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College football: Week 12

Another week, another Razorback loss in this lost season of 2018.

The Hogs made it interesting at the end in a 24-17 loss to LSU, but the offensive performance was beyond ugly in the first three quarters. Arkansas had just 91 yards of offense through three quarters and finished with 216 yards. The 16 yards rushing were the fewest for an Arkansas team since the Hogs gained only 11 yards in a 52-10 loss to Texas in 2008.

It marked the third consecutive win in the series for LSU (8-2, 5-2), which now leads the overall series 40-22-2. Arkansas (2-8, 0-6) is still the only Southeastern Conference team without a victory in SEC play and finishes the season 2-4 in games played at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas is on the road for its final two games.

On a brighter note for college football in the state, two Arkansas teams (Ouachita and Harding) made the NCAA Division II playoffs. Ouachita (11-0) earned a bye as the top seed in its region. The Tigers will play at 1 p.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia. Harding (9-2) makes the long trip to Big Rapids, Mich., for a second consecutive year to take on Ferris State this Saturday.

We were 6-1 on the picks last week, making the record 70-21 for the season.

Here are the picks for this Saturday’s games:

Mississippi State 27, Arkansas 20 — It’s yet another 11 a.m. kickoff for the Razorbacks. We expect them to hang around in this one with a chance to win at the end. Mississippi State comes into the contest with a 6-4 overall mark and a 2-4 conference record. The Bulldogs are 5-1 in games played at Starkville. The six victories have come by scores of 63-6 over Stephen F. Austin, 31-10 over Kansas State, 56-10 over Louisiana-Lafayette, 23-9 over Auburn, 28-13 over Texas A&M and 45-3 over Louisiana Tech. The losses have come by scores of 28-7 to Kentucky, 13-6 to Florida, 19-3 to LSU and 24-0 to Alabama. We’ll see if the Arkansas defense has an answer for Nick Fitzgerald, the 6-5, 230-pound Bulldog senior quarterback who owns 12 school records.

Ferris State 28, Harding 26 — Harding went to Ferris last year in the playoffs and upset the Bulldogs 16-14 when Tristan Parsley hit a field goal as time expired. That Harding team finished the regular season 8-3 and then got hot in the playoffs, winning three games before falling in the semifinals. Ferris is 11-0 this season. Because the two teams met last year, the Bulldogs now know what to expect from Harding’s twin-slot option offense. Harding leads NCAA Division II in rushing (averaging 348.7 yards per game) and in time of possession (36:08). Harding finished the regular season last Saturday with a 28-0 win over Arkansas Tech. The Bisons held the Wonder Boys to just 156 yards of offense. It was the fifth consecutive victory for Harding since a 7-3 loss to Ouachita. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team on what promises to be a cold afternoon in Big Rapids.

Louisiana-Monroe 35, Arkansas State 33 — Both teams have 6-4 records going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Jonesboro. UL-M is 4-2 in Sun Belt Conference play, and ASU is 3-3 in the conference. The Red Wolves struggled early in conference games but looked much better last week in a 44-16 win at Coastal Carolina. Louisiana-Monroe’s six wins have been by scores of 34-31 over Southeastern Louisiana, 21-20 over Southern Mississippi, 45-20 over Coastal Carolina, 20-14 over Texas State, 44-25 over Georgia Southern and 38-10 over South Alabama. The Warhawks’ four losses have come by scores of 48-10 to Texas A&M, 35-27 to Troy, 46-14 to Georgia State and 70-21 to Ole Miss. The win at Coastal Carolina made ASU bowl eligible for an eighth consecutive season. Red Wolf quarterback Justice Hansen was 18 of 20 passing for 253 yards and four touchdowns. The Red Wolves led 27-6 at the half and didn’t punt until late in the third quarter.

Abilene Christian 29, UCA 25 — Abilene Christian has won four consecutive games coming into Saturday afternoon’s contest against UCA in Abilene. UCA has had a disappointing season by its standards. The Bears fell to 5-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play with a 40-27 loss in Conway last Saturday to Incarnate Word. Abilene Christian’s six victories have been by scores of 41-24 over Angelo State, 38-13 over Houston Baptist, 28-12 over Nicholls State, 48-27 over Southeastern Louisiana, 49-47 over Northwestern State of Louisiana and 17-10 over Sam Houston State. The losses have been by scores of 55-27 to Baylor, 24-21 to Stephen F. Austin, 44-34 to Incarnate Word and 24-21 to McNeese State.

Texas Southern 19, UAPB 17 — A long season for the Golden Lions will come to an end in Houston on Saturday night. UAPB is 1-9 overall and 0-6 in SWAC play in its first year under head coach Cedric Thomas. The Golden Lions certainly have a chance against a Texas Southern team (2-7, 1-5) whose only victories have been by scores of 26-16 over Texas-Permian Basin and 42-14 over Mississippi Valley State. UAPB lost 56-24 last Saturday at Southern University. Southern was led by former Pine Bluff High School quarterback Ladarius Skelton, who passed for 283 yards and four touchdowns against the Golden Lions.

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