Archive for October, 2019

College football: Week 10

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

It’s a winnable game this week for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Will the Hogs actually win?

That’s a whole different deal.

Those Razorback fans who still bother to watch looked on in sadness last week as Alabama raced to a 41-0 halftime lead and then called off the dogs.

The 48-7 loss was the 16th consecutive Southeastern Conference defeat for Arkansas and the 13th consecutive loss by a Razorback team to Alabama. Alabama got 24 of its first-half points off turnovers.

Arkansas is now 4-21 all time against teams ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, a perch from which the Tide fell despite the margin of victory over Arkansas. That’s what playing the Razorbacks will do to your strength of schedule these days.

As we’ve been saying all season, there’s still a lot of good college football being played in the state of Arkansas. Take away the Razorbacks and you’ll notice that the other 11 programs went 9-2 last week against out-of-state foes.

Of the 12 football programs, the only three losers were the three football-playing institutions that are part of the University of Arkansas System: The Hogs, the UAPB Golden Lions and the UAM Boll Weevils.

We went 7-3 on the picks last week, making the record 56-16 for the season.

Here are the picks for Week 10 of the college football season:

Mississippi State 34, Arkansas 31 — The Bulldogs are struggling almost as much as Arkansas. Mississippi State got off to a 3-1 start with victories of 38-28 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-15 over Southern Mississippi and 28-13 over Kentucky along with a 31-24 loss to Kansas State. Since that victory over Kentucky, the Bulldogs have lost four consecutive SEC games — 56-23 to Auburn, 20-10 to Tennessee, 36-13 to LSU and 49-30 to Texas A&M.

Arkansas State 39, Louisiana-Monroe 37 — It has been a struggle for Arkansas State this year, but the Red Wolves were able to even their record at 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Sun Belt Conference with a 38-14 victory in Jonesboro last Saturday night over Texas State. Redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher was 18 of 28 passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Omar Bayless had seven receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. ASU outscored Texas State 21-0 in the second half of that game. If Hatcher and Bayless can have a big game in Monroe on Saturday, the Red Wolves should be able to escape with a victory over a Warhawk team that’s 3-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The three Louisiana-Monroe victories have been by scores of 31-9 over Grambling, 30-17 over South Alabama and 24-14 over Texas State. The losses have been by scores of 45-44 to Florida State in overtime, 72-20 to Iowa State, 52-33 to Memphis and 52-7 to Appalachian State.

UCA 28, Lamar 25 — The Bears stand alone atop the Southland Conference standings. UCA improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play with a 39-25 victory over Sam Houston State last Saturday night in Conway. Sam Houston (now 5-4, 4-2) led 16-0 at halftime. UCA tied the score at 22-22 with 8:36 left in the game on a 28-yard pass from Breylin Smith to Carlos Blackman that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Smith to Blackman. Sam Houston went back on top with a 43-yard field goal with 5:13 remaining. The Bears took the lead for good on a 15-yard pass from Smith to Tyler Hudson with 3:57 left to play. Sam Houston then fumbled at the UCA 18 with 21 seconds left. The Bears go to southeast Texas this week to face a Lamar squad that’s 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Southland Conference. The four wins have been by scores of 65-16 over Bethel, 23-20 over Mississippi Valley State, 27-24 over Abilene Christian and 20-17 in three overtimes over Sam Houston. The losses have been by scores of 63-3 to Texas A&M, 45-34 to Southeastern Louisiana, 24-17 to Stephen F. Austin and 35-17 to Incarnate Word.

