Archive for the ‘College football’ Category

College football: Week 8

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

I’m just not sure what else there is to say about Arkansas’ 24-20 loss to Kentucky in Lexington last Saturday night.

A Kentucky player moved from receiver to quarterback and then ran for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for another score.

How do you explain that? You don’t.

Kentucky finished the game with 330 rushing yards on 54 carries and outgained the Hogs 418-305 overall to move to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference.

Arkansas, which must accept its fate as the SEC’s worst football program in recent years, falls to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. The Razorbacks have now lost 14 consecutive SEC games.

There is, mind you, a lot of good college football being played in the state. You just have to look to places other than Fayetteville.

In fact, Arkansas teams other than the Razorbacks were 9-2 against out-of-state competition last Saturday.

Arkansas State opens this week’s action with a Thursday night game in Jonesboro against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Auburn visits Fayetteville for an 11 a.m. game against the Razorbacks on Saturday.

All six of the state’s Great American Conference schools are home against the six GAC teams from Oklahoma.

And Hendrix, the state’s only NCAA Division III program, is home against Centre.

So college football fans have games in Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Arkadelphia (two games there), Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello and Conway to choose from.

There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this week.

We were 7-2 on the picks last week (we likely won’t make the mistake of picking either Arkansas or Arkansas Tech again) to make the record 41-12 so far in 2019.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Louisiana-Lafayette 47, Arkansas State 42 — The Red Wolves are home this week. Here’s the problem: A series of injuries has resulted in an ASU defense that can stop no one. In their last game on Oct. 5, the Red Wolf defense gave up 722 yards in a 52-38 loss to Georgia State in Atlanta. ASU ranks ninth in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring defense. The Red Wolves give up an average of 38.7 points per game. ASU is last in the 10-team conference in total defense, giving up 535.8 yards per game. ASU now finds itself 3-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town with records of 4-2 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play. The losses have been by scores of 38-28 to Mississippi State and 17-7 to Appalachian State (which is the best team in the Sun Belt at 5-0, 2-0). The wins have been by scores of 35-14 over Liberty, 77-6 over Texas Southern, 45-25 over Ohio and 37-24 over Georgia Southern.

Auburn 41, Arkansas 24 — The Tigers won their first five games before losing 24-13 to Florida on Oct. 5. Auburn has had two weeks to get ready for this contest, and Gus Malzahn will be trying to put as many points as possible on the scoreboard to get his team back on the national radar. Those five victories came by scores of 27-21 over Oregon, 24-6 over Tulane, 55-16 over Kent State, 28-20 over Texas A&M and 56-23 over Mississippi State. Look for Arkansas’ SEC losing streak to go to 15 games.

UCA 31, Northwestern State 20 — The Bears improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Southland Conference play last Saturday with a 40-31 victory over McNeese State (3-4, 1-3) in Conway. Bear quarterback Breylin Smith was 28 of 41 passing for 369 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Hudson had four catches for 113 yards. UCA must go on the road this week to Louisiana, but don’t expect too much of a problem against an 0-6 Northwestern State team. The Demon losses have been by scores of 42-20 to Tennessee-Martin, 33-7 to Midwestern State, 65-14 to LSU, 48-21 to Houston Baptist, 44-27 to Southeastern Louisiana and 45-35 to Nicholls.

Ouachita 32, Oklahoma Baptist 30 — Ouachita is ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II. The 6-0 Tigers won their 22nd consecutive GAC game at Ada, Okla., last Saturday. In the 31-3 victory over East Central Oklahoma, Ouachita outgained its opponent 407-173. Senior Brockton Brown out of Sheridan scored three touchdowns on the ground. Ouachita will have all it can handle this week against a 3-3 Oklahoma Baptist team that might have the best quarterback in the conference. Oklahoma Baptist lost 50-33 last Saturday to Harding, but to score 33 points against the vaunted Harding defense makes quite a statement.

Henderson 49, East Central Oklahoma 14 — The Reddies are rolling. Henderson has only lost by a point to Harding. Last Saturday, the 5-1 Reddies posted a 35-7 win at Southwestern Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 14 of 29 passing for 151 yards. After a couple of mediocre seasons, Reddie head coach Scott Maxfield has this program back to where it used to be. Don’t forget that Henderson has won three of the eight titles in the history of the GAC (Ouachita has won four, and Harding won the other one). A 1-5 East Central Oklahoma team shouldn’t present much of a challenge in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Southern Arkansas 26, Southeastern Oklahoma 10 — The Muleriders also moved to 5-1 last Saturday with a 40-7 victory at Northwestern Oklahoma. Redshirt freshman Kordavion Washington had 123 yards rushing. SAU finished with 333 yards on the ground. Expect SAU (which still has showdowns against Ouachita on Nov. 2 and Henderson on Nov. 9) to keep it rolling against 1-5 Southeastern Oklahoma this week.

Harding 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 18 — The Bisons also improved to 5-1 with that 50-33 victory at Oklahoma Baptist. Harding rushed for 492 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Cole Chancey carried 19 times for 233 yards. Look for Chancey to have another big game in Searcy on Saturday afternoon against 2-4 Southwestern Oklahoma.

UAM 27, Southern Nazarene 25 — The resurgent Boll Weevils are 4-2 after a 9-7 victory at Southeastern Oklahoma. UAM won on a safety when the Southeastern quarterback was sacked in the end zone. The Boll Weevils won despite having only 202 yards of offense. Of that total, 159 yards came on the ground. The defense helped out, though, with four fumble recoveries. This week’s opponent is a 2-4 Southern Nazarene team that has enough talent to hang with the Weevils. I expect a close game.

Northwestern Oklahoma 17, Arkansas Tech 15 — We’re beginning to wonder if the 0-6 Wonder Boys will get a victory this year. They have a chance this week with a 2-4 Northwestern Oklahoma team coming to Russellville. Tech lost 41-24 last Saturday at Southern Nazarene. The Wonder Boys found themselves down 28-0 midway through the second quarter in that one.


Post to Twitter

College football: Week 7

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The Razorbacks were off (which at least means we don’t have to talk about a loss) while Arkansas State and UCA both went on the road and lost last Saturday.

There was still some positive news on the college football front in Arkansas last weekend.

UAPB won its homecoming contest and has already doubled its win total of a year ago with four victories in six games.

Five of the six Great American Conference teams from Arkansas won against GAC teams from Oklahoma.

And Hendrix, which has the state’s only NCAA Division III program, remained undefeated with a victory over Rhodes College.

ASU has a much-needed open date this week. Hopefully the defensive starters for the Red Wolves can heal. Four defensive starters have been lost to injuries since the start of the season.

