On a gloomy, wet evening in which his team wasn’t challenged by the opposition, University of Central Arkansas coach Clint Conque told Bearbackers on Monday that his Bears got exactly what they needed out of the 70-3 victory over Bacone College.
The UCA defense limited Bacone to 109 total yards, 31 rushing yards on 31 attempts and five first down. The offense amassed 573 total yards (353 rushing). The special teams produced two touchdowns.
“We were able to dominate like we should have. We had continuity. We got a lot of young people on the field — some in their first collegiate game — without embarrassing the opposition or trying to run up the score in any way. We got to rest all our frontline players after the first half. And neither team had a major injury,” said Clint Conque at Monday’s weekly Bearbacker luncheon.
The Bears (2-1) attempted two passes the second half and played about 70 players — everyone on their roster they don’t plan to redshirt.
“We saw our offensive line start to grow up a little bit — the pad level is better, intensity is better, playing faster,” Conque said. “We got Willie Matthews (a fourth-string running back who rushed for 153 yards on 10 carries and an 83-yard touchdown run) and I think we see a shining star. We’ve scored three special teams touchdowns in three games, and we’ve been as viable in the kicking game as we’ve been the last two years.”
Quarterback Wynrick Smothers, who completed 16 of 19 passes for three touchdowns and 179 yards in a half of play, is second in the nation in pass efficiency.
“Pass efficiency is what we’re hanging our hat on,” Conque said. “That’s the important stat to us. Wynrick had an interception. It was a pass he shouldn’t have thrown. But when you’re playing at the level he’s playing, sometimes you get too comfortable and think you can throw the ball through a rat hole. Those kind of decisions are the little things we have to clean up.”
Conque also praised the running and receiving of back Terence Bobo (75 all-purpose yards and a touchdown) and named the Bears’ offensive line and tight ends as offensive players of the game.
Wide receiver Dezmin Lewis scored on a 10-yard pass reception, a 12-yard return of a blocked punt and an 18-yard return of a fumble.
For the third straight game, UCA had 11 tackles for loss. Saturday, 11 different players had tackles for loss.
Things now get much tougher. This week, the Bears host Sam Houston State, a 14-1 team last season and the national runner-up. The Bearkats return 18 to 19 starters, including the SLC’s Player of the Year, the Offensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the year.
“This may be the best team to ever come to Conway since I’ve been here,” said Conque, who is in his 13th season. “But it’s not a be-all, end-all game like Texas State last season in which we had to win or not make the playoffs. It’s a big game but if we don’t play as well, we’re not going to all go out to Toad Suck and jump off the dam.”