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College football: Week 4

There’s not too much we can say about the past two University of Arkansas football games that hasn’t already been said.

No doubt there are problems on The Hill.

Perhaps serious problems.

A week after Toledo came into War Memorial Stadium and defeated the Razorbacks (it was the stadium’s fault, according to the Hog true believers on social media), Texas Tech rolled into Fayetteville and won by 11 points. This is a Tech team that fell to Arkansas by 21 points last year at Lubbock and looked bad in the process.

The Arkansas secondary was torched, giving up 315 yards through the air. Tech converted seven of 10 third-down plays.

Alex Collins did have 170 yards rushing and a touchdown as the Hogs gained 228 yards on the ground, but once more Arkansas’ point production was not what it should have been considering the opponent.

Adding insult to Razorback injury, Jared Cornelius broke his arm. That’s yet another injury in what has been an injury-riddled preseason and early part of the 2015 campaign.

It was Tech’s first win in Fayetteville since Oct. 11, 1986. As the Tech fans celebrated late Saturday night in a corner of the stadium — chanting “Big 12, Big 12” — the only way for Razorback fans to console themselves was to say: “Sure, they’re having fun tonight. But they have to go back to Lubbock tomorrow.”

After a stellar start to the season, we fell to 4-3 last week, making the record 22-5 thus far this year.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 4:

Texas A&M 49, Arkansas 40 — I believe Arkansas will play better this Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, just not good enough to avoid a 1-3 start. The Aggies are off to a 3-0 start with victories of 38-17 over Arizona State, 56-23 over Ball State and 44-27 over Nevada. In last Saturday’s game against Nevada in College Station, Kyle Allen threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score. It was the 19th consecutive nonconference victory for the Aggies, the longest such streak in the FBS. For Arkansas fans, whose hopes were so high this summer, last year’s record of 7-6 suddenly is looking very good.

Toledo 35, Arkansas State 31 — Obviously ASU fans would love to say they beat the same Toledo team that earlier had defeated the Razorbacks. That will be no easy task for the Red Wolves. Toledo had its first game against Stony Brook called off due to inclement weather (it would have been an easy victory) and has since defeated Arkansas, 16-12, and Iowa State, 30-23. Arkansas State was routed at USC to start the season and then played well in a 27-20 loss to Missouri in Jonesboro. Last Saturday, the Red Wolves got to pick on an FCS opponent as they beat Missouri State, 70-7, before 26,634 fans in Jonesboro. James Tabary, filling in for the injured Fredi Knighten at quarterback, passed for 255 yards and three touchdowns. ASU scored on its third offensive play and never looked back. It was the fifth most points in school history and the most since an 83-10 victory over Texas Southern in 2008. The Red Wolves finished with 624 yards of offense, including 344 yards on the ground. They’ll make a game of it at Toledo.

Alabama A&M 21, UAPB 20 — The Golden Lions are 1-2 following a 24-20 loss to Texas Southern in Pine Bluff. The lone victory thus far was against an NCAA Division II school, Morehouse College, in overtime. Alabama A&M is 0-2 with losses of 52-10 to Cincinnati and 53-49 to Prairie View A&M. I find these SWAC games hard to predict due to the inconsistency of teams in the league. We’ll give a slight edge to the home team.

UCA 39, Northwestern State 34 — The Bears have had two weeks to prepare for this game after losses of 45-16 to Samford and 32-8 to Oklahoma State to start the season. Northwestern is 0-3 following losses of 34-20 to Southeastern Louisiana, 44-17 to Louisiana-Lafayette and 62-13 to Mississippi State. So the two teams are a combined 0-5 coming into the Southland Conference opener in Natchitoches. Somebody has to win.

Henderson 30, Southwestern Oklahoma 28 — Both teams are 2-1 entering Saturday afternoon’s Great American Conference game in Arkadelphia. The GAC is in its fifth year, and the championship trophy in football has yet to leave Arkadelphia. Ouachita won titles in 2011 and 2014. Henderson won titles in 2012 and 2013. This might be the year the trophy leaves town as parity has descended on the GAC. Southwestern has found a quality quarterback in transfer Marc Evans, who passed for 365 yards last Saturday in the Bulldogs’ 58-38 victory over Ouachita. That ended the Tigers’ 12-game GAC winning streak. Henderson has been up and down. The Reddies edged Southeastern Oklahoma on the road and then lost to East Central Oklahoma at home. Henderson went back on the road last week and beat Northwestern Oklahoma, 25-17. The Reddie defense had five interceptions in that game, and Corey Chappell had a 103-yard kickoff return for Henderson to start the game. This week’s contest could easily go either way. It should be fun to watch (and I plan to be there).

Ouachita 47, Northwestern Oklahoma 37 — Ouachita doesn’t have a good enough defense to take anyone for granted this year, not even 1-2 Northwestern Oklahoma. The Tiger secondary has given up more than 1,000 yards through the air the first three games even though Ouachita is 2-1. The offense is just fine under the leadership of redshirt sophomore Austin Warford of Malvern. Warford rushed for 135 yards and passed for another 165 yards last week at Weatherford. The Tigers scored 38 points despite the fact that both of their top two running backs were out of the game due to injuries. This is going to be a season in which Ouachita simply has to outscore its opponents considering the number of points the defense will be giving up.

Harding 50, UAM 19 — The most impressive offensive performance in the GAC (and perhaps in all of NCAA Division II) last week was put on by the Harding offense. The Bisons rushed 64 times for a school-record 566 yards in a 70-42 victory over Southern Arkansas at Magnolia. It was Harding’s 10th consecutive victory against SAU. The Bisons scored on their first play from scrimmage, had two players rush for more than 100 yards and set a school record for most points scored on the road. Harding finished the game with 625 yards of offense. The Bisons shouldn’t have any trouble in Searcy on Saturday night against the 0-3 Boll Weevils. UAM did look better in its 24-17 loss to Arkansas Tech than it had looked the first two weeks of the season in losses of 52-31 to Northwestern Oklahoma and 50-20 to Southwestern Oklahoma.

Southern Arkansas 25, Arkansas Tech 22 — This should be an entertaining game in Russellville on Saturday night between the 3-0 Wonder Boys and the 2-1 Muleriders. SAU had victories of 28-24 over Southwestern Oklahoma and 49-14 over Northwestern Oklahoma before the loss to Harding. Tech won by scores of 62-14 over Southern Nazarene and 50-7 over Oklahoma Baptist prior to the victory over UAM. Tech has a talented new quarterback named Arsenio Favor and the best defensive player in the conference in Logan Genz, who returned a fumble 67 yards for a touchdown against UAM. The Muleriders are smarting after the loss to Harding and will manage to give Tech its first loss of the season in a close one.

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