ASU fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 52-38 loss at Georgia State. The Red Wolves gave up 722 yards of offense. ASU’s offense scored to cut the Georgia State lead to three points at 38-35 with 10:30 remaining in the game, but the Red Wolf defense couldn’t slow the Panthers down the stretch. Georgia State’s 722 yards and six rushing touchdowns were school records. The Panthers scored on six of their first eight drives and led 39:19 to 20:41 in time of possession. The 52 points were the most ever scored by Georgia State against an FBS team.

If ASU can’t find a defense, it’s going to be a long season.

We went 7-2 on the picks last week, making the record 34-10 for the season.

Here are our selections for this Saturday’s games:

Arkansas 29, Kentucky 27 — Call us crazy. We’re going with the Hogs to win on the road. This Kentucky team, which is 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play, seems to get weaker by the week. The Wildcats started the season with victories of 38-24 over Toledo and 38-17 over Eastern Michigan. That has been followed by conference losses by scores of 29-21 to Florida, 28-13 to Mississippi State and 24-7 to South Carolina. Kentucky won 10 games in 2018 for the first time since 1977. The Wildcats beat Penn State 27-24 in the Citrus Bowl. But Kentucky lost 13 starters off that team, including star running back Benny Snell. Both teams have had two weeks to prepare for Saturday night’s game in Lexington.

UCA 26, McNeese State 24 — UCA and McNeese are a bit down from where they usually are. The Bears fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in Southland Conference play with a 34-14 loss at Nicholls State (3-2, 2-0). Nicholls quarterback Chase Fourcade was 24 of 29 passing for 327 yards and a touchdown. UCA trailed 20-0 at halftime and had only 98 yards of offense in the first half. Bear quarterback Breylin Smith finished the game 20 of 27 passing for 182 yards. McNeese comes to Conway with a record of 3-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play. The victories have been by scores of 34-28 over Southern University, 17-14 over Alcorn State and 38-34 over Southeastern Louisiana. The losses have been by scores of 56-14 to Oklahoma State, 17-10 to Abilene Christian and 28-17 to Sam Houston State. It should be an evenly matched game. We’ll give a slight advantage to the home team.

UAPB 19, Mississippi Valley State 18 — The Golden Lions are 4-2 following a 45-38 win over Lane College from NCAA Division II. The game was played before a big homecoming crowd in Pine Bluff last Saturday afternoon. Taeyler Porter had 21 carries for 182 yards rushing and three touchdowns for UAPB. The Golden Lions return to SWAC play this Saturday with a home game against Mississippi Valley State. MVSU is 1-4. Its lone victory came by a score of 31-23 over Virginia University of Lynchburg last Saturday. The losses have been by scores of 26-20 to Tennessee State, 23-20 to Lamar, 22-6 to Bethune-Cookman and 45-19 to Alcorn State.

Ouachita 36, East Central Oklahoma 25 — All six of the GAC teams from Arkansas play conference games in Oklahoma this Saturday. Ouachita is 5-0 and has moved up to No. 5 in the country in NCAA Division II. The Tigers travel to Ada to take on a 1-4 East Central team that lost 49-46 at UAM last Saturday. Ouachita posted a 27-14 homecoming victory over Southeastern Oklahoma. Senior Allie Freeman out of Episcopal Collegiate in Little Rock had 11 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.  The Tigers have now won 21 consecutive GAC games.

Henderson 31, Southwestern Oklahoma 30 — The Reddies moved to 4-1 following a 47-7 win over Northwestern Oklahoma in Arkadelphia last Saturday. The Reddie defense had four interceptions in that game. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 17 of 31 passing for 198 yards. Southwestern Oklahoma is 2-3 but has enough talent to keep this game close at home in Weatherford.

Harding 28, Oklahoma Baptist 20 — Harding improved its record to 4-1 with a 31-3 win over Southern Nazarene. The Bisons led 28-0 at halftime. The Harding defense allowed only 150 yards of total offense for Southern Nazarene. Things won’t be as easy this week against a 3-2 Oklahoma Baptist team that might have the best quarterback in the GAC.

Southern Arkansas 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Muleriders are also 4-1 following a 42-20 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma last Saturday in Magnolia. Hayden Mallory was 14 of 17 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns for SAU. The Muleriders make the long trip to Alva this week to take on a 2-3 Northwestern Oklahoma team that has enough skill players to keep this one close at home.

UAM 22, Southeastern Oklahoma 17 — The Boll Weevils are 3-2 following a 49-46 victory over East Central Oklahoma in Monticello. The Weevils led 21-17 at halftime and never trailed in the second half. UAM outgained East Central 600 to 524. This weekend’s opponent is a Southeastern Oklahoma team that’s better than its 1-4 record indicates. We don’t have a lot of confidence in this pick. The game in Durant could easily go the other way.

Arkansas Tech 39, Southern Nazarene 37 — The Wonder Boys remained winless with a 43-31 loss to Oklahoma Baptist last Saturday in Russellville. Tech led 24-7 at one point and then gave up 36 unanswered points. This should be the week that the 0-5 Wonder Boys get their first victory as they travel to Oklahoma City to take on 1-4 Southern Nazarene.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 6

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

As usual, the Southwest Classic was close.

Also as usual, Texas A&M won

So now the Hogs (2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference) have an extra week to get ready for Kentucky. And that just might be a winnable game.

What happened in Arlington last Saturday felt familiar, didn’t it?

It was the eighth consecutive win in the series for the Aggies. Five of the past six games in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Arkansas did manage to outgain Texas A&M. The Razorbacks finished with 395 yards of offense, and the Aggies had 340. Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel combined for 297 passing yards. Meanwhile, Rakeem Boyd had 89 of the Hogs’ 98 rushing yards.

Arkansas will go to Kentucky on Oct. 12 with a 13-game SEC losing streak. The Wildcats lost 24-7 last Saturday to a mediocre South Carolina team. Kentucky is 2-3 overall and 0-3 in SEC play.

In addition to the Hogs taking the week off, Arkansas State and UCA play out of state. That means that this is a golden opportunity to see one of the other college games in the state.

This is the week that all six of Arkansas’ Great American Conference teams host GAC teams from Oklahoma.

UAPB is at home in Pine Bluff against Lane College for its homecoming game.

The state’s only NCAA Division III program is at Hendrix, and the 3-0 Warriors will host Rhodes College in Conway on Saturday.

The state’s only NAIA program is at Lyon, and the 3-1 Scots will host Langston in Batesville on Saturday.

You thus have nine games in eight Arkansas cities from which to choose. There are two games in Arkadelphia to go along with games in Pine Bluff, Searcy, Magnolia, Russellville, Monticello, Conway and Batesville.

There’s really no excuse not to get out and see a college football game this Saturday.

