College football: Week 11

These Hogs are hard to figure out, aren’t they?

I picked them to beat Auburn, and they were blown out.

So I picked them to lose to Florida, and they blew out the Gators.

LSU?

Who knows.

Finally, though, a Razorback team defeated a Gator team in a Southeastern Conference game.

Arkansas’ 31-10 victory in Fayetteville last Saturday afternoon made the Hogs bowl eligible at 6-3, though they still have a losing record (2-3) in conference play.

It was a good day for Rawleigh Williams, who gained 148 yards on 26 carries. Williams now has 955 yards rushing on the season.

It also was a good day for Drew Morgan, who had seven receptions for 95 yards. Morgan has now caught passes in 23 consecutive games.

Williams and Morgan will need to have good games again in order for the Hogs to make it two consecutive SEC victories this Saturday.

Arkansas outgained the Gators 466-241 and led 39:21 to 20:39 in time of possession.

Two weeks after giving up 543 rushing yards to Auburn, the Hogs held Florida to just 12 rushing yards. I don’t think I ever remember that kind of turnaround.

Florida took just one snap in Arkansas territory in the first half. The Gators converted only one of 11 third-down plays.

Arkansas finished with 223 yards on the ground.

So the Hogs are now 2-9 against Florida, the previous victory having come by a score of 28-24 in the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl at Houston.

Other than picking the Razorback game incorrectly, we had a fine week. We were 8-2 on the picks, making the record 60-22 for the season.

Here are the predictions for Week 11:

LSU 24, Arkansas 22 — The LSU defense played well in a 10-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama last Saturday night at Baton Rouge. But the Tiger offense wouldn’t have scored against the Tide in 12 quarters of play. Alabama outgained LSU 323-125 as Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts had 114 yards rushing on 20 carries and the game’s only touchdown. LSU’s Leonard Fournette was shut down by the Alabama defense for a second consecutive year. Last year, he had 31 yards on 19 carries. This year, Fournette had 35 yards on 17 carries. It’s likely he will do much better against Arkansas. Les Miles was fired as the LSU head coach after four games. In those first four contests, the Tigers beat Jacksonville State, 34-13, and Mississippi State, 23-20. They lost 16-14 to Wisconsin and 18-13 to Auburn. Interim coach Ed Orgeron saw his team run off three consecutive victories — 42-7 over Missouri, 45-10 over Southern Mississippi and 38-21 over Ole Miss — before the loss to Alabama. The Tigers appear to be playing much harder for Orgeron than they were playing for Miles. This has the makings of a fun game in Fayetteville on Saturday night.

Arkansas State 31, New Mexico State 21 — The Red Wolves posted a 31-16 victory over Georgia State on Thursday night of last week in an empty Georgia Dome at Atlanta. Based on how it looked on television, there couldn’t have been 1,000 people there. It was the fourth consecutive Sun Belt Conference win for a team that went 0-4 in its nonconference games. ASU has now won 13 consecutive conference games, and that streak should continue this Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro against New Mexico State. The Red Wolves had two special team scores in last week’s victory. Blaise Taylor returned a punt 68 yards, and Chris Humes returned a blocked field goal 57 yards. New Mexico State is 2-6 overall and 1-3 in conference play. The wins have been by scores of 32-31 over New Mexico and 37-31 over Louisiana-Lafayette. The losses have come by scores of 38-22 to UTEP, 62-42 to Kentucky, 52-6 to Troy, 55-23 to Idaho, 22-19 to Georgia Southern and 52-10 to Texas A&M.

UCA 29, Nicholls State 20 — The Bears improved to 8-1 overall and 7-0 in Southland Conference play with a convincing 34-14 win at Stephen F. Austin, a team coach by former UCA head man Clint Conque. The Lumberjacks fell to 4-5 overall and 3-4 in the conference. Stephen F. Austin’s final score of the game came with 14:56 remaining in the first half. The Bears, who get better each week, outgained the Lumberjacks 502-321. If the Bears can avoid an upset loss to Nicholls State on Saturday afternoon in Conway, the stage will be set for the game of the year in the FCS when UCA visits No. 1 Sam Houston State on Nov. 19 with the Southland Conference championship on the line. The Bears must not get caught looking ahead. Nicholls rolls in with records of 5-4 overall and 5-2 in conference play. The wins were by scores of 35-28 over Incarnate Word, 35-28 over Stephen F. Austin, 33-20 over Houston Baptist, 31-14 over Northwestern State and 35-10 over Lamar. The losses were by scores of 26-24 to Georgia (a game Nicholls State had an excellent chance to win in Athens), 41-40 to South Alabama, 38-13 to McNeese State and 38-21 to Sam Houston State.

