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College football: Week 10

The record was 8-0 last week.


That makes us 59-16 on the season.

Not that there weren’t some scares along the way.

Once again, the Razorbacks tried their best to lose a Southeastern Conference road game, but the opponent refused to cooperate for a second consecutive week.

My Ouachita team, which plays them all close even though the Tigers are now 5-0 in the Great American Conference, allowed Harding to drive inside the Tiger 20 in the final minute before hanging on for a four-point victory before a large homecoming crowd in Searcy.

UAM scored with 1:36 left in the game to defeat Southeastern Oklahoma, 24-20.

You can see how easy it would have been to be 5-3 rather than 8-0.

So no gloating.

Meanwhile, how about those Arkansas State Red Wolves?

They’re off to the school’s best start in a quarter of a century after a 37-14 win over North Texas in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves are still alone atop the Sun Belt Conference with records of 6-2 overall and 4-0 in league play. Arkansas State led 31-0 at the half, outgaining North Texas 365-82 in the first half. The Red Wolves finished with a lead of 540-283 in total yardage. Ryan Aplin was 28 of 42 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Hugh Freeze just might have a bowl team in his first year as head coach.

And how about those UCA Bears?

The Bears won their fifth consecutive game with a 55-29 romp over Southeastern Louisiana in Conway last Saturday night. UCA is now 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the Southland Conference with a huge game coming up this week against Northwestern State. The UCA defense forced nine turnovers last Saturday — four interceptions and five fumbles. On offense, the Bears had a season-high 586 yards. Nathan Dick completed 20 of 28 passes for 299 yards and five touchdowns. It was the first five-touchdown game for a UCA quarterback since Nathan Brown did it in 2007.

An afternoon radio broadcast in Searcy (followed by dinner at Who Dat’s in Bald Knob) allowed me to be home in time to watch the three 10 p.m. newscasts on the Little Rock television stations.

The verdict?

KTHV-TV, Channel 11, smoked everyone. Channel 11 had video from the Razorback game, the Red Wolf game, the UAPB game and the Ouachita-Harding game.

You might remember that we called for a boycott of Channel 11 two years ago because the station refused to give scores for all of the college teams in Arkansas.

They’ve come a long way.

At least KATV-TV, Channel 7, gave all the state scores. But you guys might try having highlights from someone other than the Razorbacks. There are, after all, 10 college football programs at four-year schools in this state.

Poor KARK-TV, Channel 4.

We’ll give them credit for trying to give all the in-state scores. But they had Southern Arkansas beating Harding. I hate to tell you, but the Muleriders had an open date Saturday.

The blue ribbon goes to Channel 11. One suggestion: Get someone who can spell to type in those statistics. The abbreviations didn’t even match from one slide at the bottom of the screen to the next. And the Arkansas offensive coordinator was listed as the defensive coordinator.

For Razorback fans, I passed out a few “thank yous” on your behalf during Monday’s meeting of the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

Thank you Carey Spear for not being able to kick a 27-yard field goal.

Thank you Zach Hocker for being able to kick field goals of 36, 50 and 42 yards.

Thank you Jerry Franklin for being able to run 94 yards without giving out.

Thank you Vanderbilt secondary for dropping what should have been several interceptions.

Vanderbilt outgained Arkansas 222-72 on the ground. It was a 462-388 Vanderbilt advantage in total yardage, the most yards for Vanderbilt in a conference game since a 2006 win over Kentucky. Arkansas has allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of the past five games.

Hats off to Vanderbilt’s James Franklin for his bold approach — going for it on fourth-and-one from his 28 and calling a fake punt. Both gambles paid off.

Let’s move to the picks for Week 10:

Arkansas 34, South Carolina 27 — So what’s up with these 7-1 Hogs? Are we simply expecting too much and not being as grateful as we should be for where they stand? Thankfully, the game starts at 6:15 p.m. this Saturday, though I doubt anyone outside Arkansas and South Carolina will be watching ESPN despite the fact this is a Top 10 matchup. In the three Hog games that kicked off before noon, the Razorbacks were outscored 73-38 in the first half. South Carolina is 7-1 and also won ugly last Saturday with a 14-3 victory against a Tennessee team that’s 3-5 overall and 0-5 in the SEC. Brandon Wilds, the freshman who replaced Marcus Lattimore after Lattimore was injured back on Oct. 15, had 137 yards rushing against Tennessee. But let’s face it: This isn’t a very good Gamecock offense. We’ll go with the Hogs at home, though nothing seems to come easy these days.