I was 5-2 on the picks last week, making the record 27-8 for the season.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Georgia State 39, Arkansas State 37 — How about Little Rock’s Layne Hatcher? In his first start as a college quarterback, the transfer from Alabama led ASU to a 50-43 win over Troy in a game with 1,068 yards of total offense. The Red Wolves (3-2,1-0) outgained Troy (2-2, 0-1) 558-510. Hatcher completed 25 of 35 passes for 440 yards. The Red Wolves go to Atlanta this Saturday to take on a Georgia State team that’s hard to figure out. Georgia State opened the season on Aug. 31 with a stunning 38-30 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville and followed that with a 48-42 win over Furman. The Panthers have since fallen on the road by scores of 57-10 to Western Michigan and 37-34 to Texas State in three overtimes. In a game that could easily go the other way, we’ll give a slight edge to Georgia State for two reasons — the Panthers have had two weeks to prepare for this contest, and they’re the home team.

UCA 29, Nicholls State 25 — The Bears won their first three games of the season by scores of 35-28 over Western Kentucky, 24-16 over Austin Peay and 31-30 over Abilene Christian before going to Hawaii and falling 35-16 to the Rainbow Warriors. UCA had a needed open date last Saturday to prepare for this week’s trip to Cajun country to play Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La. Nicholls is 2-2 with wins of 43-25 over Prairie View A&M and 48-30 over Stephen F. Austin to go along with losses of 49-14 to Kansas State and 24-3 to Texas State.

UAPB 27, Lane College 17 — The usual large homecoming crowd will be on hand in hopes of seeing the FCS Golden Lions pick on Lane College from NCAA Division II. UAPB’s three-game winning streak came to an end last Saturday with a 31-7 loss to Southern University. Former Pine Bluff High School Zebra quarterback Ladarius Skelton came home to Pine Bluff as Southern’s starting quarterback. He ran for three touchdowns and was 17 of 25 passing for 157 yards. UAPB is now 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the SWAC. Lane is 2-2. The Lane losses have been by scores of 34-0 to South Carolina State and 52-28 to Miles College. The Dragon wins have come by scores of 29-0 over Texas College and 44-14 over Edward Waters.

Ouachita 30, Southeastern Oklahoma 15 — Ouachita, ranked No. 6 in the country in NCAA Division II, found itself trailing 21-20 at Southwestern Oklahoma last Saturday afternoon with just 11 minutes left in the game. That’s when the Tigers finally woke up. Ouachita controlled the football for almost 10 of those final 11 minutes. The Tigers marched down the field and scored, forced a quick Southwestern punt and then held the ball the final five minutes for a 26-21 victory. It was the 20th consecutive GAC win for the 4-0 Tigers. Expect them to wake up a little more quickly this week against 1-3 Southeastern Oklahoma in the homecoming game at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia.

Henderson 24, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — Henderson will be playing just across U.S. Highway 67 from that Ouachita game on Saturday afternoon. The 3-1 Reddies take on a 2-2 Northwestern Oklahoma team that shut out UAM a week ago by a final score of 28-0. Northwestern has the talent to give the Reddies a tough fight. Henderson took on nationally ranked Harding in Searcy last Saturday night and fell 14-13. It was a game that could have gone the other way.

Harding 22, Southern Nazarene 0 — The 3-1 Bisons already have two shutouts to their credit this season and could get another one Saturday against outmatched Southern Nazarene in Searcy. While the defense is doing its thing, the Harding offense will keep doing what it does so well, which is run the football. Cole Chancey carried 38 times against Henderson for 166 yards. Southern Nazarene improved to 1-3 last Saturday as it squeezed out its first victory of the season with a 22-21 decision over Southeastern Oklahoma.

Southwestern Oklahoma 32, Southern Arkansas 31 — Southern Arkansas has struggled early this season despite its 3-1 record. The Muleriders won on a last-second field goal against Oklahoma Baptist, got shut out by Harding and found themselves tied with a winless Arkansas Tech team in the fourth quarter. Southwestern, which is now 2-2, gave Ouachita all it wanted. We’re going to go out on a limb and predict that the Bulldogs will pull an upset in Magnolia this Saturday.

Oklahoma Baptist 33, Arkansas Tech 21 — It’s 2-2 Oklahoma Baptist (which just might have the best quarterback in the GAC) against 0-4 Arkansas Tech in Russellville on Saturday. Oklahoma Baptist posted a 50-41 win over East Central Oklahoma last weekend. As mentioned, Tech hung around with Southern Arkansas for the longest before its defense wore down. The game was tied 14-14 with 11:33 remaining. Then, SAU scored the final 21 points.

UAM 41, East Central Oklahoma 34 — This 2-2 Boll Weevil team is hard to figure out. It beat Southwestern Oklahoma two weeks ago when the Bulldogs were 2-0 but then laid an egg at Northwestern Oklahoma in a 28-0 loss. Northwestern intercepted three Boll Weevil passes and limited UAM to just 56 passing yards. This week’s opponent is 1-3 East Central Oklahoma. Which team will show up Saturday in Monticello? The good Weevils or the bad Weevils? We’ll go with the good Weevils in a game in which very little defense is played.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 5

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Forget what I said about seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

And, yes, you already know that I’m about to quote Lou Holtz here since that light was indeed an oncoming train.

Has the University of Arkansas football program finally hit rock bottom?

Like the deepest part of the Pacific, we no longer know exactly where the bottom is.

It it wasn’t “San Jose State 31, Arkansas 24,” I hate to think where it was.

That was ugly.

Nick Starkel throwing five interceptions was ugly.

The Spartans had gained 382 yards against Northern Colorado and 348 yards against Tulsa. Against Arkansas, they had 503 yards.

That also was ugly.

San Jose State passed for 402 yards.

That was ugly, too.

Now comes the trip to Arlington (Razorback fans lost enthusiasm for this “classic” years ago) to take on Texas A&M.

I was 5-3 on the picks last week with misses on Arkansas (who didn’t?), UAPB (which scored on the final play of the game) and UAM.

That makes the season record 22-6.

Here are the picks for this Saturday’s games:

Texas A&M 40, Arkansas 27 — The Aggies have the same record as the Razorbacks at 2-2. The difference is that the Texas A&M losses were to Top 10 teams (Clemson and Auburn) rather than Ole Miss and San Jose State. A&M started the season with a 41-7 victory over Texas State, lost 24-10 to Clemson, beat Lamar 62-3 and then lost 28-20 to Auburn. The Aggies were 9-4 a year ago in their first season under head coach Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M is 7-0 against Arkansas in SEC games, including three victories in overtime. It would be a miracle for this Arkansas team to get it to overtime.

