Archive for the ‘College football’ Category

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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College football: Week 7

Monday, October 11th, 2021

KJ Jefferson completed the nine-yard touchdown pass as time expired in Oxford, Razorback head coach Sam Pittman decided to go for two rather than going into overtime with a PAT, and you know the rest of the story.

Ole Miss 52, Arkansas 51.

Had the Razorbacks completed the two-point conversion pass, the final score would have been 53-52, the same score as the 2015 Henry Heave game.

Wild things happen in Oxford, don’t they?

I predicted Arkansas to win by one. So close yet so far.

Arkansas outgained Ole Miss 676-611. The combined 1,287 yards were the 10th most ever in a Southeastern Conference game. Arkansas’ 676 yards were the fourth most yards in school history and the school’s most ever in an SEC game.

Arkansas had 39 first downs, a school record. The previous high was 37 against TCU in 1980.

Arkansas’ 350 rushing yards were the most since 359 against Mississippi State in 2016.

And yet the Hogs lost. Still, Arkansas football is relevant on the national stage again, the Razorbacks remain ranked and a good bowl game remains a possibility. What a difference a year or two can make.

I was 6-3 on the picks last week, making the record 39-11 for the year.

Let’s get to this week’s games:

Arkansas 35, Auburn 34 — Why not just pick Arkansas by a point again in what figures to be a close game? Auburn is 4-2 overall — the same record as the Razorbacks — following a 34-10 loss to Georgia. The Bulldogs’ Stetson Bennett passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Auburn’s Bo Nix was 21 of 38 passing for 217 yards. Auburn’s four victories have come by scores of 60-10 over Akron, 62-0 over Alabama State, 34-24 over Georgia State and 24-19 over LSU. The win at Baton Rouge is the only one that can be classified as a “quality victory,” and that might even be called into question given that LSU is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC following last Saturday’s loss to Kentucky. The other Auburn loss came at Penn State by a final score of 28-20.

Eastern Kentucky 29, UCA 27 — With a record of 2-3, the Bears have had two weeks to prepare for this home game against a team that comes in on a three-game winning streak. Eastern Kentucky won its opener 31-28 over Western Carolina, lost back-to-back games to Louisville and Indiana State and has since posted victories of 35-27 over Austin Peay, 20-3 over Tarleton and 30-15 over Abilene Christian. The Bears beat Abilene Christian 42-21 on Oct. 2. These two teams appear evenly matched.

Southern University 25, UAPB 15 — The struggles continue for the Golden Lions. UAPB fell to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the SWAC last Saturday with its fourth consecutive loss, 35-15 to Alabama State in a game played at Montgomery. There were two blocked field goal attempts, a lost fumble and an interception in a first half in which UAPB didn’t score. Southern is 2-3 with victories of 41-24 over Miles College and 38-25 over Mississippi Valley State. Its losses have come by scores of 55-3 to Troy, 31-24 to McNeese State and 35-31 to Texas Southern.

Henderson 31, Harding 28 — This is the biggest game to this point in the season in the Great American Conference. The Reddies are 6-0 and ranked ninth nationally in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll. Harding is 5-1 and ranked No. 20. Henderson cruised to a 59-24 victory last Saturday in Arkadelphia against an East Central Oklahoma team that had entered the game with a 4-1 record. Reddie quarterback Adam Morse passed for 357 yards and six touchdowns. L’liott Curry (who will play in the NFL; he’s that good) caught eight of those passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson outgained East Central 559-399. Harding moved to 5-1 with a 49-10 victory over Southern Nazarene. The Bisons had 310 rushing yards. Harding led 14-0 after one quarter, 28-3 at the half and 42-10 after the third quarter. It should be a fun Saturday afternoon in Arkadelphia.

Ouachita 41, UAM 30 — Ouachita is ranked No. 11 nationally this week in NCAA Division II. The Tigers improved to 5-1 with a 30-10 win at Southwestern Oklahoma. Freshman Kendel Givens from Little Rock Christian had three rushing touchdowns, giving him 15 in just six games. Givens finished the game with 109 yards on 18 carries. T.J. Cole rushed for 193 yards on 28 carries for Ouachita. The Tigers finished with 345 rushing yards. UAM is off to a surprising 4-2 start following a 42-23 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma. Boll Weevil quarterback Demilon Brown completed 13 of 23 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another 66 yards.

