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College football: Week 6

For three consecutive weeks, I’ve gone 8-1 on the picks.

For two consecutive weeks, I’ve been unable to figure out the Boll Weevils of the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Two weeks ago, I picked UAM to beat the woeful club from Northwestern Oklahoma. The Weevils lost.

Last week, I figured the 0-3 Weevils would lose to a Southwestern Oklahoma team that came to Drew County with a 2-1 record following victories over Arkansas Tech and Southern Arkansas. The Weevils won convincingly, 33-14.

I was on the mark with everything else, including the prediction that Texas A&M would knock off Arkansas in Arlington, Texas. Granted, I would have been glad to have been wrong on that one.

The Razorbacks’ Southeastern Conference losing streak is now 14 games.

This is painful, I know, but here’s a quick recap: Arkansas led 28-14. It was the first play of the fourth quarter. Jonathan Williams ran 55 yards to the Aggie 1. With a 21-point lead, there would have been no way at that point for Arkansas to lose.

But tackle Dan Skipper was called for tripping. The 55-yard run was nullified, and the game changed course. And it changed course drastically.

From that point on, the Aggies outscored Arkansas 21-0 and outgained the Hogs 233 yards to 89 yards.

A&M had just 182 yards passing through three quarters, but the Aggies had 204 yards passing in the fourth quarter and overtime. Arkansas was unsuccessful on six third-down conversion attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime.

So the most recent SEC victory for the Hogs is still almost two years ago — Oct. 13, 2012, against Kentucky.

There’s an open date this week, and then Alabama comes to town.

With the Hogs open, it’s a chance for college football fans across the state to catch a game in Arkadelphia (where there are two contests), Jonesboro, Magnolia or Russellville on Saturday.

With that 8-1 record last week, the record for the season moves to 37-3. I shouldn’t be complaining, I guess. But dang those Weevils. A record of 39-1 would sound even better.

Let’s get to the picks for Week 6:

Arkansas State 29, Louisiana-Monroe 28 — This is a tough game to figure. It’s likely to be close. Louisiana-Monroe opened the season with wins of 17-10 over Wake Forest and 38-31 over Idaho before losing 31-0 to LSU in Baton Rouge. Last week, the Warhawks struggled at home before overcoming the weakest Troy team in years by just two points, 22-20. Arkansas State has had two weeks to prepare for this game following a 21-14 overtime victory over Utah State that evened the Red Wolves’ record at 2-2 heading into Sun Belt Conference play. ASU leads the series with Louisiana-Monroe, 21-14, since the first meeting in 1959. The Red Wolves have a 9-4 series lead since both teams have been in the Sun Belt. ASU has won in each of the past four seasons, including a 42-14 victory last year in Monroe. We’ll give a slight advantage to the home team due to the two weeks of preparation and the fact that it’s homecoming at Jonesboro.

Stephen F. Austin 24, UCA 21 — The Bears face their old coach, Clint Conque, down in the piney woods of east Texas on Saturday night. Conque has Stephen F. Austin off to a good start. After a 55-16 loss at Kansas State to open the season, the Lumberjacks have posted victories of 38-3 over Incarnate Word of Texas, 38-17 over Texas A&M-Commerce and 35-20 over Weber State. The 2-3 Bears have been hard to figure out in their first year under Steve Campbell. They got a break last week in getting to play poor ol’ Nicholls State, which lost to an FBS (Arkansas), a Division II (Henderson) and an FCS (UCA) team from the state of Arkansas all in the month of September. UCA downed the Colonels, 52-18, in a game in which the Bears never punted and even had two touchdown drives led by their third-team quarterback.

Southern University 17, UAPB 10 — The Golden Lions fell to 1-3 with a 33-30 loss to Jackson State in overtime last Saturday in Pine Bluff. UAPB was held to a 21-yard field goal in overtime, and then Jackson State scored on a 15-yard quarterback scramble. Southern is 2-3. The wins have been by scores of 56-14 over Central Methodist and 34-24 over Prairie View A&M. The losses have been by scores of 45-6 to Louisiana-Lafayette, 51-27 to Northwestern State of Louisiana and 56-16 to Alcorn State. SWAC games can be tough to figure. We’ll give Southern the nod since the game is being played at Baton Rouge.

Ouachita 35, Southwestern Oklahoma 27 — Ouachita is 3-0, but the Tigers haven’t always made it look easy. In their first road game of the season last Saturday at Durant, Okla., the Tigers scored with just 11 seconds left to win. Southeastern Oklahoma had gone ahead, 29-28, with 58 seconds remaining, but sophomore Brandon Marks from Prescott scored on the ground from 14 yards out to secure a 35-29 victory. Southwestern was blitzed by Harding in its first game by a score of 42-6 and then came back with two narrow victories — 27-23 over Arkansas Tech and 27-24 over Southern Arkansas. That was followed by the loss to a UAM team that had entered the game with an 0-3 record. It’s homecoming at Ouachita.

Henderson 69, Northwestern Oklahoma 20 — Northwestern is 1-3 after a 62-21 loss last week to Southern Arkansas. Henderson will do just as much, if not more, damage. The Reddies won their 27th consecutive regular-season game last Saturday with a 44-27 victory at East Central Oklahoma. Senior quarterback Kevin Rodgers was 30 of 45 passing for the Reddies for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Henderson, 4-0, finished with 465 yards of offense. Don’t expect Rodgers to play in Arkadelphia on Saturday afternoon after the first half.

Arkansas Tech 34, UAM 32 — Tech stepped up in classification last week and got thrashed by McNeese State down in Lake Charles, La. The Wonder Boys are 2-2. UAM lost its first three games by a total of 13 points and then looked like a real football team last week against the Southwestern Oklahoma squad that had defeated Tech earlier in the season . You should expect this game to be close with the advantage going to the home team. Among the six Great American Conference teams in Arkansas, it seems to be shaping up this way for 2014: Henderson and Harding in the top tier; Ouachita alone in the middle tier; Southern Arkansas, Arkansas Tech and UAM all in the next tier with little difference among those three teams.

Harding 41, Southern Arkansas 23 — Harding improved its record to 3-0 last week with a 58-0 victory over Southern Nazarene. The Bison defense, which is one of the best in NCAA Division II, held 0-4 Southern Nazarene to four yards rushing, two first downs and 42 yards of offense. Southern Arkansas seems to have found a quarterback. In the win over Northwestern Oklahoma that made the Muleriders 2-2 on the season, Si Blackshire passed for 377 yards and six touchdowns. SAU finished that game with 675 yards of offense.

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