Troy 29, Arkansas State 25 — ASU struggled in Jonesboro last Saturday night against an FCS opponent but still came away with a 41-28 victory over Southern Illinois. Head coach Blake Anderson was on the sidelines at home for the first time this season. Both the Red Wolves and the Salukis are now 2-2. ASU quarterback Logan Bonner was sacked five times in the first half of that game. Bonner, however, completed 17 of his 31 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns. ASU must now make the trip to Alabama for the Sun Belt Conference opener against Troy. The Trojans are 2-1 with a 43-14 victory over Campbell and a 35-7 victory over Akron sandwiching a 47-42 loss to Southern Mississippi. The slight advantage goes to the home team in this one, especially considering all of the injuries that are dogging the Red Wolves this week.

Southern University 21, UAPB 20 — I should know better than to pick against the Golden Lions. They seem to have some magic this year. UAPB scored on a 17-yard pass as time expired in Nashville last Saturday to shock Tennessee State by a final score of 37-31. How much progress has this program made? Consider the fact that UAPB had been outscored 84-13 and outgained 924-448 in its two previous games against Tennessee State. The Golden Lions, who finished the contest with 519 yards of offense, have now won three consecutive games to go to 3-1. That’s more games than UAPB won last year when the Golden Lions went 2-9 in their first season under head coach Cedric Thomas. The current UAPB head man was an assistant coach at Alcorn State for six years before returning to take over his alma mater. Southern has lost 34-28 to McNeese, 55-24 to Memphis and 27-21 to Florida A&M. The one victory was by a final score of 61-0 over Edward Waters. This is certainly a winnable game for UAPB, but the Golden Lions seem due for a letdown.

Harding 24, Henderson 14 — This is the game of the week in the Great American Conference. Henderson, which fell to 5-6 a year ago, seems to be getting back to form with victories over Oklahoma Baptist, Southern Nazarene and Arkansas Tech to start the season. After losing 16-14 to Ouachita to begin the 2019 campaign, Harding hasn’t allowed another point. The defense has been spectacular in shutout victories over UAM and Southern Arkansas. In last Saturday’s 31-0 thrashing of SAU in Magnolia, the Harding defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a span of 40 seconds. Since the GAC began play in 2011, Henderson has won three conference championships and Harding has won one. Ouachita has won the other four.

Ouachita 26, Southwestern Oklahoma 11 — Saturday night’s 31-11 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia marked the 19th consecutive conference victory for Ouachita. The Tigers led 21-0 at the half. Sophomore quarterback Brayden Brazeal out of England, who leads the nation in pass completion percentage, was 20 of 22 through the air for 179 yards. But you should expect the Tigers to focus on the running game Saturday afternoon in Weatherford, Okla., against a team that gave up 348 yards on the ground in a 41-9 loss to UAM. Southwestern won its first two games against Oklahoma schools, but reality always sets in once it begins playing the tougher Arkansas members of the GAC.

Southern Arkansas 19, Arkansas Tech 13 — The Muleriders started the season with victories over a weak Southern Nazarene team and a so-so Oklahoma Baptist squad (the win came on a long field goal on the final play) before crashing back to earth while being routed at home by Harding. Southern Arkansas finished the season 8-4 a year ago but lost the top players off that team. Still, the 2-1 Muleriders should have enough talent to down an 0-3 Arkansas Tech squad that has lost to UAM, Ouachita and Henderson in its first season under head coach Kyle Shipp.

UAM 35, Northwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Boll Weevils make the trip to Alva, Okla., to take on a 1-2 Northwestern Oklahoma squad. UAM has sandwiched victories over Arkansas Tech and Southwestern Oklahoma around a 24-0 loss to Harding. Head coach Hud Jackson is finally turning the UAM program around. The Boll Weevils were 6-6 last season, including a Division II bowl appearance. A win on the road Saturday and a 3-1 start would further enhance their credibility.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 4

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Razorback fans were able to see some light at the end of the tunnel last Saturday in Fayetteville.

After experiencing that “here we go again” feeling when Colorado State tied the score at 34-34, Arkansas scored 21 unanswered points down the stretch to move to 2-1 on the season.

If nothing else, it appears the Hogs have found a quarterback.

Nick Starkel was 20 of 35 passing in his first start for 305 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first 300-yard performance for an Arkansas quarterback in two years.

Meanwhile, Rakeem Boyd rushed for a career-high 122 yards as Arkansas had 520 yards of offense. The Razorbacks were six of 12 on first down.

We were 8-0 on the picks last week (thank you UCA for that late score) to make the record 17-3 for the season.

Here are the picks as we enter the fourth weekend of the college football season:

Arkansas 45, San Jose State 21 — The 55 points put on the board against Colorado State last week represented the most points scored by an Arkansas team against an FBS opponent since 2016. While we don’t think the Hogs will score that many points this week against San Jose State, the defense should be able to limit the Spartans to fewer than the 34 points Colorado State had against Arkansas. A win would give the Razorbacks a 3-1 record heading into the Sept. 28 game in Arlington against Texas A&M. San Jose State is 1-1 with a 35-18 victory over Northern Colorado and a 34-16 loss to Tulsa.

Arkansas State 37, Southern Illinois 27 — When the fans at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., wore pink in honor of the late Wendy Anderson, the gesture received nationwide attention that went beyond sports outlets. NBC’s Today Show, for instance, had the story on Monday morning. Unfortunately, Blake Anderson’s Red Wolves were never competitive in the actual game. Georgia won by a final score of 55-0. It was 34-0 at halftime as the Red Wolves had only 81 yards of offense (just seven yards rushing) in the first half. The score was 27-0 before ASU crossed midfield. The Red Wolves return to Jonesboro this Saturday to take on a 2-1 Southern Illinois squad. The Salukis have defeated Massachusetts and Tennessee-Martin since losing to Southeast Missouri in the season opener. The Red Wolves should have the edge against this FCS school, which was 2-9 a year ago.

Hawaii 41, UCA 25 — Bear players and coaches get a nice trip to Hawaii this week to take on the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii started the season with victories of 45-38 over Arizona and 31-28 over Oregon State before falling 52-20 at Washington last Saturday. UCA improved to 3-0 with a 31-30 win over Abilene Christian in the Southland Conference opener at Conway. The Bears took the lead with 1:30 left in the game on a three-yard touchdown run by senior Carlos Blackman. Abilene Christian then missed a 46-yard field goal attempt with 30 seconds remaining.

Tennessee State 19, UAPB 18 — A UAPB team has won back-to-back games for the first time since 2014. The Golden Lions had a 53-15 victory last Saturday against Langston from the NAIA. UAPB goes to Nashville this week to do battle with a 1-2 Tennessee State squad that won its opener 26-20 over Mississippi Valley State before losses of 45-26 to Middle Tennessee and 49-44 to Jackson State. The slight edge goes to the home team in this one.

Ouachita 39, Northwestern Oklahoma 26 — The Tigers are ranked No. 6 nationally in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association following a 42-13 victory at Arkansas Tech last Saturday night. Brayden Brazeal, Ouachita’s sophomore quarterback from England, was 12 of 15 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns.  The victory marked Ouachita’s 18th consecutive win in Great American Conference play. Northwestern Oklahoma brings a 1-1 record to Arkadelphia on Saturday night. We’re told that Cliff Harris will be in the house at Cliff Harris Stadium.