Southern Arkansas 24, Arkansas Tech 22 — A couple of 2-4 teams will square off in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado on Saturday afternoon. Southern Arkansas started the season 2-0 but has since lost four consecutive games. The Muleriders fell 38-24 Saturday to 5-1 Southeastern Oklahoma. Southeastern outgained SAU 457-372. Mulerider quarterback Hayden Mallory was 17 of 32 passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Arkansas Tech has gone just the opposite direction, losing its first four games and then winning two. The Wonders Boys posted a 38-35 victory last Saturday over 3-3 Oklahoma Baptist. The winning score came with just 42 seconds left on the clock. Oklahoma Baptist had taken a 35-31 lead with 2:22 remaining. Tech quarterback Jack Lindsey was 31 of 43 passing for 382 yards and three touchdowns.

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College football: Week 6

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

It was a September to remember for Razorback fans.

It’s starting out to be an October to forget.

No. 2 Georgia scored three first-quarter touchdowns and took the suspense out of the game early last Saturday en route to a 37-0 victory at Athens.

But I think most Arkansas fans would have taken 4-1 after five games had they been offered that record before the season.

It was a men vs. boys affair between the hedges. Arkansas just doesn’t have the athletes yet to compete with a team like Georgia. The Bulldogs outgained the Razorbacks 345-162 (with 273 of those yards coming on the ground) and had no turnovers.

Saturday’s game marked the first back-to-back shutouts of Southeastern Conference opponents by a Georgia team since the Bulldogs’ national championship squad of 1980.

Arkansas’ 87 passing yards were the fewest for a Razorback team since 2019. The Hogs had 13 penalties for 101 yards, the seventh most in school history.

Arkansas is back on its level this week with a chance to win at Ole Miss.

I was 7-3 on the picks last week, making the season record 33-8.

Here are the predictions for this week’s games:

Arkansas 30, Ole Miss 29 — Yes, I’m going to do it. I’m predicting that the Razorbacks will bounce back and come away with a victory in Oxford. Like Arkansas, Ole Miss was simply outclassed last Saturday. Alabama roared to a 28-0 halftime lead, put in the subs and wound up winning 42-21. Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for 171 yards and scored four touchdowns for the Tide. Bryce Young completed 21 of 27 passes for 241 yards. Nick Saban is now 24-0 against his former assistants. Admit it. Georgia and Alabama are just on a different level from other college football teams across the country.

Coastal Carolina 42, Arkansas State 21 — It doesn’t get any easier this week for the struggling Red Wolves. Nationally ranked Coastal Carolina comes to Jonesboro fresh off a 59-6 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. Grayson McCall was 13 of 13 passing for 212 yards. The Chanticleers are 5-0 for a second consecutive season and have won 16 of their past 17 games. McCall is the FBS leader in completion percentage. ASU, meanwhile, fell to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 59-33 loss to a Georgia Southern team (2-3, 1-1) that had just fired its head coach. Georgia Southern outgained the Red Wolves 503-91 on the ground with two running backs combining for 365 rushing yards. ASU has allowed more than 50 points in three of its five games.

UAPB 19, Alabama State 17 — On national television last Thursday night, UAPB fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the SWAC with a 27-17 loss at Prairie View. The Golden Lions have now lost three consecutive games and must go to Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday to take on Alabama State. Alabama State is 2-2 with wins of 14-13 over Miles and 38-24 over Bethune-Cookman to go along with losses of 62-0 to Auburn and 28-0 to Florida A&M. The teams appear to be evenly matched in this one from a talent standpoint.

Henderson 41, East Central Oklahoma 22 — There’s only one undefeated team remaining in the Great American Conference. It’s Henderson at 5-0. The Reddies went to Durant, Okla., last Saturday and knocked Southeastern Oklahoma from the ranks of the undefeated with a 27-24 victory. The winning points came on a Temo Martinez field goal with 9:25 remaining. Adam Morse was 22 of 27 passing for the Reddies for 195 yards and two touchdowns. East Central is a surprising 4-1, but its four victories have all come against teams with losing records.

Ouachita 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 25 — Ouachita had its 30-game GAC winning streak broken at Harding the final weekend in September. The Tigers bounced back Saturday with a 64-17 homecoming victory over Northwestern Oklahoma at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia. Three freshman running backs had two touchdowns each on the ground for the Tigers. A freshman quarterback also scored on a running play. And a freshman returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Tiger backs scored on runs of 72, 71, 42, 25, 11, eight and three yards as Ouachita improved to 4-1. This week’s opponent, Southwestern Oklahoma, fell to 0-5 with an 18-16 loss at UAM.

