In taking a 20-14 lead against Ole Miss on Saturday in Oxford, University of Central Arkansas coach Clint Conque said his team held up well in its first game against a Southeastern Conference opponent.
In the first half, the Rebels drove to take a 7-0 lead. UCA responded with a touchdown drive to tie the score. Ole Miss then went up 14-7 and again, UCA retaliated with a touchdown to pull with 14-13. The Bears again managed a touchdown drive for a 20-14 lead then blocked a 58-yard field goal to end the half.
The Rebels then used their physical strength up front to dominate third quarter on the way to a 49-27 victory at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
"The bottom line is our kids didn't flinch," Conque said at Monday's Bearbackers luncheon. "Our kids truly felt they belonged in that game and that environment."
Conque had praised for quarterback Wynrick Smothers, who completed 25 of 32 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
"Our quarterback played phenomenal," Conque said. "I'm not sure we called on a young man to make his first starts during his collegiate career in two tougher situations, Arkansas State last year and Ole Miss this year."