Henderson 40, Arkansas Tech 22 — The Reddies are off to a 2-0 start and appear to be much better than the squad that finished 5-6 a year ago. Henderson posted a 34-6 win at home over 0-2 Southern Nazarene last week. Richard Stammetti was 34 of 44 passing for the Reddies for 396 yards and three touchdowns. Arkansas Tech, which must make the road trip to Arkadelphia, is 0-2 with an overtime loss at UAM and the blowout loss against Ouachita in Russellville.

Harding 24, Southern Arkansas 23 — This is an interesting matchup in Magnolia. Harding is 1-1. The Bisons bounced back from their 16-14 loss to Ouachita in that highly touted season opener and then beat UAM 24-0 at home in Searcy last Saturday. All the points were scored in the first half. Southern Arkansas, which upset Harding in Searcy last year, is off to a 2-0 start. The Muleriders got a 48-yard field goal from sophomore Austin Wilkerson in Magnolia last Saturday on the final play of the game. That resulted in a 30-28 victory over 0-2 Oklahoma Baptist. Harding is trying to keep pace with Ouachita in the GAC race and simply can’t afford to start the season 1-2.

Southwestern Oklahoma 33, UAM 30 — Southwestern Oklahoma is off to a surprising 2-0 start following a 3-8 record in 2018. UAM, which finished 6-5 a year ago, is 1-1 following the win over Arkansas Tech and the loss to Harding. UAM is the home team, but we’ll go with the visitors in this one.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 3

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Razorback fans are asking themselves when the Arkansas football program will hit rock bottom and start the slow climb back up.

It has to happen at some point, doesn’t it?

Saturday’s 31-17 loss at Oxford was the 12th consecutive Southeastern Conference defeat for the Hogs. The most recent SEC win came in Oxford two years ago by a final score of 38-37.

The Razorbacks are 1-19 in their past 20 games against teams from Power 5 conferences. For those of us who grew up in this state in the 1960s and 1970s (the three top programs in college football in the decade of the ’60s were Alabama, Texas and Arkansas), the depths to which this program has fallen defy logic.

Arkansas had just 137 yards of offense and three points in the first half at Ole Miss. At the end of the game in Oxford, the Razorbacks had been outgained 483-361.

Arkansas’ 61 rushing yards were the fewest allowed by an Ole Miss team in four years.

Arkansas saw Nick Starkel go 17 of 24 through the air for 201 yards passing in the second half after Ben Hicks had gone seven of 16 for just 98 yards in the first half. Get that slow vehicle out of the left lane! The hammer is definitely not down.

Starkel will get the start this Saturday in Fayetteville against Colorado State.

We were 7-1 on the picks last week (missing only the UAPB game) to make the record 9-3 on the year.

Here are the selections for this Saturday’s games:

Arkansas 30, Colorado State 27 — Style points don’t matter at this point. Just get a W. That should be the mantra in Fayetteville, even if it’s by a single point. Colorado State trailed Arkansas 27-9 last year before rallying for a 34-27 victory. The Rams opened this season with a 52-31 loss to a Colorado team that upset Nebraska the following week. A 38-13 victory over outclassed Western Illinois last weekend allowed Colorado State to break a six-game losing streak. With Starkel now getting the start at quarterback, we’re going to give a slight advantage to the Hogs.

Georgia 42, Arkansas State 26 — My favorite highlight of the college football season so far isn’t something that occurred on the field. It’s instead the footage of Arkansas State University head coach Blake Anderson entering a meeting room in Las Vegas with these words: “Y’all got room for one more?” Anderson had been on a leave of absence since shortly before his wife Wendy’s death on Aug. 19. The Red Wolves, who lost their opener to SMU in Jonesboro, played inspired football in a 43-17 victory over UNLV. It was the biggest margin of victory against a nonconference FBS opponent since 2011. ASU had 498 yards of offense, and the Red Wolf defense held UNLV’s starting quarterback to just 42 yards passing. This week will see the Red Wolves go between the hedges in Athens, Ga., against a Georgia team that beat Murray State 63-17 last Saturday. Jake Fromm threw for 166 yards and a score. Georgia scored 35 of its points in the second quarter before clearing the benches. ASU won’t win, but the Red Wolves should play Georgia a lot closer than Murray State did. The keys for ASU are to play decent football, avoid injuries and pick up the big check.

UCA 29, Abilene Christian 22 — The Bears improved to 2-0 on the 2019 season with a 24-16 win at Austin Peay. UCA had trailed 16-10 in the fourth quarter but rallied with two touchdowns down the stretch. UCA quarterback Breylin Smith completed 19 of 30 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the real deal. The Bears finally get a home game at Conway as Abilene Christian rolls into town for the Southland Conference opener. The two schools played each other in the final game of the season a year ago with the Bears winning by 10 points, 16-6. This year’s Abilene Christian team comes to Conway following a 51-31 loss to North Texas and a 66-14 victory over Arizona Christian. Go with the home team.

UAPB 19, Langston 15 — One of the most pleasant surprises of the weekend was UAPB’s 52-34 victory over Alabama A&M in the SWAC opener at Huntsville, Ala. The Golden Lions, who had lost at TCU the previous week, are now 2-0. UAPB had 632 yards of offense. Keshawn Williams rushed for 206 yards for the Golden Lions. Langston comes to Pine Bluff for the home opener. Granted, UAPB is an FCS program and Langston is an NAIA program. But in recent years, victories over NAIA squads haven’t been guaranteed for the struggling UAPB program. Langston was 9-2 last year with a trip to the NAIA playoffs. The season ended with a 15-9 loss to Kansas Wesleyan in the first round. Langston won its opener last Saturday, 21-20, over McPherson. This is an improved UAPB squad. It won’t be easy, but we’re calling for a Golden Lion victory in Pine Bluff.

Ouachita 31, Arkansas Tech 25 — The Tigers are ranked No. 6 nationally in NCAA Division II by the American Football Coaches Association but might suffer somewhat of a letdown following an emotional 16-14 win at home last week over nationally ranked Harding. It was the national Division II game of the week on ESPN3. Gabe Goodman, a true freshman from Arkadelphia, hit three of his four field goal attempts for the Tigers. That included a 38-yard field goal with 1:05 left that proved the difference. Ouachita and Harding both made the Division II playoffs a year ago and could be back this season. Tech, which has had two head coaches since the end of last season, fell in overtime at UAM.

