College football: Week 9

It was the Saturday that Arkansas, UCA and UAPB all had open dates.

Arkansas State did play last weekend, but it was simply the continuation of a frustrating season for the Red Wolves. ASU fell to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in conference play with a 38-18 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette. ASU punted on its first five possessions and trailed 24-9 at the half. The Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 4-3 as quarterback Ben Woolridge threw five touchdown passes.

We went 4-0 on the picks last week to improve to 50-15 on the season.

Here are the picks for this week’s games:

Arkansas 38, Auburn 30 — The Razorbacks travel to the Plains in an attempt to make Bryan Harsin’s hot seat even hotter. The victory over BYU, followed by a restful week, should have the Hogs ready to play well. Auburn is 3-4 overall and 1-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The wins have come by scores of 42-16 over Mercer, 24-16 over San Jose State and 17-14 over Missouri. The losses have been by scores of 41-12 to Penn State, 21-17 to LSU, 42-10 to Georgia and 48-34 to Ole Miss. The Tigers have lost three consecutive games.

South Alabama 35, Arkansas State 25 — The pain likely will continue Saturday for ASU even though the game is in Jonesboro. USA is 5-2 with wins of 48-7 over Nicholls, 38-24 over Central Michigan, 38-14 over Louisiana Tech, 20-17 over Louisiana-Lafayette and 41-34 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been close ones, just 32-31 to UCLA and 10-6 to Troy.

UCA 31, North Alabama 17 — With two weeks to prepare, the Bears should be able to handle North Alabama in Conway on Saturday afternoon. UNA has struggled to make the transition from NCAA Division II to the FCS. North Alabama is 1-6 with losses of 17-14 to Indiana State, 41-14 to Chattanooga, 43-28 to Tarleton State, 40-34 to Kennesaw State, 47-31 to Jacksonville State and 56-53 to Eastern Kentucky. The only win came by a score of 49-17 over UVA-Wise, a school that frankly I’ve never heard of.

Florida A&M 49, UAPB 29 — The Golden Lions won their first two games and have since lost five consecutive contests. Last week, UAPB fired its head coach. Don’t look for the Golden Lions to win another game this season. Florida A&M is 5-2 with wins of 23-13 over Albany State, 38-25 over Alabama A&M, 34-7 over Mississippi Valley State, 20-14 over South Carolina State and 20-16 over Grambling State. The losses came in the first two games of the season — 56-24 to North Carolina and 59-3 to Coach Prime’s Jackson State squad.

Ouachita 32, East Central Oklahoma 21 — The Tigers moved to 8-0 with a 63-31 victory over Southern Arkansas in the Murphy USA Classic at El Dorado. Senior All-American T.J. Cole rushed 25 times for 230 yards and scored six touchdowns on the ground. Cole has now gained 230 or more yards rushing in two consecutive games. Ouachita outscored the Muleriders 21-0 in the fourth quarter of a contest in which the two teams combined for 1,001 yards of offense. Ouachita is still No. 4 nationally in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll. Ouachita can gain at least a share of its sixth Great American Conference championship with a win at Cliff Harris Stadium on Thursday night. But this one won’t come easily. East Central enters with a 6-2 record and is the best of the six Oklahoma schools in the GAC.

Southeastern Oklahoma 40, UAM 33 — UAM fell to 3-5 with a 56-43 loss to Harding at Monticello on Saturday. The 3-5 Boll Weevils have now lost four consecutive games. Southeastern Oklahoma is 5-3 following an impressive 62-14 victory over Oklahoma Baptist.

Southwestern Oklahoma 27, Arkansas Tech 26 — Tech and Southwestern are both 3-5. The Wonder Boys lost 35-19 at Henderson on Saturday. Southwestern, meanwhile, fell 42-28 to East Central. In a game between teams that seem evenly matched, we’ll give a slight edge to the home squad.

Harding 41, Northwestern Oklahoma 24 — Harding is No. 21 in the AFCA’s Division II poll with a 6-2 record. Northwestern is 1-7 following a 27-21 loss to Southern Nazarene on Saturday. The game is in Searcy, and the Bisons will roll.

Henderson 28, Southern Nazarene 10 — The Reddies are 6-2 following that win over Arkansas Tech. Quarterback Andrew Edwards was 19 of 28 passing for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Xavier Malone had 10 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns. Henderson visits 3-5 Southern Nazarene on Saturday. The Reddies shouldn’t have much problem in Oklahoma.

Southern Arkansas 36, Oklahoma Baptist 20 — The Muleriders had their problems on defense, but their offense scored more points on undefeated Ouachita than all but one team this year. Quarterback O.B. Jones is a talented athlete. Oklahoma Baptist, the host team this Saturday, is 1-7.

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