UAPB 24, Jackson State 21 — This is a much improved UAPB team over the one that went 2-9 a year ago in Cedric Thomas’ first year as head coach. UAPB, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2012, fell to 5-3 last Saturday when Grambling escaped Pine Bluff with a 39-33 victory. The Golden Lions had a chance to win it at the end when an interception was returned 19 yards to the Tiger 11 with 3:11 left in the game. But on fourth-and-five, UAPB threw an interception. The Golden Lions are on the road Saturday to take on a Jackson State team that’s 3-5 overall. The victories have been by scores of 49-44 over Tennessee State, 31-28 over Mississippi Valley State and 38-35 over Prairie View A&M. The losses have been by scores of 36-15 to Bethune-Cookman, 37-14 to South Alabama, 33-25 to Kentucky State, 44-21 to Grambling and 31-16 to Alabama State.

Ouachita 32, Southern Arkansas 27 — One of the biggest games of the year so far in NCAA Division II is set for this Saturday afternoon in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado. Ouachita is 8-0, ranked No. 5 in the country in Division II and has won the past two Great American Conference championships. The Tigers have won 24 consecutive conference games. Southern Arkansas is 7-1, having lost only to Harding. Both teams struggled a bit on the road last week in Oklahoma. Ouachita fell behind Southern Nazarene 13-0 on a cold, rainy Thursday night before scoring 27 unanswered points to win 27-13. On Saturday, SAU escaped with a 24-23 victory at 1-7 East Central Oklahoma. The Muleriders trailed 20-7 with 7:50 left in the third quarter and finally went ahead for good on a 35-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the game. Ouachita and SAU met two years ago in the Murphy USA Classic with Ouachita winning a game in which the lead changed hands four times in the final two minutes. This one could be similar to that.

Harding 51, East Central Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons lost their opener 16-14 to Ouachita and have since won seven consecutive games. Their three remaining opponents all have losing records. In other words, Harding won’t lose again until the NCAA Division II playoffs. Harding must hope that someone beats Ouachita at least once in order to gain a share of the GAC title. Since the GAC was formed in 2011, Ouachita has won four championships, Henderson has won three and Harding has won one. The Bisons won 47-13 last week at 2-6 Northwestern Oklahoma. Harding outrushed the Rangers 413-101. Cole Chancey had 206 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Henderson 35, UAM 26 — The Reddies improved to 7-1 with a 41-27 win at 1-7 Southeastern Oklahoma last Saturday. It was the ninth consecutive Reddie win over the Savage Storm. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 24 of 34 passing for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson finishes the season with showdowns against Southern Arkansas and Ouachita but can’t afford to be looking ahead since this week’s opponent is a decent UAM team that’s 5-3. The Boll Weevils lost last week by a final score of 33-31 at Oklahoma Baptist, which is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC. Nationally ranked Henderson teams have been tripped up before in Monticello. It’s where the late Coach Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter uttered his famous quote: “Lightning struck the outhouse, and we were in it.”

Southeastern Oklahoma 18, Arkansas Tech 17 — Arkansas Tech lost its first two games of the season and has since won two consecutive contests. It’s another winnable game on Saturday against Southeastern Oklahoma. Tech won 36-35 last week at 2-6 Southwestern Oklahoma. The Wonder Boys had trailed 35-26 going into the fourth quarter of that contest.

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Rex’s Rankings: After nine weeks

Monday, October 28th, 2019

All season we had wondered if anyone in Class 6A would challenge Greenwood.

Not only did Benton challenge Greenwood last Friday night, the Panthers BEAT the Bulldogs.

That certainly shook things up in Class 6A.

Benton had started the season 0-3 in nonconference play. Granted, those losses were to good teams (Bryant, Arkadelphia and Cabot). Since then, Benton has run off conference victories over Russellville, Siloam Springs, Little Rock Hall, El Dorado and now Greenwood.

This week sees the Panthers travel to Lake Hamilton to take on a team that’s 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference. That’s the game of the week in high school football as we enter the final two weeks of the regular season.

In Class 7A, no one has yet challenged Bryant. The Hornets moved to 8-0 last week with a 55-10 victory at Cabot.

Bryant hosts a North Little Rock team that has struggled (by North Little Rock standards) to records of 5-3 overall and 4-1 in conference.

