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College football: Week 3

I spoke to a group of visitors from Texas last Friday night and tried to explain why the Arkansas-Texas rivalry is so much more important to us than it is to them.

I talked about all of those decades of being the only non-Texas school in the Southwest Conference and how that made us feel that we didn’t really belong.

I spoke about the psychological scars that those of us of a certain age still carry from the 15-14 loss in the Big Shootout of 1969.

I explained how Frank Broyles came along at just the right time in the late 1950s. Arkansas, after all, had lost a higher percentage of its population than any other state since 1940 and now carried the fresh wounds of the national ridicule heaped on the state in the wake of the 1957 Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis. Within a few years, Broyles gave us something to be proud of.

The three top programs in major college football during the decade of the 1960s were Alabama, Texas and Arkansas. Being in that group helped overcome the infamous Arkansas inferiority complex.

Finally, I put it this way: “You’re Russia. We’re Ukraine.”

On Saturday night, with a national ESPN audience looking on, Ukraine won the war.

Arkansas has, in fact, now won five of the past seven games between these two schools. To quote Coach B once more, it was “borderline erotic.”

Yes, I picked Texas last week. These past few years of failure have conditioned me to always expect the worst. But this team might just be something special. Sure, it’s early. There’s still much to learn.

I went 7-2 on the week (the only other miss was Southeastern Oklahoma’s stunning upset of nationally ranked Harding) to make the record 15-3 for the season.

Let’s get to the picks for this week:

Arkansas 49, Georgia Southern 20 — There’s just one way to say it. Saturday night’s performance was impressive. The Hogs led 16-0 at the half and never looked back. Only two other times had an Arkansas team scored more than 40 points against Texas. And no one had held a Longhorn squad scoreless in the first half since 2015. KJ Jefferson completed 73.7 percent of his passes, and the Razorbacks had three running backs with 65 or more yards in a game for the first time since 2007. Arkansas outgained Texas 471-256 as four Hog tailbacks scored touchdowns. Saturday afternoon’s game against Georgia Southern should be one of those contests in which Arkansas gets everyone into the game. Georgia Southern, which played in bowl games the previous three seasons, needed a defensive stop at its 29 late in the game to hold off an FCS school, Gardner-Webb. The Eagles then lost 28-6 to Florida Atlantic.

Washington 30, Arkansas State 29 — In a shootout at Jonesboro last Saturday night, ASU fell just short, losing 55-50 to Memphis. There were almost 1,300 yards of offense, evenly divided between the two teams. The Red Wolves struggled mightily in the secondary as a freshman quarterback for Memphis completed 22 of 33 passes for 417 yards. Arkansas State mounted a furious comeback late in the fourth quarter with scores at 5:01 and 1:52. ASU has a chance at Washington this week. The Huskies have scored just two offensive touchdowns and are 112th among FBS schools in total offense, averaging 317 yards per game. Of course, the Red Wolves rank 126th out of 130 teams on defense. Washington is 0-2 following losses of 13-7 to Montana and 31-10 to Michigan.

UCA 34, UAPB 24 — The Bears, who lost to ASU in the season opener, fell to 0-2 last Saturday night with a 43-34 loss to Bobby Petrino’s Missouri State squad in a game played at Springfield. There were 40 points scored in the fourth quarter as the lead changed hands four times. UCA outgained Missouri State 453-374 as Breylin Smith threw for 332 yards. UAPB, which won its opener against tiny Lane College on Sept. 4, had last week off. The two schools will square off for the first time since 2008 on Saturday night in Conway. UCA has won the past 10 games in this series and should be able to make it 11 in a row.

Ouachita 31, Arkansas Tech 21 — Ouachita extended its Great American Conference winning streak to 29 games (dating back to 2017) with a 41-3 victory at Southern Nazarene. The 2-0 Tigers are now ranked No. 9 nationally in NCAA Division II in the American Football Coaches Association poll. Ouachita outgained the Crimson Storm 388-35 and held its opponent to 1 of 13 on third down conversion attempts. The Tiger offense held the ball for 39:42. Arkansas Tech comes to Arkadelphia this Saturday night to battle the Tigers at Cliff Harris Stadium. The Wonder Boys fell to 0-2 with a 13-10 loss at East Central Oklahoma. East Central led 6-3 at halftime as both teams struggled on offense.

Henderson 41, UAM 25 — The Reddies moved into the AFCA Division II poll at No. 25 following a 55-7 home victory over Northwestern Oklahoma. The 2-0 Reddies scored 21 points in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter. Henderson quarterback Adam Morse was 19 of 32 passing for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Henderson is on the road this week against UAM and shouldn’t have much trouble with a 1-1 Boll Weevil team that lost 45-20 at Oklahoma Baptist, the best of the six Oklahoma teams in the GAC. Oklahoma Baptist led 35-0 at halftime.

Harding 33, Southern Arkansas 32 — This is the game of the week in the GAC. Southern Arkansas moved to 2-0 with a 42-27 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma, The Muleriders scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Hayden Mallory was 25 of 35 passing for 266 yards. In Durant, Okla., Southeastern scored with just 46 seconds left, went for two, converted and won by a final score of 32-31. Harding lost despite rushing for 336 yards. Harding and SAU are both talented teams. This one should be fun.

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