Harding 24, UAM 13 — Expect Harding to bounce back from its heartbreaking loss at Arkadelphia. The Harding program has more victories (33) the past three seasons than any college program in the state. UAM will hang around for at least three quarters, though. The Boll Weevils won their opener, 26-23, in overtime over Arkansas Tech when Josh Marini hit a 23-yard field goal. UAM went 6-5 in the regular season last year. Coach Hud Jackson should be able to lead his team to another winning record in 2019.

Henderson 40, Southern Nazarene 23 — Coach Scott Maxfield picked up his 100th victory as the Henderson head man as the Reddies opened the season with a 35-28 road win at Oklahoma Baptist. Reddie quarterback Richard Stammetti threw four touchdown passes. Look for Henderson to significantly improve upon last season’s 5-6 record. This game is at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia, and the Reddie program (which has won three GAC titles since 2012) will be anxious to show that last year’s losing record was a fluke.

Southern Arkansas 32, Oklahoma Baptist 28 — The Muleriders opened the season with a 34-14 road victory at Southern Nazarene. They’re at home in Magnolia this Saturday night against Oklahoma Baptist, which failed to defeat any of the six Arkansas GAC schools last season. The Muleriders piled up 323 yards on the ground against Southern Nazarene.



Post to Twitter

College football: Week 2

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

A win is a win, right?

Attendance was announced at 61,055 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium last Saturday afternoon, and you can bet that a majority of those fans left disappointed with Arkansas’ performance in a 20-13 victory over Portland State.

“There’s no such thing as a bad win,” said Razorback head coach Chad Morris.

OK, coach, we’ll play along. We won’t use the adjective “bad.”

Let’s just say that a Southeastern Conference team playing at home should never find itself hanging on for dear life at the end against an FCS squad.

It was the fifth consecutive season opener for a Razorback team to win. Arkansas finished the game with 204 yards on the ground. Rakeem Boyd gained 114 of those rushing yards, his fourth time as a Razorback to rush for more than 100 yards.

There were several bright spots on defense. An Arkansas team had three interceptions for the first time since 2014, and the Hogs also had six sacks.

It was the offense that caused the most headaches. Arkansas had the ball in Portland State territory on 11 of 12 possessions but had a hard time finishing drives with touchdowns.

And things are going to get much tougher this week with the SEC opener in Oxford against Ole Miss.

We were 2-2 on the picks last week.

We figured UCA would keep it close against Western Kentucky, but we didn’t climb out on that limb and predict the Bears to win outright. And we perhaps let emotion get the best of us in picking Arkansas State to beat SMU in Jonesboro.

So let’s move on and get to the picks for Week 2:

Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 24 — The Rebels fell to a good Memphis team, 15-10, at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday. Ole Miss had only 42 yards of offense in the first half. The Arkansas defense probably won’t be able to replicate what the Memphis defense did, but this is a winnable game for the Hogs. The key will be on the offensive side of the ball, especially at the quarterback position. Ben Hicks was just 14 of 29 passing against Portland State for 143 yards. Will we see more of Nick Starkel this week? I think so. Hicks played all but two series in the opener. The Rebels were 5-7 a year ago, and that was enough for Matt Luke to bring in two new coordinators. Both are former FBS head coaches. Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona) is the offensive coordinator. Mike MacIntyre (Colorado) is the defensive coordinator.

Arkansas State 29, UNLV 28 — In David Duggan’s first game as interim head coach, the Red Wolves fell 37-30 to SMU in Jonesboro. ASU junior quarterback Logan Bonner threw four touchdown passes to Omar Bayless, and Bayless tied the school’s single-game record. The Red Wolves make the long trip west this week to do battle with a UNLV squad that’s 1-0 following a 56-23 win last week over Southern Utah. The Rebels were 4-8 a year ago, including a 27-20 loss to ASU in Jonesboro. A UNLV team has not started a season 2-0 since John Robinson’s first year as head coach in 1999 when the Rebels had wins against North Texas and Baylor.

UCA 30, Austin Peay 22 — How about those Bears? They went on the road on Thursday of last week and returned from Bowling Green, Ky., with a 35-28 victory over Western Kentucky of Conference USA. Of course, it’s not a new thing for UCA to beat an FBS school. Don’t forget that the Bears won at Arkansas State just three years ago. UCA quarterback Breylin Smith was 20 of 28 passing for 324 yards. Austin Peay is 1-0 following its 42-10 win over North Carolina Central. The Governors were 5-6 a year ago.

Alabama A&M 19, UAPB 12 — The Golden Lions hung around for a half last Saturday night at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth before falling 38-7 to TCU. The Horned Frogs outgained the Golden Lions 484-225. This week’s road opponent for UAPB is Alabama A&M, which opened its season on national television Sunday afternoon with a 35-30 victory over Morehouse in the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic at Canton, Ohio. Alabama A&M was 6-5 last year (UAPB was 2-9), including a 45-14 victory over the Golden Lions in Pine Bluff. Expect for it to be closer this year.

Ouachita 17, Harding 14 — What a way to open the Great American Conference season. Ouachita and Harding both went to the NCAA Division II playoffs last year. Ouachita is No. 4 and No. 5 in the two major Division II polls. Harding is No. 16 and No. 18. Ouachita has won four of the first eight GAC titles, and Harding has won one (Henderson won the other three). The Ouachita-Harding game has been decided in the final minutes of play for six consecutive seasons. Ouachita won 7-3 in Searcy last year with a goal-line stand at the end of the game. The Tigers went on to win the conference title and go 11-0 in the regular season. It’s the biggest Division II game in the nation this week, and it kicks off at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team, but this one could easily go the other way.

UAM 31, Arkansas Tech 26 — The Boll Weevils were 6-5 in the regular season a year ago, and Arkansas Tech was a disappointing 3-8. Tech fired its head coach, Raymond Monica, at the end of the season and hired Bo Atterbury away from Southeastern Oklahoma. Before spring practice was over, Atterbury had resigned for what were described publicly as health reasons. Bring in Kyle Shipp, a former Tech player who spent the past five seasons as the UAM offensive coordinator. He would love to win his head coaching debut against his former employer on Thursday night, but the Bolls Weevils appear to have the talent advantage at this point despite the loss of three-year starter Cole Sears at quarterback.

Henderson 39, Oklahoma Baptist 34 — The Reddies were an uncharacteristic 5-6 a year ago but look to be improved with the return of quarterback Richard Stammetti, who had 2,459 yards passing in 2018. Henderson also returns two good running backs in Logan Moragne and Querale Hall. Reddie head coach Scott Maxfield has been oddly quiet during the preseason. That means he’s probably prepared to surprise some folks this year as Henderson again becomes a contender. In the words of Harding head coach Paul Simmons: “It would be a lot more surprising if Henderson didn’t bounce back. He has been at the top too long.”