Harding 50, Southern Nazarene 11 — Harding went on the road and made it look easy with a 31-7 win against a talented Oklahoma Baptist squad. The 4-1 Bisons controlled the ball for 40 or more minutes for a third consecutive week with their option offense. Cole Chancey rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. This week’s opponent is Southern Nazarene, which fell to 0-5 with a 51-41 loss to Arkansas Tech.

Southeastern Oklahoma 31, Southern Arkansas 28 — The Muleriders played poorly in a 38-17 loss to East Central Oklahoma. SAU senior quarterback Hayden Mallory was 21 of 36 passing for 210 yards in the loss. SAU is 2-3 and must play far better this week to have a chance against 4-1 Southeastern Oklahoma.

UAM 33, Northwestern Oklahoma 26 — The Boll Weevils are off to a 3-2 start following their 18-16 victory at home last Saturday against Southwestern Oklahoma. UAM stopped a two-point conversion attempt with 6:49 remaining. UAM sophomore quarterback Demilon Brown passed for 150 yards and ran for 127 yards. The Weevils should move to 4-2 this week as they travel to 0-5 Northwestern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Baptist 40, Arkansas Tech 27 — The 1-4 Wonder Boys picked up their first victory of the season with that 51-41 win at Southern Nazarene. Tech quarterback Jack Lindsey passed for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

 

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College football: Week 5

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

The record was 5-2 on the picks for last week, bringing the season record to a very good 26-5.

Of those five missed predictions in the first four weeks of the college football season, two of them involved the Razorbacks.

Yes, I picked Arkansas to lose to Texas.

Yes, I picked Arkansas to lose to Texas A&M.

So, of course, I’m going to pick Arkansas to lose to Georgia.

Those of us who follow sports have all sorts of strange thoughts. I’m thinking there’s some kind of “reverse mojo” going on here, which means that as long as I pick against the Razorbacks they’ll continue winning.

It has been quite a September.

With victories over Rice, Texas and Texas A&M, perhaps we should just declare the Hogs the 2021 Southwest Conference champion and start making our Cotton Bowl plans.

The nine-game Arkansas losing streak to Texas A&M ended with that victory in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday as Arkansas moved to 4-0 for the first time since 2003. In the process, the Hogs snapped an 11-game Aggie winning streak dating back to last year.

The Razorbacks also ended an 11-game losing streak against Top 10 teams.

Let’s get to the picks for this week:

Georgia 34, Arkansas 31 — Prior to the victory over Texas A&M, the last time an Arkansas team had beaten a Top 10 opponent was in a 2015 game against LSU. It had been six long years. Last Saturday’s game was no fluke. The Razorbacks outgained the Aggies 443-272 and outrushed A&M 197-121. This is the first time for Arkansas to beat Texas and Texas A&M in the same season since 1986. No. 2 Georgia is also 4-0, having cruised to a 62-0 victory over 1-3 Vanderbilt. That was the 14th consecutive Southeastern Conference loss for Vanderbilt. Georgia outgained its opponent 524-77. The Bulldogs led 35-0 at the end of the first quarter. I’m now a believer in these Hogs. I think Arkansas plays well and keeps it close in Athens. Do the Razorbacks win? I’m not ruling anything out on the first Saturday in October following a September to remember.

Arkansas State 28, Georgia Southern 22 — Both teams are 1-3 coming into Saturday’s Sun Belt Conference game in Statesboro, Ga., but Georgia Southern is the program in more disarray. The school fired head coach Chad Lunsford, who took over midway through the 2017 season. Lunsford had guided Georgia Southern to three consecutive bowl appearances entering this season. The Eagles won their opener against Gardner-Webb from the FCS before falling to Florida Atlantic, Arkansas and Louisiana-Lafayette. Georgia Southern is the third FBS program to make a change early in the 2021 season, joining Connecticut and USC. ASU fell to 1-3 with a 41-34 loss last Saturday to a Tulsa team that came in with an 0-3 record. The Red Wolf defense gave up 633 yards. At one point, Tulsa scored on five consecutive possessions.

Prairie View A&M 19, UAPB 15 — For a second consecutive week, UAPB will play a Thursday night game on national television. In Pine Bluff last Thursday night, the Golden Lions dropped to 1-2 with a 39-38 loss to Alcorn State. UAPB had led that game 26-7 at the half. UAPB is on the road in Texas this week against a 3-1 Prairie View squad. Prairie View opened the season with a 40-17 victory over Texas Southern, lost 40-9 to Incarnate Word and has since posted victories of 37-27 over Houston Baptist and 24-10 over Grambling.