Arkansas State 41, Florida Atlantic 29 — Florida Atlantic is 0-7 with losses of 41-3 to Florida, 44-0 to Michigan State, 30-14 to Auburn, 37-34 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 31-17 to North Texas, 20-0 to Western Kentucky and 38-14 to Middle Tennessee. Howard Schnellenberger’s long final season gets a little longer Saturday as the Red Wolves make it three consecutive road wins in the Sun Belt.

Northwestern State 24, UCA 22 — This should be an exciting football game down in Natchitoches, La., on Saturday afternoon. The Demons are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Southland Conference. The wins have come by scores of 24-23 over Delta State (No. 1 nationally in Division II), 34-0 over Nicholls State, 37-17 over Lamar, 51-17 over Southeastern Louisiana and 23-10 over Texas State. The losses were to LSU, SMU and McNeese State. UCA has won five consecutive games. Northwestern has won three consecutive games. Something has to give.

Alabama State 28, UAPB 23 — It’s homecoming in Pine Bluff, which means there will be a big crowd on hand. The Golden Lions fell to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the SWAC with a 27-20 loss in Pine Bluff last Saturday to Grambling. UAPB was missing 12 players who were serving suspensions for their role in the Oct. 15 brawl following the win over Southern University. The Golden Lions were held to just 100 rushing yards, their lowest total since the season-opening loss to Langston. More players will be serving suspensions this Saturday. That will prove the difference against an Alabama State team that is 6-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play. Alabama State lost a 20-19 heartbreaker last Saturday to Alabama A&M at Legion Field in Birmingham. The only other loss was to Eastern Michigan. The wins have come against Mississippi Valley State, Grambling, Jackson State, Alcorn State, Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M.

Ouachita 35, Southeastern Oklahoma 30 — Ouachita can wrap up the first Great American Conference championship with a win Saturday afternoon in Durant, Okla., against a Southeastern Oklahoma team that has lost six consecutive games. As stated, though, this is not a Ouachita team that blows anyone out. The Tigers score a lot of points, but they also give up quite a few points. In last Saturday’s 31-27 win against Harding in Searcy, the Tigers rushed for 356 yards. Harding, which came into the game as the leading rushing team in NCAA Division II, had 330 yards rushing. Ouachita quarterback Casey Cooper, a junior from Conway, rushed for 161 yards on 16 keepers. Chris Rycraw, a sophomore from Bryant, added 111 yards rushing on 17 carries. Southeastern Oklahoma started the season with two consecutive victories before going on its six-game slide.

Henderson 49, McKendree 20 — Who’s McKendree? It’s a Methodist school in Lebanon, Ill., not far from St. Louis. The football program is making the move from NAIA to NCAA Division II. The Bearcats lost their first six games before finally getting a win against Trinity International University. Henderson is 4-4 after going to Mobile, Ala., to collect a check against South Alabama. The Reddies fell 28-3 to a team that soon will be playing football in the Sun Belt Conference. This week’s game in Arkadelphia should provide the Reddies an easy warm-up for the Nov. 12 Battle of the Ravine against Ouachita.

Southern Arkansas 40, UAM 38 — Southern Arkansas is 2-6 overall and 2-3 in conference. UAM is 4-5 overall and 2-2 in conference. Don’t let the records fool you. This should be a fun, high-scoring game to watch. Southern Arkansas quarterback Tyler Sykora set a school record for passing yards two weeks ago in a 53-43 loss to Ouachita. The sophomore from Jessieville has been getting better with each passing week. In the Boll Weevils’ win against Southeastern Oklahoma, Nakita Myles had a career-high 191 yards on 19 carries for UAM.

Southwestern Oklahoma 33, Arkansas Tech 32 — A long season for the Wonder Boys ends with a long trip to Weatherford, Okla. Tech is 2-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play following a 31-16 loss in Russellville last Saturday to East Central Oklahoma. Tech did not have an offensive touchdown in that game. Southwestern Oklahoma is 4-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The Bulldogs lost a nonconference affair to Northeastern Oklahoma last weekend, 42-13.

Harding 29, East Central Oklahoma 25 — Don’t let the Bisons’ 3-6 record fool you, either. This is a team that easily could be 6-3 without a number of costly fumbles out of its option offense earlier in the season. Harding took league-leading Ouachita to the wire last Saturday. We think Harding will pull the upset on the road in Ada, Okla., this Saturday afternoon.

 Oh, that little game in Tuscaloosa?

This won’t count on our record since we only pick Arkansas schools. But since you asked: Alabama by four.

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