College football: Week 7

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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