Here are the updated rankings:

OVERALL

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

CLASS 7A

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

CLASS 6A

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

CLASS 5A

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

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. Harding Academy

CLASS 2A

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

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College football: Week 9

Monday, October 21st, 2019

We’re talking history at this point.

If the football program at the University of Arkansas ever returns to respectability, you’ll be able to tell the grandchildren: “I lived through the worst period in modern Razorback history.”

Here are some of the sobering numbers in the wake of Arkansas’ 51-10 loss to Auburn in Fayetteville last Saturday:

— Though there weren’t nearly that many people actually in their seats, the announced attendance Saturday was 54,619 in a stadium that holds almost 75,000 people. That’s the smallest Fayetteville crowd since 2003 and the smallest crowd to witness a Southeastern Conference game in Fayetteville since before the stadium was expanded in 2001. Let’s put it in perspective: Almost twice as many people attended the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock on Saturday as attended the Razorback game in Fayetteville. If there’s one factor more than any other that will force the Arkansas athletic director’s hand on a quick coaching change, it’s apathy. And apathy has firmly set in across Arkansas when it comes to Razorback football.

— Arkansas, which fell to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in SEC play, lost its 15th consecutive SEC game.

— Saturday’s 41-point margin was the largest so far during that losing streak.

— Chad Morris is now 0-12 against SEC opponents.

As we’ve stated before, there’s good college football being played in Arkansas this season. It’s just not in Fayetteville. The other Arkansas teams that played on Saturday went 7-1 against out-of-state foes.

We were 8-1 on our picks for the week, making the season record 49-13.

Here are the selections for this week’s games:

Alabama 49, Arkansas 19 — As you know by now, Tua Tagovailoa won’t be playing for Alabama on Saturday following an ankle injury in the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 win against Tennessee. Will it matter much? We doubt it. The No. 1 Tide is 7-0 with victories of 42-3 over Duke, 62-10 over New Mexico State, 47-23 over South Carolina, 49-7 over Southern Mississippi, 59-31 over Ole Miss, 47-28 over Texas A&M and 35-13 over Tennessee. The closest margin of victory has been 19 points. And Nick Saban will see to it that his team isn’t looking ahead to LSU.

Texas State 35, Arkansas State 33 — This is a winnable game for ASU, which fell to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in Sun Belt Conference play last Thursday night with a 37-20 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves, though, have lost four starters to injury on defense in addition to losing their quarterback on offense. To put it simply, they can’t stop anyone. ASU’s best chance is for redshirt freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher to have a great night in a high-scoring shootout. Hatcher was 23 of 34 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Texas State is 2-4 overall. The wins have come by scores of 37-34 over Georgia State and 24-3 over Nicholls State. The losses have been by scores of 41-7 to Texas A&M, 23-14 to Wyoming, 47-17 to SMU and 24-14 to Louisiana-Monroe.

Sam Houston State 28, UCA 25 — The Bears moved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in Southland Conference play after escaping Northwestern State in Louisiana with a 31-30 victory. The Demons remain winless at 0-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. Northwestern scored with 1:30 left in the game and then went for two. A pass was knocked away on the two-point conversion attempt, and the Bears hit the road back to Conway. This week’s opponent is a Sam Houston State team that’s 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Southland Conference. The three losses have been by scores of 39-31 to New Mexico, 27-23 to North Dakota and 20-17 to Lamar. The five victories have been by scores of 77-0 over Oklahoma Panhandle, 45-6 over Incarnate Word, 28-17 over McNeese, 31-20 over Stephen F. Austin and 17-0 over Nicholls.

Grambling 18, UAPB 15 — The Golden Lions are a surprising 5-2 and have had two weeks to prepare for this game. Grambling comes to Pine Bluff with a record of 2-4. The Tigers began the season 0-2 with losses of 31-9 to Louisiana-Monroe, 20-14 to Louisiana Tech, 23-20 to Alabama State and 42-36 to Prairie View A&M. They have, however, turned it around with two consecutive SWAC wins by scores of 44-21 over Jackson State and 23-10 over Alabama A&M.

