Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

College football: Week 8

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

For Razorback fans, it was a September to remember.

It has been an October to forget.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rex’s Rankings: After eight weeks

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Conway just keeps finding a way to get it done.

The No. 2 team in the state trailed Fort Smith Northside in the final minute of play Friday before scoring with seconds remaining to win 23-21.

The Wampus Cats, who lost to Fayetteville in a nonconference game in the season opener, have since won six consecutive games. The next two games should be easy victories against Little Rock Central and Little Rock Catholic.

That would set up a showdown in the final week of the regular season with No. 1 Bryant.

Bryant moved to 6-1 (its only loss was at Longview, Texas) with a 48-7 victory over Little Rock Southwest. The Hornets have a tougher schedule since they have to play Cabot and North Little Rock before facing Conway.

Here are the updated rankings with just three weeks remaining in the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Lake Hamilton
  4. Fayetteville
  5. Cabot
  6. Pulaski Academy
  7. Bentonville
  8. Camden Fairview
  9. Shiloh Christian
  10. Benton

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Cabot
  5. Bentonville

CLASS 6A

  1. Lake Hamilton
  2. Benton
  3. Greenwood
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Little Rock Parkview

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Camden Fairview
  3. Greenbrier
  4. Vilonia
  5. Little Rock Christian

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Warren
  4. Ashdown
  5. Stuttgart

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. McGehee
  3. Booneville
  4. Osceola
  5. Harding Academy

CLASS 2A

  1. Bigelow
  2. Des Arc
  3. McCrory
  4. Hector
  5. Hazen

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College football: Week 7

Monday, October 11th, 2021

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

Ole Miss 52, Arkansas 51.

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

Wild things happen in Oxford, don’t they?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to this week’s games:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rex’s Rankings: After seven weeks

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Cabot was No. 2 overall and Conway was No. 3 coming into last week’s games.

I wasn’t surprised that Conway won. What was surprising was how easily the Wampus Cats did it, winning by a final score of 57-21.

Conway is up to No. 2 in this week’s rankings, and Cabot falls to No. 7.

No. 1 Bryant won 63-0 over Little Rock Central.

Lake Hamilton stays at No. 1 in Class 6A following a 42-32 victory over Russellville.

Pulaski Academy is still No. 1 in Class 5A after a 63-28 victory over White Hall.

Shiloh Christian remains on top in Class 4A after its 42-14 win over Prairie Grove.

Prescott is still No. 1 in Class 3A following its 50-41 victory over Centerpoint.

And Bigelow remains on top of Class 2A after a 49-22 thrashing of Mountainburg.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. Fort Smith Northside
  6. Pulaski Academy
  7. Cabot
  8. Camden Fairview
  9. Shiloh Christian
  10. North Little Rock

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Conway
  3. Bentonville
  4. Fort Smith Northside
  5. Cabot

CLASS 6A

  1. Lake Hamilton
  2. Benton
  3. Greenwood
  4. Jonesboro
  5. Little Rock Parkview

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Camden Fairview
  3. Greenbrier
  4. Vilonia
  5. Little Rock Christian

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Warren
  4. Ashdown
  5. Stuttgart

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. McGehee
  3. Booneville
  4. Osceola
  5. Centerpoint

CLASS 2A

  1. Bigelow
  2. Des Arc
  3. Clarendon
  4. McCrory
  5. Fordyce

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College football: Week 6

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

It was a September to remember for Razorback fans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the predictions for this week’s games:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Rex’s Rankings: After six weeks

Monday, October 4th, 2021

It wasn’t all that surprising that Conway defeated North Little Rock last Friday night. After all, North Little Rock was No. 3 and Conway was No. 4 overall coming into the game. They’re both good.

What was surprising was the 28-point margin of victory as Conway won 38-10.

The Wampus Cats move to No. 3 and North Little Rock drops to No. 10.

