Isn’t it nice to be competitive again in the really big games?
Alabama’s 42-35 victory over Arkansas on Saturday had everything you could ask for in a college football game. The CBS crew seemed thrilled to finally be calling a game in Tuscaloosa that wasn’t a blowout.
How far has this Arkansas program come in a short time?
Consider this: In the previous four games between these two schools, Alabama won by a total of 156 points. It was 52-3 last year.
KJ Jefferson threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns.
Treylon Burks had 179 receiving yards and two scores. That puts Burks at No. 9 on the Arkansas single-game list.
Unfortunately for Arkansas, Alabama’s Bryce Young passed for a school record 559 yards and five touchdowns. The previous best by an Alabama quarterback had been Scott Hunter’s 484 yards against Auburn in 1969.
The most yards allowed by an Arkansas defense were 508 by Dak Prescott for Mississippi State in 2015.
Alabama has now won 15 consecutive games against Arkansas. The Tide reached 10 victories in a season for a 14th consecutive year.
Nick Saban is 18-2 against Arkansas. His last loss to a Razorback team was the 2002 Miracle on Markham when Saban was head coach at LSU.
How impressive was the fact that Arkansas stayed in this game until the very end?
Consider these facts:
— Alabama has a 70-17 record against nationally ranked teams since 2008.
— Saban is 266-66-1 in 26 seasons as a head coach. He’s 96-8 in home games at Alabama. Alabama is 61-2 in its past 63 games in Tuscaloosa.
Truly, it’s a new day in Fayetteville.
I was 4-1 on the picks last week to make the record 73-20 for the 2021 season.
Here are this week’s games:
Arkansas 31, Missouri 23 — Missouri beat Florida in overtime last Saturday, and just like that, Dan Mullen is gone. The Tigers elected to go for two after scoring in overtime and converted for the win, 24-23. Missouri comes into Friday’s game at Fayetteville 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference. This is a game the Razorbacks should win. Any realistic Arkansas fan would have taken an 8-4 record in a heartbeat coming into this 2021 season.
Arkansas State 22, Texas State 20 — A long season will come to an end in Jonesboro on Saturday afternoon. The Red Wolves fell to 2-9 overall and 1-6 in Sun Belt Conference play with a 28-20 loss in Atlanta last Saturday to Georgia State. ASU finished with 270 yards of total offense but had a negative three rushing yards. Georgia State rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns. This is a winnable game for the Red Wolves as Texas State limps in with a 3-8 record. The wins were by scores of 23-17 over Florida International, 33-31 over South Alabama and 27-19 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 29-20 to Baylor, 42-24 to Incarnate Word, 59-21 to Eastern Michigan, 31-28 to Troy, 28-16 to Georgia State, 45-0 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 38-30 to Georgia Southern and 35-21 to Coastal Carolina. In a battle of two struggling teams, let’s give a slight advantage to the home team.
Harding 24, Northwest Missouri 19 — It seems as if Northwest Missouri is the team that always knocks Harding out of the NCAA Division II playoffs. This might be the year that changes. Harding improved to 11-1 Saturday in Searcy with a first-round playoff victory over Washburn. It wasn’t as close as the 30-14 final score indicated. Harding dominated. The Bisons outgained Washburn 409-38 over the first three quarters. Harding kept the ball for 47:24 of the 60 minutes and had 29 first downs to just seven for Washburn. The Bisons had 419 rushing yards; Washburn had minus two. The Bisons led 20-7 at the half and 27-7 after three quarters. Cole Chancey carried the ball 41 times on the beautiful November afternoon for 176 yards. Northwest Missouri is 10-1 with its one loss coming to none other than Washburn, 17-16. Since then, the Bearcats haven’t had a close game. They’ve defeated Northeastern Oklahoma 59-7, Nebraska-Kearney 66-13, Missouri Southern 49-7, Emporia State 35-7 and Central Washington 50-21.