Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Rex’s Rankings: After seven weeks

Monday, October 14th, 2019

Time flies when you’re having fun. Right?

It seems as if we were just starting a new high school football season a few days ago. But here we are with only four weeks left in the regular season.

What have we learned?

We’ve learned that Bryant just might have one of the greatest high school teams this state has ever seen. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, but no one has tested the Hornets yet.

We’ve learned that it’s Greenwood and everyone else in Class 6A.

We’ve learned that we would be lucky to see a Little Rock Christian rematch against Pulaski Academy in the playoffs. Little Rock Christian’s 63-61 victory earlier this month is the most exciting high school game that has been played in Arkansas so far this year.

In Class 7A this week, there are several contests that we should keep an eye on. They include Cabot at Little Rock Central, Little Rock Catholic at North Little Rock, Bentonville at Fayetteville and Springdale Har-Ber at Bentonville West. All of these games eventually will affect the playoff seedings.

Here are the updated rankings after seven weeks of the high school football season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. North Little Rock
  5. Little Rock Christian
  6. Pulaski Academy
  7. Harrison
  8. Conway
  9. Springdale Har-Ber
  10. Shiloh Christian

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Conway
  5. Springdale Har-Ber

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Benton

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Valley View
  5. Greenbrier

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Arkadelphia
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Nashville
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Camden Harmony Grove
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Junction City
  3. Foreman
  4. McCrory
  5. Des Arc

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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.

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Rex’s Rankings: After six weeks

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Within a mile of each other, rematches of two state championship games were played last Friday night.

Both games came down to the final seconds.

In a rematch of the Class 5A title game, Little Rock Christian hit a late field goal to beat Pulaski Academy by a final score of 63-61.

In a rematch of the Class 4A title game, Arkadelphia blocked an extra point late to beat Pulaski Robinson by a final score of 28-27.

The winners were the same two teams than won at War Memorial Stadium back in December. Don’t be surprised if we see playoff rematches later this year.

Bryant still appears to be the class of Class 7A following a 56-7 thrashing of Little Rock Catholic.

And it’s Greenwood and then everybody else in Class 6A. Greenwood downed El Dorado by a final score of 52-24 last Friday.

Top games this week include Cabot at Conway, Bryant at Little Rock Central and Nashville at Joe T. Robinson.

Here are the updated rankings with five weeks to go in the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. North Little Rock
  5. Little Rock Christian
  6. Pulaski Academy
  7. Harrison
  8. Conway
  9. Cabot
  10. Nashville

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Conway
  5. Cabot

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Benton

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Wynne
  5. Morrilton

CLASS 4A

  1. Nashville
  2. Shiloh Christian
  3. Arkadelphia
  4. Joe T. Robinson
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. Rison
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Camden Harmony Grove
  5. McGehee

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Hazen
  3. Junction City
  4. Foreman
  5. McCrory

 

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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.

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Rex’s Rankings: After five weeks

Monday, September 30th, 2019

Conference play began across the state last Friday night, and there were some interesting outcomes.

In Class 7A, Little Rock Catholic shocked a Cabot team that had started the season 3-0.

In Class 6A, West Memphis outlasted Marion by a final score of 41-40 in overtime in the Battle of Crittenden County. West Memphis moves back among the top five teams in Class 6A.

Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian, the top two teams in Class 5A, had easy warm-ups in advance of their showdown this week. PA posted a 43-0 victory over J.A. Fair, and Little Rock Christian shut out Watson Chapel by a final score of 49-7.

In the Class 4A showdown, Nashville (No. 2 in 4A at the time) defeated two-time defending state champion Arkadelphia (No. 1 at the time) by a final score of 22-21 on a late field goal.

The biggest of the big games this week are in central Arkansas — Little Rock Catholic goes to Bryant, Conway visits North Little Rock, Pulaski Academy goes to Little Rock Christian and Arkadelphia is at Joe T. Robinson.

Here are the updated rankings after five weeks of the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. Conway
  5. Pulaski Academy
  6. Little Rock Christian
  7. Harrison
  8. North Little Rock
  9. Little Rock Catholic
  10. Nashville

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. North Little Rock
  5. Little Rock Catholic

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. West Memphis

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Harrison
  4. Wynne
  5. Morrilton

CLASS 4A

  1. Nashville
  2. Shiloh Christian
  3. Joe T. Robinson
  4. Arkadelphia
  5. Warren

CLASS 3A

  1. McGehee
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Rison
  5. Camden Harmony Grove

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Hazen
  3. Junction City
  4. Foreman
  5. McCrory

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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.

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Rex’s Rankings: After four weeks

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Last week was that week before the conference season begins; the week when many of the high school teams across the state take their byes.

In fact, five of our Top 10 teams did not play.

No. 1 Bryant was impressive in its 42-13 victory over Fayetteville.

No. 2 Greenwood also was impressive in a 50-20 victory over a team from Sand Springs, Okla.

The game of the week this Friday is at the Class 4A level as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in that classification play — defending state champion Arkadelphia hosts Nashville.

Here are the updated rankings after four weeks of the high school football season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. Conway
  5. Cabot
  6. Pulaski Academy
  7. Arkadelphia
  8. Little Rock Christian
  9. Harrison
  10. Little Rock Central

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. Cabot
  5. Little Rock Central

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Sheridan

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Harrison
  4. Morrilton
  5. Little Rock McClellan

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Shiloh Christian
  5. Joe T. Robinson

CLASS 3A

  1. McGehee
  2. Prescott
  3. Osceola
  4. Rison
  5. Camden Harmony Grove

CLASS 2A

  1. Fordyce
  2. Hazen
  3. Junction City
  4. Foreman
  5. McCrory

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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.

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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.

 

 

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Rex’s Rankings: After two weeks

Monday, September 9th, 2019

North Little Rock, with its quarterback suspended, laid an egg last Friday night in a 23-0 loss to Memphis Whitehaven.

We’re not used to seeing North Little Rock lose a game in the regular season. The loss snapped a 37-game regular-season winning streak for the Charging Wildcats.

We’re going to drop the team from No. 1 to No. 7 overall and let it work its way back up.

In the game of the week, Bentonville downed Conway by a final score of 17-10. We had Conway at No. 4 and Bentonville at No. 5 last week. This week, it’s Bentonville at No. 3 and Conway still at No. 4.

Greenwood is clearly the class of Class 6A again. The Bulldogs opened their season with a 38-10 win over Fort Smith Northside.

Here are the rankings after two weeks of the season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Greenwood
  3. Bentonville
  4. Conway
  5. Pulaski Academy
  6. Cabot
  7. North Little Rock
  8. Arkadelphia
  9. Little Rock Christian
  10. Harrison

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Bentonville
  3. Conway
  4. Cabot
  5. North Little Rock

CLASS 6A

  1. Greenwood
  2. Searcy
  3. Jonesboro
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. West Memphis

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Little Rock Christian
  3. Harrison
  4. Little Rock McClellan
  5. Morrilton

CLASS 4A

  1. Arkadelphia
  2. Nashville
  3. Warren
  4. Shiloh Christian
  5. Joe T. Robinson

CLASS 3A

  1. Camden Harmony Grove
  2. McGehee
  3. Prescott
  4. Osceola
  5. Rison

CLASS 2A

  1. Hazen
  2. Fordyce
  3. Junction City
  4. Des Arc
  5. Gurdon

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