The biggest upset of the evening occurred when the No. 1 team in Class 5A, Little Rock Christian, fell to White Hall by a final score of 14-10.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Cabot
  3. Conway
  4. Lake Hamilton
  5. Bentonville
  6. Fort Smith Northside
  7. Pulaski Academy
  8. Camden Fairview
  9. Shiloh Christian
  10. North Little Rock

CLASS 7A

  1. Bryant
  2. Cabot
  3. Conway
  4. Bentonville
  5. Fort Smith Northside

CLASS 6A

  1. Lake Hamilton
  2. Benton
  3. Greenwood
  4. Little Rock Parkview
  5. Jonesboro

CLASS 5A

  1. Pulaski Academy
  2. Camden Fairview
  3. Greenbrier
  4. Vilonia
  5. White Hall

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Warren
  4. Ashdown
  5. Stuttgart

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. McGehee
  3. Booneville
  4. Osceola
  5. Centerpoint

CLASS 2A

  1. Bigelow
  2. Des Arc
  3. Clarendon
  4. McCrory
  5. Fordyce

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College football: Week 5

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

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

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

Yes, I picked Arkansas to lose to Texas.

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

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

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

It has been quite a September.

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

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

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

Let’s get to the picks for this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rex’s Rankings: After five weeks

Monday, September 27th, 2021

On the fifth Friday night of the high school football season, there weren’t many upsets.

In fact, the most interesting outcome may have been on Thursday night at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Little Rock Parkview football is back. The Patriots rolled to a 48-28 victory over perennial powerhouse Greenwood, which falls to 2-2.

It has been interesting to watch head coach Brad Bolding build this program back. For those of us above the age of 60, it brings back memories of the days when Sam Goodwin roamed the sideline and Parkview was a feared program.

We have the Patriots at No. 2 in Class 6A, just behind Lake Hamilton.

The top four teams overall — Bryant, Cabot, North Little Rock and Conway — continue to hail from the 7A-Central. All four teams won by double-digit margins Friday.

Here are the updated rankings as we near the halfway point of the regular season:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Cabot
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Conway
  5. Lake Hamilton
  6. Little Rock Christian
  7. Bentonville
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Shiloh Christian
  10. Pulaski Academy

CLASS 7A

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

CLASS 6A

  1. Lake Hamilton
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Benton
  4. Van Buren
  5. Greenwood

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Camden Fairview
  4. Greenbrier
  5. Vilonia

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Warren
  4. Ashdown
  5. Stuttgart

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. McGehee
  3. Booneville
  4. Osceola
  5. Centerpoint

CLASS 2A

  1. Bigelow
  2. Des Arc
  3. Clarendon
  4. McCrory
  5. Fordyce

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College football: Week 4

Monday, September 20th, 2021

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

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

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

Can it continue?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Rex’s Rankings: After four weeks

Monday, September 20th, 2021

The longest winning streak and longest losing streak in the state ended Friday night.

Bryant’s 32-game winning streak came to an end in Longview, Texas, with a 24-21 loss to Longview, a traditional east Texas powerhouse.

Meanwhile, De Queen’s 28-game losing streak ended with a victory over Fouke.

I’m going to leave Bryant at No. 1 overall until it loses to an Arkansas team.

The No. 1 team in Class 4A, Shiloh Christian, lost. But that loss also was to an out-of-state power, this one from Sand Springs, Okla.

Let’s wait for a loss to an Arkansas team before dropping Shiloh out of the top spot in 4A.

Here are the updated rankings as conference play begins this week:

OVERALL

  1. Bryant
  2. Cabot
  3. North Little Rock
  4. Conway
  5. Lake Hamilton
  6. Little Rock Christian
  7. Bentonville
  8. Little Rock Parkview
  9. Greenwood
  10. Fort Smith Northside

CLASS 7A

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

CLASS 6A

  1. Lake Hamilton
  2. Little Rock Parkview
  3. Greenwood
  4. Benton
  5. El Dorado

CLASS 5A

  1. Little Rock Christian
  2. Pulaski Academy
  3. Harrison
  4. Camden Fairview
  5. Greenbrier

CLASS 4A

  1. Shiloh Christian
  2. Joe T. Robinson
  3. Warren
  4. Ashdown
  5. Crossett

CLASS 3A

  1. Prescott
  2. McGehee
  3. Booneville
  4. Osceola
  5. Harding Academy

CLASS 2A

  1. Bigelow
  2. Des Arc
  3. Clarendon
  4. McCrory
  5. Fordyce

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