College football fans in Arkansas have plenty of choices this Saturday. And the weather promises to be perfect.
There are college games in 10 Arkansas cities — Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Conway, Pine Bluff, Arkadelphia, Searcy, Russellville, Monticello, Little Rock and Batesville.
Never can I remember that many college games in the state on the same day.
Both FBS teams from the state play at home.
Both FCS teams from Arkansas are home.
Four of the six NCAA Division II programs have home games.
Hendrix, which competes in NCAA Division III, plays at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.
And Lyon, which plays in the NAIA, is home in Batesville.
I went 8-1 on the picks last week, am 14-1 during the past two weeks and now have a season record of 57-14.
Let’s get to the predictions for this week’s games:
Arkansas 30, Mississippi State 29 — The Hogs got a needed break. They had an easy nonconference game at War Memorial Stadium against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and that was followed by an open date. So it will have been three weeks since the previous Southeastern Conference contest when the ball is kicked off in Fayetteville this Saturday afternoon. Given that time for injuries to heal, along with the fact that the Razorbacks play at home, don’t be surprised if they manage to beat Mississippi State. This is a Mississippi State team that’s getting better. In Starkville on Saturday, the Bulldogs shocked Kentucky by a final score of 31-17. The Wildcats fell to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the SEC while Mississippi State improved to 5-3 and 3-2. Will Rogers was 36 of 39 passing for 344 yards for the Bulldogs.
Appalachian State 40, Arkansas State 28 — The misery continued for Arkansas State last Saturday with a 31-13 loss at South Alabama. The Jaguars ran off 28 consecutive points to start the game, scoring touchdowns on each of their first four possessions. South Alabama outgained ASU 352-70 in the first half. The Red Wolves fell to 1-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play. South Alabama improved to 5-3 and 2-3. Appalachian State brings a 6-2 record to Jonesboro this week. The victories have come by scores of 33-19 over East Carolina, 44-10 over Elon, 31-30 over Marshall, 45-16 over Georgia State, 30-27 over Coastal Carolina and 59-28 over Louisiana-Monroe. The losses have been by scores of 25-23 to Miami and 41-13 to Louisiana-Lafayette.
Grambling 33, UAPB 18 — The Golden Lions are 1-7 after losing 59-17 to Texas Southern on Saturday. UAPB led 3-0 early. Skyler Perry was one of the few bright spots for the Golden Lions as he was 25 of 37 passing for 311 yards. Grambling brings a 3-5 record to Pine Bluff on Saturday. The three victories were by scores of 16-10 over Tennessee State, 37-28 over Alabama A&M and 34-20 over Texas Southern. The losses have come by scores of 37-0 to Southern Mississippi, 45-0 to Houston, 24-10 to Prairie View A&M, 24-20 to Alcorn State and 26-3 to Florida A&M.
UCA 64, Texas Wesleyan 10 — Conference realignment created scheduling scrambles, which means the FCS Bears play an NAIA team in Conway (a team that will later play Lyon if that gives you any idea). UCA will be able to name the score Saturday. The Bears evened their record at 4-4 last Saturday with a 38-14 win over Jacksonville State in Alabama. UCA intercepted three passes and returned two of them for touchdowns. On offense, Darius Hale rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Breylin Smith was 22 of 35 passing for 229 yards and one touchdown. Texas Wesleyan is 6-2, but the wins have come against the likes of Arizona Christian, Oklahoma Panhandle, Wayland Baptist, Southwestern Assemblies of God, Louisiana College and Texas College. The losses were to Ottawa University out of Arizona and Langston.
Ouachita 27, Southeastern Oklahoma 24 — Ouachita, Harding and Henderson remain tied for the Great American Conference lead with just two weeks to go. All three teams are 8-1. Ouachita has the stiffest test of the bunch this week as the Tigers host 7-2 Southeastern Oklahoma (the only team to beat Harding so far this season) at Cliff Harris Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Ouachita, which has won 35 of its past 36 GAC games, trailed by 11 points near the end of the third quarter Saturday at East Central Oklahoma. Senior Hayden Lassiter from Warren returned an interception for a touchdown on the final play of the quarter. That began a run of 26 consecutive points by the Tigers and resulted in a 43-28 victory over 5-3 East Central. T.J. Cole had 226 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 32 carries for Ouachita. Freshman Kendel Givens out of Little Rock Christian had his 20th rushing touchdown of the season.
Henderson 39, Oklahoma Baptist 36 — Oklahoma Baptist, which is 6-3, has the talent to give the Reddies all they can handle in Shawnee on Saturday. The Reddies defeated 1-8 Southern Nazarene by a final score of 34-3 in Arkadelphia last Saturday. Senior quarterback Adam Morse passed for 237 yards and rushed for another 66. The Reddie defense added a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown. Neither Ouachita nor Henderson can afford to look ahead just yet to the Nov. 13 Battle of the Ravine.
Harding 57, Southwestern Oklahoma 19 — The Bisons are on cruise control. They get 0-9 Southwestern Oklahoma in Searcy this Saturday. Harding defeated 1-8 Northwestern Oklahoma 73-14 last Saturday. The Bisons rushed for a school record 674 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns. Harding scored touchdowns on six of its seven first-half possessions, added a 54-yard field goal and led 45-0 at the half. The Bisons had three freshmen rush for more than 100 yards each. This week’s game should play out pretty much the same way.
Arkansas Tech 17, Northwestern Oklahoma 16 — The Wonder Boys kept Southwestern Oklahoma winless as Jesus Zizumbo kicked a 36-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining for a 15-14 road win last Saturday. Tech scored nine points in the final five minutes of that game. There’s another winnable game this week for the Wonder Boys, who improved to 3-6.
Southern Arkansas 37, Southern Nazarene 25 — The Muleriders fell to 3-6 with a 44-40 loss in Magnolia last Saturday to Oklahoma Baptist. The visitors scored two touchdowns in the final 7:32 after Southern Arkansas had gone up by 10 points at 40-30 with 10:49 left in the game.
East Central Oklahoma 23, UAM 15 — The Boll Weevils have lost three consecutive games and are now 4-5. Southeastern Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-0 lead against UAM last week and never looked back, cruising to a 34-14 victory.