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College football: Week 4

The Razorbacks are 3-0 for the first time since 2013.

Arkansas’ 42-3 victory over my wife’s alma mater at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium last Saturday night was little more than a scrimmage. The Hogs outgained the Bobcats 467-105 and outrushed Texas State 226-22. That’s the fewest rushing yards allowed by an Arkansas team since the Texas Bowl in 2014.

Arkansas has scored 40 or more points in eight of its past 10 games.

The victory over Texas State makes Bret Bielema 39-4 as a head coach in regular-season nonconference games. Arkansas improved to 24-1 against schools currently playing in the Sun Belt Conference, and Texas State fell to 0-5 against schools currently playing in the Southeastern Conference.

Now it’s on to Arlington, Texas, for a battle of ranked teams that will air late Saturday night on ESPN. Texas A&M is the higher-ranked team, but Arkansas might be due after having lost the past two seasons in overtime to the Aggies.

We were 7-1 on the picks last week, missing only on UAPB’s upset victory at Alcorn State in three overtimes. That makes the record 21-7 for the season.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 4:

Arkansas 32, Texas A&M 31 — The Aggies gained national attention on the first Saturday of the season when they upset a UCLA team that came into College Station ranked No. 16. The 31-24 overtime victory occurred with a CBS national television audience looking on. Texas A&M had its own scrimmage a week later with a 67-0 victory over Prairie View A&M from the SWAC. Last Saturday, the Aggies went on the road for the first time this season and came away from Auburn with a 29-16 win. The Aggies had 478 yards of offense as Gus Malzahn’s Tigers fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in SEC play. Trevor Knight passed for 247 yards for Texas A&M. The previous two games between Arkansas and Texas A&M went into overtime. This latest edition of the series should prove just as entertaining.

Arkansas State 40, UCA 30 — It has been a rough start to the 2016 season for Arkansas State. The Red Wolves fell to 0-3 last Friday night with a 34-20 loss to Utah State in Logan, Utah. Utah State, which plays in the Mountain West Conference, is now 2-1. The home team jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and led 24-0 at halftime. The Red Wolves had 354 yards of offense but also had 18 penalties for 129 yards. Even though UCA is an FCS team, the Bears might be able to hang around in Jonesboro on Saturday night, at least for three quarters. UCA moved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southland Conference last Saturday with a 24-10 win in Conway over 0-3 Northwestern State from Louisiana. UCA had 227 yards on the ground and a nine-minute advantage in time of possession. Antwon Wells led the Bears with 129 yards on 25 carries.

Jackson State 21, UAPB 19 — As usual, the Golden Lions are hard to figure out. They looked awful in an opening 44-0 loss to Tennessee State and then came home and lost to an NCAA Division II school, Panhandle State of Oklahoma. So what happened next? They ventured down to Lorman, Miss., last Thursday night to take on the defending SWAC champions from Alcorn State in a nationally televised game on ESPNU and came away with that 45-43 victory in three overtimes. Down by 16 points with 5:55 left in regulation, UAPB scored two touchdowns and converted two-point conversions after both of them to force overtime. The third two-point conversion of the evening won the game in the third overtime. Brandon Duncan passed for 505 yards for UAPB. Jackson State, this week’s opponent at War Memorial Stadium, is 0-3 following losses of 63-13 to UNLV, 40-26 to Tennessee State and 35-14 to Grambling. Can the Golden Lions make it two wins in a row? I never know what to expect.

Henderson 41, Southwestern Oklahoma 25 — The Reddies are 3-0 and continue to move up in the national rankings. They rolled to a 62-23 victory over 1-2 Northwestern Oklahoma in Arkadelphia last Saturday afternoon in a game that saw them take a 31-0 lead before Northwestern even had a first down. The Reddies outgained the Rangers 592-305. Southwestern Oklahoma was expected to contend for a conference title this year but has been a disappointment. The Bulldogs fell to 0-3 Saturday with a loss at Ouachita.

Ouachita 49, Northwestern Oklahoma 33 — The Tigers rebounded from their upset loss at Southeastern Oklahoma with a 48-28 win in Arkadelphia over Southwestern Oklahoma on Saturday night. Ouachita quarterback Austin Warford, a junior from Malvern, was named the Great American Conference’s offensive player of the week after rushing for 144 yards and passing for another 268 yards. Warford is the leading rusher in the conference and leads all quarterbacks in NCAA Division II in rushing yardage.

Southern Arkansas 29, Arkansas Tech 27 — Both teams are 2-1 and needing a win to realistically stay in the race for a conference crown. Tech, which finished 9-3 last year, opened with an easy victory over Southern Nazarene and then was upset at Oklahoma Baptist. Last Saturday night, the Wonder Boys struggled before finally posting a 38-31 win over 1-2 UAM. Tech quarterback Ty Reasnor threw for 330 yards. Southern Arkansas won its first two games against Southwestern Oklahoma and Northwestern Oklahoma before falling by 21 points at Harding on Saturday night. It was the 12th consecutive year for SAU to lose to Harding. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team.

Harding 50, UAM 28 — The Bisons are 3-0 and seem positioned to challenge Henderson for the conference crown. In the 35-14 win over Southern Arkansas on Saturday, Harding finished with 459 yards of offense, with 385 of that coming on the ground. The Harding defense, meanwhile, held the Muleriders to just 275 yards of offense. The game is in Monticello, but the Boll Weevils (who lost to Northwestern Oklahoma in the opener, upset Southwestern Oklahoma and then lost to Arkansas Tech) don’t appear to have enough athletes to hang with the Bisons.

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