UCA 30, Abilene Christian 27 — The Bears fell to 1-3 last Saturday with a 45-35 loss in Conway to the defending FCS national champion from Sam Houston State. UCA was down 31-7 at one point in the second quarter. The Bears kept fighting, outscoring Sam Houston 14-0 in the third quarter. UCA quarterback Breylin Smith was 25 of 41 passing for 288 yards and four touchdowns. UCA must get off to a faster start in Texas this week against an Abilene Christian team that’s 3-1. After a 56-9 loss to SMU in the season opener, Abilene Christian has come back with victories of 62-7 over Louisiana College, 34-9 over Texas-Permian Basin and 56-0 over Lamar. Something tells me, however, that this is the game when the Bears finally put it all together.

Harding 32, Oklahoma Baptist 29 — Harding ended Ouachita’s 30-game conference winning streak (the Tigers had last lost a regular season game in 2017, and that loss also was to Harding) with a convincing 38-21 victory in Searcy. The Bisons ran their option offense to perfection, keeping the ball for more than 40 minutes. They had kept it for 42 minutes the previous week in a 37-6 win over Southern Arkansas. After Ouachita took a 7-0 lead on its first possession, Harding outgained the visitors 433-161 the rest of the way. A stiff test awaits this week in Shawnee, Okla., against 3-1 Oklahoma Baptist. The Bison from OKBU (yes, this is the Bison against the Bisons) dropped their opener 38-31 at Ouachita and have since won three consecutive games. This is the most talented of the six Oklahoma schools in the Great American Conference.

Ouachita 40, Northwestern Oklahoma 25 — Ouachita tries to return to the win column when the Tigers host 0-4 Northwestern Oklahoma at Cliff Harris Stadium for Saturday’s homecoming game. The Tiger defense has been suspect in three of Ouachita’s four games so far this season, so you can expect the visitors to score some points.

Henderson 42, Southeastern Oklahoma 39 — This is the game of the week in the GAC as the two remaining undefeated teams do battle in Durant, Okla. Southeastern stunned Harding in the second game of the season. Henderson, meanwhile, seems to get better each week. The Reddies trailed Southern Arkansas 28-0 in the first quarter at Arkadelphia last Saturday night before scoring the next 35 points en route to a 56-49 victory. Reddie quarterback Adam Morse was 21 of 37 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns.

Southwestern Oklahoma 26, UAM 24 — Southwestern is a better team than its 0-4 record indicates, and the Bulldogs are on the road this week against the 2-2 Boll Weevils of UAM. The Weevils are coming off a 27-20 victory over winless Arkansas Tech. UAM quarterback Demilon Brown was 16 of 27 passing for 161 yards and rushed for another 113 yards in Russellville.

Southern Arkansas 43, East Central Oklahoma 23 — East Central is off to a surprising 3-1 start but hasn’t played nearly as tough a schedule as the Muleriders. SAU’s two losses have come against Harding and Henderson, perhaps the two best teams in the conference. The Muleriders have already posted victories against two Oklahoma opponents — 32-13 over Northwestern and 42-27 over Southwestern. East Central lost 28-0 to Harding in the season opener. It has since posted victories of 13-10 over Arkansas Tech, 40-13 over Southern Nazarene and 20-17 over Northwestern Oklahoma. Those three schools have a combined 0-12 record.

Arkansas Tech 38, Southern Nazarene 21 — It’s 0-4 Arkansas Tech at 0-4 Southern Nazarene on Saturday afternoon. Something has to give. Look for the Wonder Boys to pick up their first victory of the season.

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College football: Week 4

Monday, September 20th, 2021

An Arkansas Razorback football team is 3-0 for the first time since 2016.

A Razorback football team is ranked for the first time since 2016 (No. 16 in this week’s Associated Press poll).

A Razorback football team has gained more than 600 yards in a game for the first time since 2016.

Can it continue?

We’ll find out Saturday afternoon in Arlington, Texas, as the Hogs take on a Texas A&M team that has won 11 consecutive games. The contest will be nationally televised by CBS. It’s without a doubt the most high-profile game this week in the Southeastern Conference.

In the 45-10 victory over Georgia Southern last Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, the Hogs gained 633 yards of offense and allowed only 233. KJ Jefferson passed for 366 yards and three touchdowns.