Texas Southern 40, UAPB 19 — Things continue to go south for the Golden Lions, who are now 1-8 overall and 1-6 in the SWAC. An 0-8 Mississippi Valley State team came to Pine Bluff last Saturday and went back across the big river with a 41-7 victory. The announced attendance was only 1,347. It was the first time for a Monte Coleman-coached team to lose to a Mississippi Valley State squad. The Delta Devils came into the game with 85 yards rushing for the season (that’s right, for the season) and gained 161 yards against UAPB. There’s no reason at this point to believe that the Golden Lions can be competitive at Texas Southern on Saturday despite the fact that the host team is just 3-6 overall and 3-4 in SWAC play. The Texas Southern victories came by scores of 31-0 over Mississippi Valley State, 31-27 over Alabama State and 34-31 over Alabama A&M. The losses were by scores of 29-25 to Prairie View A&M, 24-20 top Houston Baptist, 23-20 to Alcorn State, 21-13 to Jackson State, 66-17 to Sam Houston State and 26-10 to Southern University.

Henderson 37, Ouachita 34 — It’s the Battle of the Ravine, my favorite game of the year. If you’ve never experienced this unique rivalry, you should make the trip to Arkadelphia for Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff (see my earlier essay on this blog about the Battle of the Ravine). The Reddies didn’t repeat as Great American Conference champions due to losses to Harding and Southern Arkansas. Yet with a win Saturday, they would be 9-2 and possibly qualify for postseason play. Henderson has the best record of any college program in the state since 2010. Ouachita, meanwhile, has put together a string of nine consecutive winning seasons. That’s the longest stretch for any college program in Arkansas. Ouachita is 6-4 and has been beset by injuries, losing its quarterback, its best running back (Kris Oliver, the NCAA Division II freshman of the year in 2015 according to at least one service), its best receiver, its best kick returner and two starters in the secondary. Considering the injuries, the six victories are quite an accomplishment. Both teams warmed up for this one with easy road wins in Oklahoma last Saturday. Henderson beat 1-9 Southern Nazarene by a final score of 40-7. The Reddies scored on three of their first four possessions and outgained the home team 543-157. Ouachita defeated 2-8 Oklahoma Baptist by a final score of 51-28. The Tigers trailed 7-0 after an early pick six but then scored 24 unanswered points. Henderson is playing at home, is far healthier than Ouachita and has more seniors. Thus the Reddies are a heavy favorite. But these games are usually close.

Harding 41, Arkansas Tech 32 — Harding attempts to complete an undefeated regular season in Searcy on Saturday afternoon. The Bisons improved to 10-0 and secured an outright conference title with a 24-7 win at Northwestern Oklahoma last Saturday. It’s the first conference title in football for Harding since 1989 and the first 10-win season since 1972. The Bisons rushed for 392 yards in that game. A decent Tech team should be able to hang around for at least three quarters. The Wonder Boys are 6-4 following last week’s 24-20 win at 4-6 Southwestern Oklahoma. Tech has won four of its past five games.

Southern Arkansas 42, UAM 30 — The Muleriders are 8-2 following a 37-24 win at 1-9 East Central Oklahoma. They maintain an outside shot at a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs, but the host role in the Live United Bowl at Texarkana seems more likely. Michael Nunnery rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns for the Muleriders last Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Barrett Renner was 23 of 30 passing for 194 yards. UAM fell to 4-6 with a 44-26 loss at 6-4 Southeastern Oklahoma. The Boll Weevils also have an excellent sophomore quarterback in Cole Sears. He was 20 of 42 passing for 355 yards. UAM already has surpassed its victory total for the previous two seasons combined and has the talent to give Southern Arkansas some problems, at least for a half.

 

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