Southern Arkansas 40, Southern Nazarene 23 — The Muleriders thought they had the talent to win the conference a year ago but finished the regular season 8-3. What was supposed to be a showdown against Ouachita turned into a 35-10 Tiger victory. SAU had defeated Harding in the second week of the season. The Muleriders graduated their best offensive player (quarterback Barrett Renner) and their best defensive player (end DaVondrick Lison). But there’s still plenty of talent in Magnolia.



Post to Twitter

College football: Week 1

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Another college football season begins in earnest this week.

Normally, a kickoff time of 3 p.m. on an August afternoon in Fayetteville would be brutal. But it looks as if the weather is going to give University of Arkansas fans a break with temperatures and humidity levels falling late in the week.

The attitude of Razorback fans coming into the 2019 season can best be described with this word: Cautious.

Not “cautious optimism,” mind you. I sense going into this season that fans are being careful not to get too high or too low following that 2-10 debacle in the first year of the Chad Morris regime. They’re pragmatic for a change, telling themselves: “This is a team that plays in the SEC West, and there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Mark this down, however: The Razorbacks need to get to at least five or six victories this year or there will be serious questions being asked about Morris’ ability to get it done.

The Razorback fan base has been beat down. Consider that:

— Arkansas has had just one winning season since Bobby Petrino left following the 2011 season.

— The Razorbacks have the worst SEC record of any of the 14 conference teams since then — 13-43. The next worst in the SEC West is Ole Miss at 23-33. The next worst in the conference as a whole are Tennessee and Kentucky at 17-39.

The facts speak for themselves. With an overall record of 35-52 the past seven years and home losses to teams such as Louisiana-Monroe and Toledo, it’s evident that Arkansas has the worst football program in the SEC.

That doesn’t mean Arkansas — with its facilities and tradition — will stay there. The road back to respectability can begin Saturday against Portland State.

Let’s get to the picks:

Arkansas 49, Portland State 20 — Even given the current state of the program, this should be a relatively easy Hog victory over an FCS squad. Portland State was 4-7 overall and 3-5 in Big Sky Conference play a year ago. The Vikings were 0-11 the previous season. We now know that Ben Hicks will start at quarterback for the Razorbacks, though you can expect Nick Starkel to get plenty of work. The goals in this game are to iron out the first-game kinks, build a big enough lead early to allow lots of substitutions and avoid major injuries in advance of the Sept. 7 Ole Miss game in Oxford. The Rebels will have their hands full Saturday against a good Memphis team. That contest will be telecast at 11 a.m. on ABC.

Arkansas State 31, SMU 30 — It promises to be an emotional night in Jonesboro as the Red Wolves play for the first time since the death of Wendy Anderson, the wife of head coach Blake Anderson. ASU was 8-5 overall and 5-3 in Sun Belt Conference play last year, which didn’t meet the high expectations of Red Wolf fans these days. ASU won back-to-back Sun Belt championships in 2015-16. Anderson, who now has a 39-25 record at the school, cleaned house on his coaching staff following last season. With 13 returning starters, the Red Wolves should be better. SMU brings in a team that was 5-7 last year but had a quality win over Houston.

Western Kentucky 29, UCA 27 — The FCS Bears open the season on the road against against an FBS team, but it’s a winnable game on Thursday night. Western Kentucky was just 3-9 in 2019 and finished the season 2-6 in Conference USA play. In their first year under Nathan Brown, the Bears struggled to a 6-5 record. The previous two seasons under head coach Steve Campbell (now at South Alabama) had seen UCA post back-to-back 10-win seasons. Two of UCA’s losses in 2018 were by a combined five points. Brown, who is just 33, has eight starters back on offense. UCA is picked to finish second in the Southland Conference.

TCU 59, UAPB 12 — The Golden Lions go to Fort Worth to collect a check in a game that’s sure to get ugly early. TCU was 7-6 last year, which was not up to the high standards of recent seasons. The Horned Frogs won their final three games, beating Baylor and Oklahoma State in Big 12 play and then defeating California in overtime in bowl play. UAPB was 2-9 in its first season under head coach Cedric Thomas. UAPB had a combined record of 21-46 the six seasons prior to that. The school hasn’t had a winning season since 2012.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 13

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

And so it ends — the worst University of Arkansas football season in my lifetime.

My memories only go back to when Frank Broyles was the head coach and Arkansas was one of the three winningest programs in the country (along with Texas and Alabama) for the decade of the 1960s. Those older than me will have to tell you whether it was worse than it is now back when Otis Douglas was coach (he went 9-21 from 1950-52).

Arkansas football has received national publicity this fall for all the wrong reasons — players running over each other in the backfield, falling for trick plays and even taking photos with an opposing team’s cheerleaders before games.

It has been beyond embarrassing for those who support the program. That said, we must give Chad Morris and his staff time to try to recruit themselves out of the mess left behind by Bret Bielema and his enabler, Jeff Long. The hole was far deeper than any of us realized.

The lack of effort, teamwork and will was never more on display than was the case last Saturday at Starkville as Arkansas fell by a final score of 52-6 to a mediocre Mississippi State team. Nick Fitzgerald led six consecutive touchdown drives against a Hog defense that didn’t seem to want to be on the field. Coming into the game, Fitzgerald had only thrown two touchdown passes in SEC play this season. He threw four against Arkansas.

Mississippi State outgained the Razorbacks 287-69 on the ground, 188-150 through the air and 475-219 overall.

Arkansas failed to score touchdowns against Auburn and Mississippi State this season. The last time an Arkansas team failed to score touchdowns in two or more games was 2001.

Mississippi State used to be the whipping boy of the SEC. Want to know how far the Arkansas program has fallen? Just consider this fact: Mississippi State has won six of the past seven games against Arkansas.

No wonder Chad Morris used the word “unacceptable” nine times in a five-minute period after the game.

This is indeed unacceptable.

At least we have Arkansas State, which is headed to a bowl game for an eighth consecutive year.

And we have Ouachita, which is among the top four NCAA Division II teams in the country according to the various polls.

The only college football game in the state this week will be in Arkadelphia as Ouachita hosts the University of Indianapolis on Saturday in the second round of the Division II playoffs. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Cliff Harris Stadium for the contest between the 11-0 Tigers and 10-1 UIndy.

Plan a road trip to Arkadelphia to see this game. It should be fun to watch.

We’re 72-24 for the season as we make picks for the final time in 2018.

Missouri 42, Arkansas 20 — Missouri improved its record to 7-4 overall and 3-4 in SEC play with a 50-17 win over Tennessee (5-6, 2-5) in Knoxville last Saturday. It was the second consecutive season for the game to end with that score. It had to be particularly sweet for Missouri offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, who was 15-21 as the Tennessee head coach from 2010-12. Don’t expect many people to be in attendance in Columbia on what looks to be a cold, rainy Friday afternoon. And don’t expect many folks to be watching on CBS. Arkansas went 3-9 in 2013, which was Bielema’s first year as head coach. If the Hogs lose Friday, it will be the first 10-loss season in school history. The last time an Arkansas team had only two wins in a season was in 1952 under the aforementioned Otis Douglas.

