The big story was Storey.
Ty Storey came off the bench in Arkansas’ 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois to pass for 261 yards and three touchdowns. That probably set him up to be the Arkansas quarterback going forward in this first season of the Chad Morris era.
Other highlights on a warm afternoon in Fayetteville when fewer than 50,000 people showed up included:
— The Razorback defense recovering five fumbles, including four in the first half. Those turnovers were converted into 24 points. It was the most takeaways for a Razorback defense since a 2014 game against Ole Miss.
— Only four penalties for 40 yards on Arkansas.
The 55 points were the second most ever scored by an Arkansas team in its first game under a new coach. Arkansas squads are now 6-0 against schools from the Ohio Valley Conference. The last time Arkansas lost a home opener was against USC in 2006.
It’s strange for a Southeastern Conference team to travel to a place such as Colorado State, but that’s what’s on tap for Saturday. This is an Arkansas team that will struggle once SEC play begins, but expect the Hogs to come home from Colorado with a 2-0 record.
We were 6-2 on the picks for the first week of the season.
Even though UAPB is an FCS program, we should know better than to pick the Golden Lions even when they’re playing a Division II school. UAPB has let us down time after time in recent years, and last Saturday night in Pine Bluff was no different as the Golden Lions lost to Division II Morehouse, 34-30.
We also missed on one of the four Great American Conference games involving Arkansas teams when the University of Arkansas at Monticello came up short at Southwestern Oklahoma.
Here are the picks for Week 2:
Arkansas 48, Colorado State 21 — Let’s get right to the point: This isn’t a good Colorado State team. It lost 43-34 to Hawaii two weeks ago and then came back six days later with a 45-13 loss to Colorado. This will be the third consecutive week for Colorado State to play at home and the third consecutive week for the game to be on the CBS Sports Network. The CBS crew will no doubt be ready for a change of scenery after Saturday’s contest at Canvas Stadium. Colorado State has the nation’s 112th-ranked run defense. The Rams have allowed an average of 228.5 rushing yards per game in the losses to Hawaii and Colorado.
Alabama 57, Arkansas State 20 — The Red Wolves opened the season in Jonesboro with a 48-21 victory over Southeast Missouri State. ASU quarterback Justice Hansen threw a school-record six touchdown passes. That’s the most TD passes for a Sun Belt Conference player since 2011. Seven ASU receivers caught touchdown passes, the most in school history. The 685 yards of offense were the third most in school history. ASU will score some points Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The problem is that No. 1 Alabama will score a lot more. The Tide was impressive last Saturday night in a 51-14 win over Bobby Petrino’s Louisville team. The only real question this Saturday afternoon is whether Nick Saban will bite the heads off reporters after the game. The goals for Arkansas State: Don’t get anyone injured, pick up the check and have a safe trip home.
UCA 37, Murray State 22 — The FCS Bears had a chance last Saturday night to defeat an FBS opponent. UCA led 27-24 at Tulsa with 11 minutes left after scoring on a fumble recovery. Tulsa came back to win by 11 points, 38-27. The first victory of the Nathan Brown coaching era will come this Saturday night on the stripes in Conway against a Murray State team that dropped its opener to Southern Illinois by a final score of 49-10. There might be a new head coach, but there’s also enough returning talent for UCA to win a second consecutive Southland Conference championship.
UAPB 19, Cumberland 18 — You’re right. FCS schools have no business losing at home to Division II schools. But UAPB has made a habit of it in recent years, and last Saturday night was no different. Against our best instincts (since we were burned last week), we’re going to go with the Golden Lions against an NAIA team. Tiny Cumberland is 2-1 following a 24-14 loss to Bluefield College and a 32-28 victory over Union College. In his second game as the UAPB head coach, Cedric Thomas should be a bit more comfortable.
Harding 35, Southern Arkansas 33 — It’s only the second week of the season, but this game in Searcy on Saturday night could go a long way toward determining the GAC champion in 2018. Harding, which advanced to the Division II semifinals a year ago, was impressive in a 41-17 win over Henderson in Arkadelphia. That’s especially noteworthy since Henderson is a solid program that won three of the first five GAC titles. Southern Arkansas, meanwhile, has the best quarterback in the conference Barrett Renner, who was 25 of 36 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-0 victory over Arkansas Tech. It was 38-0 at halftime, in fact, before the Muleriders began putting in the substitutes. We’ll give a slight edge to the Bisons since they’re at home.
Henderson 29, Arkansas Tech 27 — Henderson fell to 6-5 a year ago, and it appears the Reddies might struggle again this fall. Arkansas Tech was 8-3 in the regular season last year, but the Wonder Boys have not been able to find a reliable quarterback for 2018. The Reddies also are in search of a tested quarterback. The loser of this one is in for a long season.
Ouachita 49, Southwestern Oklahoma 40 — The defending GAC champion made the long trip to Northwestern Oklahoma and came home with a 29-21 victory. It marked the 12th consecutive season-opening victory for a Ouachita program that has 10 consecutive winning seasons and three conference titles in the past seven years. The Tigers led 20-0 before letting off the gas a little too early. The defense will get quite a test on Saturday night at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia against a Southwestern Oklahoma squad that scored 49 points in a season-opening victory over UAM.
Northwestern Oklahoma 30, UAM 26 — This is a Northwestern Oklahoma program that gets better with each passing year. The Boll Weevil defense is going to have to play far better than it did a week ago to capture the home victory at Cotton Boll Stadium in Monticello on Saturday night.