It’s Texas week.
For folks my age and older, that still means something. We grew up in Arkansas in an era when beating Texas in football was everything. We still have the emotional scars from the 1969 Big Shootout.
For younger folks, it doesn’t mean nearly as much, though it might again when Texas joins the Southeastern Conference.
Bret Bielema didn’t always understand this state and its people, but he hit the nail on the head when he described the 31-7 Razorback victory over Texas in the 2014 Texas Bowl as “borderline erotic.”
The series isn’t close. Texas leads 56-22.
But consider the fact that Arkansas has won four of the past six games between these two schools. It just means more here.
Texas cares more about beating Oklahoma at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. And it will care more about beating Texas A&M once those schools are reunited in the SEC.
Still, playing Texas brings back memories from my youth of the excitement that game created. Broyles vs. Royal. Good vs. evil in the minds of young Arkansans.
I was 8-1 on the picks last week, missing only on Arkansas Tech’s loss in Russellville to Southeastern Oklahoma.
Let’s see if we can run the table this week (something I seriously doubt will happen, by the way).
Texas 35, Arkansas 31 — These two programs aren’t to be confused with the Royal and Broyles programs. Both have struggled in recent years (though Arkansas has struggled far more) and have relatively new coaches. Arkansas found itself down by 10 points to Rice in the opener before righting the ship for a 38-17 victory. KJ Jefferson was 12 of 21 passing for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 89 rushing yards. The Razorback defense allowed Rice just 81 rushing yards, but the Owls had success through the air. Rice has now lost 12 consecutive games against SEC teams. Texas, meanwhile, posted a 38-18 victory in Austin over Louisiana-Lafayette, which came in ranked No. 23. Hudson Card threw two touchdown passes in his first career start. Card is a second-year freshman who won the starting job over fourth-year player Casey Thompson. Card was 14 of 21 passing for 224 yards and no interceptions. Arkansas will be helped by a loud home crowd Saturday, but Texas has more talent.
Memphis 28, Arkansas State 25 — ASU trailed UCA 7-6 at the half in Jonesboro on Saturday night, and the home crowd was restless. James Blackman had started the game at quarterback for the Red Wolves and struggled. Lane Hatcher from Little Rock came to the rescue. Hatcher completed all 12 of his pass attempts and threw four touchdown passes as ASU won by a final score of 40-21. This week’s ASU opponent, Memphis, posted a 42-17 victory over Nicholls State. This is a Memphis program that has won at least eight games in each of the past seven seasons. This will be the Tigers’ first trip to Jonesboro since 2012. Memphis should win, but it won’t be easy.
Missouri State 24, UCA 22 — The Bears from UCA must go on the road for a second consecutive week. The opponent this time is Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State squad, which was 5-4 in Petrino’s first season at Springfield. Missouri State gave Oklahoma State all it wanted Saturday before falling 23-16 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. The Cowboys had to defend plays in their end zone twice in the final three minutes before securing the win. The Missouri State defense held OSU to just three points in the second half. UCA and Missouri State are two quality FCS squads. It should be a highly entertaining game.
Henderson 37, Northwestern Oklahoma 21 — The Reddies went on the road last Thursday night and defeated Southwestern Oklahoma by 18 points, 31-13, as quarterback Adam Morse was 17 of 26 passing for 183 yards. The coaches’ preseason poll had Henderson picked third in the Great American Conference, and the Reddies certainly will contend for a title again. Northwestern fell 32-13 to Southern Arkansas in the opener. Northwestern was picked ninth out of 12 teams in the preseason poll.
Ouachita 40, Southern Nazarene 26 — The Tigers, winners of the past three GAC championships, extended their conference winning streak to 28 games, but they had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to do it. Ouachita scored the final 14 points in a 38-31 victory over a talented Oklahoma Baptist team that was 7-4 in 2019 (no GAC games were played in 2020). The Bison could win even more games this year. They appear to be the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the conference. Ouachita’s new quarterback, Grant Allen of Springdale, struggled at times, but T.J. Cole took over on the ground with 151 yards rushing. Nazarene, picked 12th in the preseason poll, is 0-1 following a 30-23 loss to UAM.
Oklahoma Baptist 38, UAM 20 — Demilon Brown completed 19 of 32 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns for the Boll Weevils in their victory at Monticello over Southern Nazarene. The task will be much more difficult Saturday night as the Boll Weevils travel to Oklahoma to take on the aforementioned Bison of Oklahoma Baptist.
East Central Oklahoma 23, Arkansas Tech 19 — The Wonder Boys were the only one of the six Arkansas schools in the GAC to lose to an Oklahoma school last week. Tech fell 43-20 last Thursday night to Southeastern Oklahoma. East Central lost to Harding in Searcy on Saturday. Senior Jack Lindsey, the transfer from Arkansas, completed 15 of 34 passes for 137 yards for Tech in the opener. This should be a close game between two teams attempting to find their way.
Harding 30, Southeastern Oklahoma 11 — Harding shut out East Central 28-0 as Cole Chancey rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns. Chancey became the GAC’s leading rusher. His 3,775 yards surpassed Ouachita’s Kris Oliver, who ran for 3,763 yards from 2015-18. Harding was picked second in the preseason poll and will yet again contend for a conference crown. In the 2019 regular season, Ouachita was 11-0, Harding was 10-1 and Henderson was 9-2.
Southern Arkansas 33, Southwestern Oklahoma 18 — The Muleriders opened the season on the road with that 32-13 win over Northwestern Oklahoma as Hayden Mallory threw three touchdown passes. Look for the Muleriders to roll in Magnolia as Mallory continues to gain confidence.