There were three Arkansas scoring drives of more than 90 yards. The 633 yards of offense were the eighth most in the history of Razorback football.

We’ll know a lot more about this Arkansas team following the next few games — A&M this week, No. 2 Georgia the following week and Ole Miss the week after that.

The record on picks was a perfect 6-0 last week, making the season record 21-3. This week’s schedule presents some real challenges when it comes to prognostications.

Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 30 — Like Arkansas, Texas A&M is 3-0 for the first time since 2016. The Aggies beat New Mexico by a final score of 34-0 Saturday. A&M is No. 7 in this week’s AP poll. Tom VanHaaren writes for ESPN: “The Aggies stumbled against Colorado in their second game, down late in the fourth quarter, but eventually scored the go-ahead touchdown for the 10-7 win. The team bounced back convincingly against New Mexico. Texas A&M needed a strong win before taking on an Arkansas team that beat Texas 40-21 in Week 2. That game will start a tough stretch of conference games with Alabama two weeks later, so any bit of confidence will help. The Aggies are trying to push forward to another level, and these next few games will gauge where they currently stand.” The Razorbacks believe in themselves after thrashing Texas. Expect them to hang around until late in Saturday’s game.

Tulsa 28, Arkansas State 26 — It was an ugly night in Seattle as the Red Wolves fell 52-3 to a Washington team that came in 0-2. The Huskies had 598 yards of offense as ASU failed to score a touchdown. Red Wolf quarterback James Blackman was just 16 of 38 passing for 176 yards. Saturday’s game will match two teams that are struggling. ASU is 1-2. Tulsa is 0-3 following losses of 19-17 to UC-Davis, 28-23 to Oklahoma State and 41-20 to Ohio State. The slight edge goes to the home team.

Sam Houston 27, UCA 19 — Sam Houston won the spring version of the FCS national championship (UCA chose to play an abbreviated schedule in the fall of 2020) and is off to a 2-0 start this season with victories of 42-16 over Northern Arizona and 52-14 over Southeast Missouri. UCA is 1-2 following Saturday’s 45-23 victory over UAPB. UCA outgained the Golden Lions 456-308. The Bears jumped to a 21-0 lead and led 28-9 at halftime. It will be interesting to see if UCA can stay close to Sam Houston on Saturday afternoon in Conway.

Alcorn 14, UAPB 12 — The Golden Lions started the season with a victory over Lane, had an open date and then fell in Conway on Saturday. SWAC play begins this week against a talented Alcorn team that lost its opener 23-14 to North Carolina Central in a nationally televised game, beat Northwestern State of Louisiana 13-10 and then fell 28-21 at South Alabama on Saturday. This is a Thursday night game in Pine Bluff.

Ouachita 18, Harding 17 — This is usually one of the games of the year in NCAA Division II, a contest that almost always comes down to the final minute of play. Ouachita hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2017 when it dropped its homecoming contest to Harding. The Tigers won their 30th consecutive GAC game last Saturday with a 38-24 victory over winless Arkansas Tech. T.J. Cole had 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Tigers. Kendel Givens, a freshman from Little Rock Christian, had 90 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Givens now has nine rushing touchdowns in just three games as a college athlete. Harding, meanwhile, bounced back from its shocking loss a week earlier at Southeastern Oklahoma to destroy Southern Arkansas in Magnolia by a score of 37-6. The Bisons’ run-oriented offense held the ball for 14:08 of the first quarter and jumped to a 17-0 lead. Harding finished with 442 yards rushing on 73 carries and kept the ball for 42:03 of the game’s 60 minutes. Saturday’s battle in Searcy should be a fun game but also a fast game since neither team likes to throw the football. Ouachita is ranked No. 8 nationally this week in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll, and Harding is receiving votes.

Henderson 33, Southern Arkansas 21 — The 3-0 Reddies are up to No. 18 nationally in the AFCA poll. Henderson appears to be getting stronger each week. The Reddies went to Monticello last Saturday and beat UAM by 40 points, 58-18. Reddie quarterback Adam Morse was 26 of 31 passing for 398 yards and four touchdowns. The Reddies outgained the Boll Weevils 607-354. SAU, which won its first two games before being humbled by Harding, should present more of a challenge for Henderson than UAM.

UAM 29, Arkansas Tech 25 — This is a game that could go either way between two teams that are off to slow starts. UAM is 1-2, and Tech is 0-3. Flip a coin.

 

 

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