Ouachita 34, Southern Nazarene 17 — Ouachita has a short week with a Thursday night game in Oklahoma. The Tigers are 7-0, they’re ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division II and they have won 23 consecutive conference games. But Nazarene, which is 2-5, has a way of giving Ouachita teams a tough time. In fact, the home team led in the fourth quarter two years ago before Ouachita came from behind to win. Ouachita posted a 41-14 victory over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday as three Tiger running backs scored two touchdowns each. Ouachita led 28-0 at the half of that game.

Henderson 40, Southeastern Oklahoma 22 — The 6-1 Reddies celebrated homecoming in style last Saturday with a 48-17 victory over East Central Oklahoma. Henderson quarterback Richard Stammetti was 18 of 27 passing for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Henderson heads to Durant this week to do battle with a Southeastern Oklahoma team that has struggled to a 1-6 record. Southeastern fell by 42 points to Southern Arkansas last Saturday. The Reddies just have to be sure they aren’t looking ahead to a final three-game stretch that will see them play UAM, Southern Arkansas and Ouachita.

Southern Arkansas 47, East Central Oklahoma 23 — The Muleriders improved to 6-1 with that 49-7 victory in Magnolia over Southeastern Oklahoma. SAU led 28-0 at the half of that game. With his 63rd victory at the school, Bill Keopple became the all-time winningest coach in SAU history. The Muleriders held the Savage Storm to a negative three yards rushing and shouldn’t have any problem in Ada this Saturday afternoon against East Central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Baptist 30, UAM 27 — Oklahoma Baptist is the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC and has one of the conference’s top quarterbacks. That could spell trouble for the 5-2 Boll Weevils, who posted a 31-28 victory over Southern Nazarene last Saturday in Monticello. Southern Nazarene led 20-7 at the half of that game. Oklahoma Baptist is 3-4 but could easily be 5-2 following close losses to Henderson and Southern Arkansas. The Bison even scored 33 points on the vaunted Harding defense.

Harding 44, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — The Bisons have won six consecutive games since losing the season opener to Ouachita. Last Saturday saw a 45-14 win over Southwestern Oklahoma. The Bisons had 504 rushing yards on 68 carries and led 31-0 at halftime. It’s a long trip to Alva, but don’t expect 2-5 Northwestern Oklahoma to present much of a challenge. The Bisons don’t play another team with a winning record this year.

Southwestern Oklahoma 26, Arkansas Tech 16 — Tech finally got its first win of the season last Saturday in Russellville. The final score was 21-14 over Northwestern Oklahoma in a game that was tied 7-7 after three quarters of play. The Wonder Boys had a 55-yard fumble recovery to take the lead. Southwestern is 2-5 but usually plays well (the Bulldogs led Ouachita in the fourth quarter before losing) at home in Weatherford.

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Rex’s Rankings: After eight weeks

Monday, October 21st, 2019

Is it too early to start talking about where this Bryant team ranks on the list of the greatest high school football squads in Arkansas history?

I don’t think so, especially considering that Bryant is putting the mercy rule (or the more politically correct “sportsmanship rule,” as the Arkansas Activities Association likes to call it) on teams week after week.

The Hornets did it again last week in a 55-0 victory over Fort Smith Southside.

If anyone can challenge Bryant in the Class 7A playoffs, it likely will be Bentonville, which posted a 55-14 victory over Fayetteville last week.

The big surprise of the week came when Little Rock Catholic went to North Little Rock and came away with a 41-21 victory. North Little Rock falls all the way out of our overall Top 10, and Catholic moves back in at No. 9.

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

OVERALL

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

CLASS 7A

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

CLASS 6A

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

CLASS 5A

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

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 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.

 

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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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