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College football: Week 2

What a fun week of college football.

Upsets galore.

Near upsets.

Overtime games.

LSU cheap shots.

What more could you ask for?

On a beautiful Labor Day weekend in Fayetteville, the Hogs survived — and we do mean survived — with a 21-20 victory over Louisiana Tech.

Considering how the folks in Starkville are feeling right now after Mississippi State’s loss to South Alabama (a team that was playing the Henderson Reddies just a few years ago), maybe Razorback fans should not feel so badly about their team’s performance.

There’s cause for concern, however, when the offense produces only 106 rushing yards with 96 of those yards coming from Rawleigh Williams.

In his first start as a Razorback quarterback, Austin Allen was 20 of 29 through the air for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions. And Louisiana Tech outgained Arkansas through the air, 212 yards to 191 yards.

Looking for bright spots?

How about the defense against the run? For the fourth time in the past five games, Arkansas held an opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards. Louisiana Tech had 79.

We were 9-1 on picks in Week One, missing only the Southern Arkansas-Southwestern Oklahoma game as the Muleriders overcame a 17-point deficit on the road.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 2:

TCU 40, Arkansas 38 — Only half of the SEC teams that played nonconference opponents won. It would have been less than half had Tennessee, ranked No. 9 in the preseason, not overcome a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Appalachian State in overtime, 20-13. LSU lost to Wisconsin at Lambeau Field (and Les Miles is right back on the hot seat), Southern Mississippi scored 34 unanswered points to beat Kentucky in Lexington (is it basketball season yet?) and West Virginia broke a five-game losing streak to SEC teams with a 26-11 win over Missouri, where the football program is in a downward spiral. So Arkansas was not alone in the conference in leaving its fans a bit disappointed. Among Big 12 teams, the Horned Frogs struggled in Fort Worth on Saturday night before finally putting away South Dakota State. TCU gave up 41 points and 461 yards to South Dakota State, leading head coach Gary Patterson to say: “Hopefully we’ll do a lot better job as a coaching staff on getting them in position against Arkansas. If not, they’ll have 1,000 yards and 1,000 points.” Arkansas will fall short of scoring 1,000 points, but it should be an entertaining game.

Auburn 46, Arkansas State 28 — On Friday night in Jonesboro, Arkansas State was whipped in just about every phase of the game in a 31-10 loss to Toledo. That makes the Red Wolves 0-3 against Toledo since early last year. Toledo won the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl, 63-44, and then came back in the fall to win by a final score of 37-7 in Toledo. Most folks thought Clemson would rout Auburn, but the Tigers looked pretty good at home — at least on defense — before falling 19-13. Gus Malzahn is working overtime this week to make sure his offense, which used three quarterbacks against Clemson, is firing on all cylinders against the school that gave him his first college head coaching job.

Samford 29, UCA 27 — This is the same school from Birmingham, Ala., that led Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium at the end of the third quarter three years ago before falling to Bret Bielema’s first team. In fact, Saturday’s win against Louisiana Tech marked the first time since that game for Arkansas to win after trailing at the conclusion of three quarters. Samford opened the season with a 77-7 win over Mars Hill. Samford won last year against UCA , 44-16, in Birmingham. Saturday’s game in Conway should be closer. The Bears opened the season with a 56-13 Southland Conference win over Houston Baptist. UCA scored on three of its first four possessions and then blocked a field goal that was returned for a touchdown to make it 28-0. The Bears never slowed down after that.

UAPB 14, Panhandle State 13 — It’s hard to get a read on this one. UAPB doesn’t seem much better than last year following its 44-0 loss to Tennessee State in Nashville. The Golden Lions have lost four consecutive season openers. Panhandle State from Oklahoma, which plays in the Lone Star Conference of NCAA Division II, fell 59-21 to FCS powerhouse Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas. Panhandle was 5-5 a year ago. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team in a game between two schools that will probably struggle throughout the season.

Ouachita 34, Southeastern Oklahoma 30 — Ouachita won its season opener for a 10th consecutive year. The Tigers posted a 42-28 victory over East Central Oklahoma in a Thursday night game at Arkadelphia. Ouachita has the most consecutive winning seasons — eight — of any college program in the state. The offense looked good, but the Tiger secondary is again suspect. Southeastern, meanwhile, had a chance to stun Great American Conference preseason favorite Henderson on the other side of U.S. Highway 67 in Arkadelphia last Thursday night but missed a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:28 remaining. The Reddies held on, 13-11. Two years ago in Durant, a Ouachita team that would finish the regular season undefeated had to drive the length of the field in the final minute of play for the winning touchdown against the Savage Storm. This should be another interesting game that goes down to the wire.

Henderson 24, East Central Oklahoma 20 — East Central has the best receiver in the conference in David Moore, who had three touchdown receptions in the loss to Ouachita. East Central shocked Henderson in Arkadelphia last year, 35-28. The Reddies rebounded to capture the conference championship and even win a playoff game. Henderson’s defense is just as good, if not better, than it was in 2015. Yet the offense struggled mightily in the opening win over Southeastern Oklahoma. Another night of offensive mistakes by the Reddies could allow East Central to hang around at home in Ada with a chance to win at the end.

Arkansas Tech 41, Oklahoma Baptist 25 — The Wonder Boys have three games at the start of their schedule that should result in relatively easy victories. They were true to form on Thursday night of last week with a 46-0 win against Southern Nazarene. Tech outgained the Crimson Storm 292-9 in the first half. This week’s opponent, Oklahoma Baptist, fell by a final score of 38-7 to Harding in a Saturday game at Searcy. For the Wonder Boys, it won’t be as simple as beating Southern Nazarene was. But it should be a solid victory in Shawnee, Okla., just the same.

Southern Arkansas 36, Northwestern Oklahoma 10 — The Muleriders found themselves down 17-0 to a decent Southwestern Oklahoma team on the road in Weatherford last Thursday. Somehow, they came back to win, 21-17. SAU should be brimming with confidence going into Saturday night’s home opener in Magnolia against Northwestern Oklahoma. The visitors are 1-0 but gave up 56 points to UAM in the process. Expect Southern Arkansas to score early and often Saturday.

Southwestern Oklahoma 39, UAM 23 — If it weren’t for bad luck, they would have no luck at all. That seems to be the motto for the Boll Weevils in recent seasons. In a wild game on the road in Alva, Okla. (it’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from there) against Northwestern Oklahoma last Thursday night, the Weevils made a furious comeback attempt in the fourth quarter before losing by a basketball-like score of 59-56 on a field goal with four seconds left in the game.

Harding 50, Southern Nazarene 16 — Harding, which still confuses its opponents by running the option, had 389 rushing yards in the 38-7 win over Oklahoma Baptist. The Bisons head to Oklahoma City this week and might top 700 yards of rushing against woeful Southern Nazarene.

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