Nicholls State had 297 yards of offense in the first half Saturday against the University of Central Arkansas.
The Colonels were held to 70 yards the second half in a 34-14 victory.
“I think we got their attention at halftime,” coach Clint Conque said at Monday’s weekly Bearbackers luncheon. “I told coach (Matt) Williamson (defensive coordinator) that whatever he told his group at halftime to try to do that 15 minutes before the game.”
As far as schematic adjustments, the UCA coaches changed nothing.
“I guess we broke a coaches creed when I said we didn’t changed anything at halftime,” Conque said. “We didn’t change our schemes. We changed attitudes.”
The Bears also sputtered offensively in the first half in trailing, 14-13, against the Colonels’ game plan of limiting UCA’s possessions and draining the clock.
“They (the Colonels) tired to take the air out of the game,” Conque said. “When we got into the red zone, we fired blanks instead of bullets. In the second half, we were very efficient. I liked the way we moved the football. I liked the tempo. I liked how we established the line of scrimmage.”
And quarterback Wynrick Smothers, who had limited practice time because of an ankle injury, completed 72 percent of his passes and guided the UCA offense to 21 points the second half.
“From an efficiency standpoint, he played one of his better games,” said Conque. “With his experience now, an injury like that is not as magnified. He’s comfortable now in our offense and what he is doing, rather than what it would be like the first or second week of the season.”
The coach noted three sacks in the second half (one short of the school record for a game) by defensive end Jonathan Woodard. “That was because we started covering people on the back end,” Conque said.
He was disappointed what he termed an “ESPN-type of punt return for a touchdown by Jesse Grandy was called back because of holding. He said the infraction was not blatant but was a legitimate call.
He was pleased with the contributions of four UCA players who made their first starts — center Alec Willis, wide receiver Clay Murphy (five catches) cornerback Dillon Winfrey (five tackles, one interception) and safety Marvin Mitchell, who started in place of Jestin Love, who served a three-series disciplinary suspension.
The Bears (4-2, 2-1) play Saturday at McNeese State, which is coming off an open week in the Red Beans and Rice Bowl.
“I’ve always said that the road to a championship in this league usually goes through Lake Charles, Louisiana,” Conque said. “We’ve won three of the last four games against them, but three of the last four have been in Conway. No road team has won the Red Beans and Rice Bowl.”
INJURIES: Conque said wide receiver Brett Soft and defensive back Karl Brady, who were held out last week because of injuries, should return. The status of linebacker Rojae Jackson, who left the game with an ankle injury, will be determined later in the week.