Arkansas State 45, Texas State 27 — If ASU can beat Texas State in San Marcos on Saturday afternoon (which I think will happen) and Louisiana-Monroe can beat Louisiana-Lafayette (that might not happen), the Red Wolves will have a spot in the first Sun Belt Conference championship game. ASU improved to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play with a 31-17 victory in Jonesboro last Saturday afternoon over Louisiana-Monroe (6-5, 4-3). Justice Hansen completed his first seven passes of the game and finished 21 of 27 passing for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Texas State is 3-8 with victories of 36-20 over Texas Southern, 27-20 over New Mexico State and 40-31 over Georgia State. The losses have been by scores of 35-7 to Rutgers, 41-31 to South Alabama, 25-21 to Texas-San Antonio, 42-27 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 15-13 to Georgia Southern, 20-14 to Louisiana-Monroe, 38-7 to Appalachian State and 12-7 to Troy. The school has already fired its head coach.

Ouachita 28, Indianapolis 25 — It has been an amazing run for Ouachita. When the Tigers defeated Henderson 38-10 in the Battle of the Ravine on Nov. 10, it marked the 16th consecutive conference victory for Ouachita. Tiger teams are 44-10 in Great American Conference play since the start of the 2014 season and have won four of the first eight GAC crowns. The one thing Ouachita hasn’t done is win a playoff game, having lost close contests in 2014 and 2017. Nothing will come easily this Saturday for the 11-0 Tigers against a Greyhound team that’s 10-1 following a 38-27 victory over Fort Hays State in the opening round of the Division II playoffs. Ouachita received a bye in the first round as the top-rated team in the region.

Post to Twitter

College football: Week 12

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Another week, another Razorback loss in this lost season of 2018.

The Hogs made it interesting at the end in a 24-17 loss to LSU, but the offensive performance was beyond ugly in the first three quarters. Arkansas had just 91 yards of offense through three quarters and finished with 216 yards. The 16 yards rushing were the fewest for an Arkansas team since the Hogs gained only 11 yards in a 52-10 loss to Texas in 2008.

It marked the third consecutive win in the series for LSU (8-2, 5-2), which now leads the overall series 40-22-2. Arkansas (2-8, 0-6) is still the only Southeastern Conference team without a victory in SEC play and finishes the season 2-4 in games played at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas is on the road for its final two games.

On a brighter note for college football in the state, two Arkansas teams (Ouachita and Harding) made the NCAA Division II playoffs. Ouachita (11-0) earned a bye as the top seed in its region. The Tigers will play at 1 p.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia. Harding (9-2) makes the long trip to Big Rapids, Mich., for a second consecutive year to take on Ferris State this Saturday.

We were 6-1 on the picks last week, making the record 70-21 for the season.

Here are the picks for this Saturday’s games:

Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 20 — It’s yet another 11 a.m. kickoff for the Razorbacks. We expect them to hang around in this one with a chance to win at the end. Mississippi State comes into the contest with a 6-4 overall mark and a 2-4 conference record. The Bulldogs are 5-1 in games played at Starkville. The six victories have come by scores of 63-6 over Stephen F. Austin, 31-10 over Kansas State, 56-10 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 23-9 over Auburn, 28-13 over Texas A&M and 45-3 over Louisiana Tech. The losses have come by scores of 28-7 to Kentucky, 13-6 to Florida, 19-3 to LSU and 24-0 to Alabama. We’ll see if the Arkansas defense has an answer for Nick Fitzgerald, the 6-5, 230-pound Bulldog senior quarterback who owns 12 school records.

Ferris State 28, Harding 26 — Harding went to Ferris last year in the playoffs and upset the Bulldogs 16-14 when Tristan Parsley hit a field goal as time expired. That Harding team finished the regular season 8-3 and then got hot in the playoffs, winning three games before falling in the semifinals. Ferris is 11-0 this season. Because the two teams met last year, the Bulldogs now know what to expect from Harding’s twin-slot option offense. Harding leads NCAA Division II in rushing (averaging 348.7 yards per game) and in time of possession (36:08). Harding finished the regular season last Saturday with a 28-0 win over Arkansas Tech. The Bisons held the Wonder Boys to just 156 yards of offense. It was the fifth consecutive victory for Harding since a 7-3 loss to Ouachita. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team on what promises to be a cold afternoon in Big Rapids.

Louisiana-Monroe 35, Arkansas State 33 — Both teams have 6-4 records going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Jonesboro. UL-M is 4-2 in Sun Belt Conference play, and ASU is 3-3 in the conference. The Red Wolves struggled early in conference games but looked much better last week in a 44-16 win at Coastal Carolina. Louisiana-Monroe’s six wins have been by scores of 34-31 over Southeastern Louisiana, 21-20 over Southern Mississippi, 45-20 over Coastal Carolina, 20-14 over Texas State, 44-25 over Georgia Southern and 38-10 over South Alabama. The Warhawks’ four losses have come by scores of 48-10 to Texas A&M, 35-27 to Troy, 46-14 to Georgia State and 70-21 to Ole Miss. The win at Coastal Carolina made ASU bowl eligible for an eighth consecutive season. Red Wolf quarterback Justice Hansen was 18 of 20 passing for 253 yards and four touchdowns. The Red Wolves led 27-6 at the half and didn’t punt until late in the third quarter.

Abilene Christian 29, UCA 25 — Abilene Christian has won four consecutive games coming into Saturday afternoon’s contest against UCA in Abilene. UCA has had a disappointing season by its standards. The Bears fell to 5-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play with a 40-27 loss in Conway last Saturday to Incarnate Word. Abilene Christian’s six victories have been by scores of 41-24 over Angelo State, 38-13 over Houston Baptist, 28-12 over Nicholls State, 48-27 over Southeastern Louisiana, 49-47 over Northwestern State of Louisiana and 17-10 over Sam Houston State. The losses have been by scores of 55-27 to Baylor, 24-21 to Stephen F. Austin, 44-34 to Incarnate Word and 24-21 to McNeese State.

Texas Southern 19, UAPB 17 — A long season for the Golden Lions will come to an end in Houston on Saturday night. UAPB is 1-9 overall and 0-6 in SWAC play in its first year under head coach Cedric Thomas. The Golden Lions certainly have a chance against a Texas Southern team (2-7, 1-5) whose only victories have been by scores of 26-16 over Texas-Permian Basin and 42-14 over Mississippi Valley State. UAPB lost 56-24 last Saturday at Southern University. Southern was led by former Pine Bluff High School quarterback Ladarius Skelton, who passed for 283 yards and four touchdowns against the Golden Lions.

Post to Twitter