What a night it was in Starkville for the Arkansas offense.
The Razorbacks gained 661 yards, the fourth-highest total in school history. Arkansas never punted in a 58-42 victory over Mississippi State.
Rawleigh Williams ran for a career-high 205 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass.
Austin Allen was 18 of 25 passing for 303 yards and two touchdowns as Arkansas ended a four-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the Arkansas defense gave up a whopping 533 yards. It was the second consecutive year for these teams to combine for 100 points or more.
A 7-4 Arkansas team heads north to Missouri on Friday for what should be another high-scoring game. Those of you who have the day off can do what I plan to do — kick back with the leftover turkey and dressing and watch CBS.
We were 4-1 on the picks last week. That makes the season record 70-24.
Here are the picks for Week 13:
Arkansas 49, Missouri 31 — Mizzou has an awful defense and an offense that can score points. Tennessee beat Missouri by a final score of 63-37 last Saturday in Knoxville. For the first time since 1995, a Tennessee team has scored more than 40 points in three consecutive games. Joshua Dobbs passed for 223 yards and rushed for 190 yards against the Tigers. You can expect Austin Allen to have similar success for Arkansas on Friday. But get this: The Vols gave up 740 yards, the most yards ever allowed by a Tennessee team. Even though Missouri is just 3-8 overall and 1-6 in Southeastern Conference play, the Tigers have gained more than 600 yards four times this season. Look for the Razorbacks to give up a lot of points. Also expect the Hogs to score far more than that en route to an 8-4 record to end the regular season.
Arkansas State 40, Louisiana-Lafayette 32 — The Red Wolves just keep winning conference games. They find themselves alone atop the Sun Belt Conference standings after dismantling Troy on Thursday night of last week by a final score of 35-3. Troy had come into the game with an 8-1 record, having narrowly lost to Clemson. The Trojans were the first Sun Belt team to be ranked in The Associated Press poll. But an ASU team that has now won 15 consecutive conference games improved to 6-4 overall after having gone 0-4 in nonconference play. Arkansas State led just 7-3 at the half but poured it on during the final two quarters. The Red Wolves will find themselves in the Cajun country of southwestern Louisiana on Saturday against a Louisiana-Lafayette team that’s 4-6 overall and 3-3 in conference play. The wins have come by scores of 30-22 over McNeese State, 28-23 over South Alabama. 27-3 over Texas State and 33-26 over Georgia Southern. The losses have been by scores of 45-10 to Boise State, 41-39 in four overtimes to Tulane, 37-31 in two overtimes to New Mexico State, 24-0 to Appalachian State, 32-13 to Idaho and 35-21 to Georgia. If ASU can get by this one, it should be on its way to an undisputed conference championship since the final opponent (Texas State on Dec. 3) is just 2-8 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
UCA 29, Illinois State 27 — It was for the championship of the Southland Conference, but the game in Huntsville, Texas, last Saturday afternoon wasn’t even close. Sam Houston State took advantage of five UCA turnovers en route to a 59-23 victory over the Bears. Sam Houston’s Jeremiah Briscoe threw seven touchdown passes. It was the first time in 28 years for two teams that were undefeated in Southland Conference play to battle each other on the final Saturday of the regular season. Sam Houston finished the regular season 11-0 overall and 9-0 in conference play. The Bears are 9-2 overall and 8-1 in the conference with a home game against Illinois State on Saturday afternoon in Conway in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Illinois State is just 6-5 overall but earned a spot in the playoff field by winning its final three games against South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Missouri State. The final scores of the six victories were 50-13 over Valparaiso, 9-7 over Northwestern from the Big Ten, 31-28 over Southern Illinois, 38-21 over South Dakota State, 31-26 over Western Illinois and 37-0 over Missouri State. The losses were by scores of 24-21 to Eastern Illinois, 34-31 to Indiana State, 31-10 to North Dakota State, 20-6 to Youngstown State and 27-24 to South Dakota. Even though Illinois State is coming off a big win and UCA is coming off a big loss, we’ll give a slight edge to the home team.
Harding 34, Sioux Falls 30 — The Bisons advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs with a 48-31 win over Central Missouri State in Searcy last Saturday afternoon. It now will be a battle of undefeated teams on what might be a frozen tundra in South Dakota this Saturday as 12-0 Harding goes against 12-0 Sioux Falls. In the win over 9-3 Central Missouri, Harding senior quarterback Park Parish from Clinton rushed for 118 yards and passed for a season-high 173 yards. Harding had 528 total yards, including 355 yards rushing. A Harding team advances to the second round for the first time after having lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2012 and 2014. Harding has won all but one game by 15 points or more (that one close game was a 24-20 victory over Ouachita in Searcy on Oct. 1). Sioux Falls has won all but one game by 10 points or more (the one close game was a 37-36 victory over Bemidji State on Sept. 24). In the first round of the playoffs last year, Sioux Falls fell to Henderson, 23-16. We’ll go out on a limb and say that Arkansas schools make it two in a row over Sioux Falls.