College football: Week 5

So long, Les Miles.

Welcome back to the Southeastern Conference head coaching ranks, Crazy Ed Orgeron.

It was quite a week in the SEC.

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn relinquished his play-calling duties and traded in his visor for a cap. Auburn didn’t score a touchdown, but six field goals were enough for an 18-13 Tiger victory that cost Miles his job.

To the west in Arlington, Texas, it was ugly for the Razorbacks in the second half. Texas A&M 45, Arkansas 24 is one to forget.

The game:

— Marked the fifth consecutive time for the Aggies to beat Arkansas.

— Marked the sixth consecutive year for Arkansas to lose its SEC opener.

— Made Kevin Sumlin 5-0 as a head coach against Arkansas.

— Made Bret Bielema 0-4 as a head coach against the Aggies.

Austin Allen was 28 of 42 passing for 371 yards, but Texas A&M scored 17 points off Arkansas turnovers. The game marked the first time for the two schools to meet as ranked opponents since 2011. Arkansas leads the overall series, 42-29-3, and the series is tied 3-3 in games played at what’s now AT&T Stadium.

Little Rock gets its token game on Saturday as the Razorbacks play an Alcorn State team that lost earlier in the season to a UAPB squad that’s now 1-3.

We were 5-2 on the picks last week. We made the mistake of picking Arkansas. And, of course, we picked Arkansas State to beat UCA in Jonesboro. Who could have seen that upset coming?

The record for the season is now 26-9.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 5:

Arkansas 55, Alcorn State 14 — Look at the bright side. The 11 a.m. start allows you to have brunch at your tailgate party on the War Memorial golf course. Who doesn’t like brunch? Alcorn is the defending SWAC champion but has struggled this year. The first scheduled game against Bethune-Cookman at Daytona Beach, Fla., was called off due to severe weather. That was followed by a narrow 21-18 victory over Alabama State and losses of 45-43 in three overtimes to UAPB and 43-18 to Grambling. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing the dreaded Wave in War Memorial Stadium by the third quarter of this one.

UCA 29, Abilene Christian 19 — How about those Bears beating Arkansas State in Jonesboro? A crowd of 28,012 looked on as UCA won 28-23 to move to 3-1. ASU is off to an 0-4 start. It was the first time for UCA to defeat an Arkansas State team since 1937. And it was the first time for ASU to lose to an FCS team since the Thanksgiving Day loss to Nicholls State in 2001 that cost Joe Hollis his job. Arkansas State fell to the Bears despite leading 469-382 in total yardage. The Bears should be feeling good about themselves as they make the long trip to Abilene, Texas, this week to take on an 0-4 Abilene Christian team in a Southland Conference affair. Abilene Christian has lost 37-21 to Air Force, 55-52 to Northern Colorado, 27-24 to Houston Baptist and 41-30 to Stephen F. Austin.

Alabama State 15, UAPB 13 — Alabama State is 0-4 with losses of 26-13 to Texas-San Antonio, 21-18 to Alcorn State, 64-6 to Southern University and 31-27 to Texas Southern. UAPB fell to 1-3 when the Golden Lions lost 32-28 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock last Saturday afternoon to a Jackson State team that came in with an 0-3 record. Jackson State jumped out to a 15-0 lead and never trailed. So we have a Golden Lion team that upset the defending SWAC champions from Alcorn State on ESPNU but has also lost at home to an NCAA Division II squad. As usual, the Golden Lions are impossible to figure out. When in doubt, give a slight edge to the home team. This game is in Montgomery.

Harding 39, Ouachita 28 — Few series in college football have had games decided in the final minute for three consecutive seasons. That has been the case in this series with Harding winning at the end of the game in Arkadelphia three years ago and Ouachita winning with late scores in each of the past two seasons. Harding and Ouachita have been two of the Big Three in the Great American Conference since the GAC was formed in 2011. The difference is that Ouachita won conference titles in 2011 and 2014, and Harding has yet to win a conference championship (Henderson won league titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015). The Bison faithful think this is their year to bring the trophy to Searcy. They have Ouachita at home this week and Henderson in Arkadelphia next week. Harding is strong on both offense and defense. Ouachita has a stellar offense, but its defense struggles. Harding went to 4-0 on Saturday with a 57-7 victory over UAM. Ouachita is 3-1, having defeated Northwestern Oklahoma by a final score of 42-34 as sophomore Kris Oliver from Arkadelphia rushed for 237 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.

Henderson 40, Arkansas Tech 27 — The 4-0 Reddies remain in the Top 10 of NCAA Division II. Following a lightning delay of more than two hours on the road last week, Henderson took care of business against 0-4 Southwestern Oklahoma by a final score of 45-17. The Reddies are on the road again this week in Russellville. They have a 23-game road winning streak and a 24-0 road record against GAC teams since the conference was formed. That’s nothing short of amazing. Tech fell to 2-2 Saturday with a 28-21 loss at Southern Arkansas. The only hope for the Wonder Boys is that the Reddies already are looking ahead to Harding.

Oklahoma Baptist 37, UAM 33 — UAM dropped to 1-3 with its loss to Harding. The Bisons rolled to a 36-0 halftime lead and finished the game with 435 yards of offense, compared with just 131 yards for the Weevils. UAM had a negative 25 rushing yards, while the Bisons rolled up 378 yards on the ground. Oklahoma Baptist comes into Monticello with a 2-2 record. The wins have been by scores of 19-15 over Arkansas Tech and 36-34 (in three overtimes) over East Central Oklahoma. The losses have come by scores of 38-7 to Harding and 42-22 to Southeastern Oklahoma.

Southern Arkansas 41, Southern Nazarene 18 — The Muleriders improved to 3-1 with the win over Arkansas Tech. Southern Arkansas scored a touchdown with 7:24 left in the game to break a 21-21 tie. Southern Nazarene is 0-4 and is again the conference whipping boy. The losses have been by scores of 46-0 to Arkansas Tech, 63-7 to Harding, 23-6 to East Central Oklahoma and 45-14 to Southeastern Oklahoma.

 

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