones era is off to a rough start in Jonesboro. Since beating UCA in the opener Sept. 4, the Red Wolves have lost five consecutive games — 55-50 to Memphis, 52-3 to Washington, 41-34 to Tulsa, 59-33 to Georgia Southern and 52-20 to Coastal Carolina. ASU has had two weeks to prepare for Thursday night’s home game against Louisiana-Lafayette, but it likely won’t matter. Since losing their opener to Texas in Austin, the Ragin’ Cajuns have reeled off five consecutive victories — 27-24 over Nicholls, 49-14 over Ohio, 28-20 over Georgia Southern, 20-18 over South Alabama and 41-13 over Appalachian State.

UCA 31, Lamar 21 — The Bears fell to 2-4 Saturday with a 38-35 loss in Conway to 5-1 Eastern Kentucky. UCA led 28-10 at halftime and then collapsed. A 38-yard field goal attempt with 2:14 left in the game that would have tied the score was blocked. UCA lost despite outgaining its opponent 481-346. Eastern Kentucky didn’t take its first lead until there was just 7:39 left in the game. The Bears go on the road this Saturday and should get well in Beaumont against 2-4 Lamar. The two Lamar victories came by scores of 47-3 against North American and 17-10 against Northern Colorado. The four losses have been by scores of 54-0 to Texas-San Antonio, 56-0 to Abilene Christian, 41-7 to Sam Houston and 24-17 in a second game against Abilene Christian.

Harding 40, UAM 12 — There are four weeks left in the Great American Conference season, and there are four teams tied at the top — Harding, Ouachita, Henderson and Southeastern Oklahoma. They’re all 6-1. This should be a fun final month of GAC football. Harding, which ended Ouachita’s 30-game GAC winning streak on the final Saturday of September, went to Arkadelphia last Saturday and knocked Henderson from the ranks of the undefeated, 46-21. Henderson had come in ranked No. 9 in the country, and Harding was No. 20. Now, Harding is No. 12 and Henderson is No. 20. Harding scored four touchdowns in a 13-minute span at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium to turn a 9-7 lead into a 36-7 advantage in the third quarter. Cole Chancey led the Bisons with 231 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Ouachita 37, Southern Arkansas 27 — Since losing to Harding, No. 7 Ouachita has outscored its next three opponents 128-27. The Tigers had their most complete game of the season in Monticello last Saturday afternoon as they cruised to a 31-0 halftime lead, rested the starters in the second half and wound up winning 34-0. That secured Ouachita’s 13th consecutive winning season. Ouachita is 28-1 in conference games since the start of the 2018 season. T.J. Cole led the Tigers in Monticello with 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Tiger defense had five sacks. Three of Ouachita’s final four games are at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia.

Henderson 45, Arkansas Tech 25 — Expect the Reddies to bounce back in a big way at Arkansas Tech on Saturday afternoon. The Wonder Boys are 2-5 following a 34-17 loss to 3-4 Southern Arkansas in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado last Saturday. Tech took a 14-0 lead, but the Muleriders then ran off 31 unanswered points.

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