Rex Nelson: Arkansas College Football Picks – Week 2


Each week throughout football season Sporting Life Arkansas excerpts Rex Nelson’s Weekly Arkansas College Football Picks and link to Rex’s Southern Fried Blog for his full predictions. Rex makes his prediction on every four-year college football team in the state. Enjoy.

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It was a hot start to the college football season in Arkansas, wasn’t it?

With temperatures in the 90s when the Razorbacks kicked off in Fayetteville last Saturday afternoon, the first aid crews were kept busy. I understand they treated dozens of people. But it wasn’t for dehydration. They were treating people who were hit in the face after asking the folks sitting next to them the inane question: “Is it hot enough for ya?”

You know, there just wasn’t too much for Arkansas fans to complain about after the first game of the Bret Bielema era.

You had Jonathan Williams rushing for 151 yards and Alex Collins rushing for 131 yards. Arkansas was one of just four teams in the country (Arkansas State was another) during the first weekend of college football with at least two running backs topping the century mark.

You had Brandon Allen completing 15 of his 22 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense, the Hogs had four sacks and forced two turnovers. After netting 136 yards on their first two possessions, Louisiana-Lafayette had just 138 yards the rest of the afternoon as Arkansas posted a 34-14 victory.

Louisiana-Lafayette is now 0-37 against Southeastern Conference teams and 0-5 against Arkansas. The margin should be even larger this week as Samford (that’s Samford; not Stanford) from the FCS comes to Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.

Meanwhile, up in Jonesboro last Saturday night, Arkansas State could have named its score against the Golden Lions of UAPB. With at least a dozen players having been ruled academically ineligible, UAPB was just no match for ASU. The final score was 62-11. Fans stayed to watch the UAPB band perform at halftime and then left in droves.

Four Red Wolves gained more than 100 yards on the ground — David Oku had 124, Sirgregory Thornton had 112, Michael Gordon had 102 and quarterback Fredi Knighten out of Pulaski Academy had 101.

Arkansas State finished the night with 672 yards of total offense. Of that yardage, 509 came on the ground. That’s just 17 yards shy of a school record. The Red Wolves had 480 yards by halftime and scored on nine of their first 10 possessions.

I realize this is the fourth head coach at ASU in as many seasons, but it has been amazing to watch the transformation of this program. It obviously would be an upset if the Red Wolves were to beat Auburn on the Plains on Saturday, but these are players who go there expecting to upset their former head coach, Gus Malzahn. It’s also a program that has drawn 30,000 fans in each of the past three home games.

In Conway on Thursday night of last week, UCA had an easy time with Incarnate Word from San Antonio, winning 58-7 before a crowd of more than 10,000. Five Bears were suspended for this game, but it didn’t matter.

Quarterback Wynrick Smothers was 27 of 31 passing for 267 yards and one touchdown. The Bears, who had 523 yards of offense, led 30-0 at halftime. Expect UCA to compete for at least a half if not longer when the Bears go to Colorado this weekend, just as was the case a year ago when they actually led Ole Miss at Oxford at intermission in the season’s first game.

All of the state’s NCAA Division II teams with the exception of Ouachita open the season this week. And the new Division III team from Hendrix is home against Westminster on Saturday afternoon. It’s the school’s first football game since 1960. I’ll be in Conway. It should be fun.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t know much about Division III football. So I won’t be picking Hendrix games this season. Let’s let this new program get off the ground. As in the past, I’ll pick the Arkansas, Arkansas State, UCA, UAPB and Great American Conference games each week.

We were 3-0 on picks last week. On to the picks for Week II. Click here for this week’s winners from Rex.

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