While UCA’s new group of playmakers stole most of the attention in the 58-7 season opening win Thursday, Wynrick Smothers continued to be the consistent, efficient quarterback the Bears need.
Smothers, the Southland Conference’s reigning offensive player of the year, quietly finished the night 27 of 31 for 267 yards and a touchdown in a little more than two quarters of play.
Smothers led the offense to scores on five of his seven drives in the game, including four touchdowns.
“Not a bad night,” Coach Clint Conque said of his quarterback’s performance. “Very efficient.”
One year, and more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns later, Smothers has gone from one of the new guys on the offense to its leader.
For Smothers, the season opener of his senior year was spent trying to get new receivers and running backs accustomed to the spotlight.
While much of Smothers’ supporting cast from 2012’s playoff team is gone, the offensive prowess of the Bears, led by Smothers, is still evident in 2013.
Smothers praised the efforts of sophomore running backs Blake Veasley and Danzel Williams, who combined for 135 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries. Smothers said the way the Incarnate Word defense played early, expecting the Bears to throw, placed even more pressure on getting the running game started.
“We had to get that running game established,” Smothers said. “Blake Veasley, he did a great job of making runs, and even Danzel (Williams). He came in and got some good runs for us also.”
As for the performance of Wynrick’s receivers, the group combined for 332 yards and two touchdowns on 29 catches. That includes only two catches and 19 yards from the Bears’ most experienced receiver in Dezmin Lewis.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of throws down the field, but we got a lot of receivers touching the ball,” he said. “It’s good for those guys’ confidence to get them the ball, get them out in space and let them make plays. That’s basically what we did.”
While speaking on his own performance, which included the completion of his first 11 throws, Smothers said he was proud, but it was time to move on.
“I wanted to come out, and play efficient, and that’s what I did,” he said. “I enjoyed the win, but now it’s time to move on to the next opponent.”
Smothers will lead the Bears into Boulder, Colo. on Sept. 7 where UCA will take on Colorado, a Pac-12 member.
The fifth-year senior said he’s happy to have a few extra days of rest, after Thursday’s game, before the Bears’ next matchup.
“When you have a big opponent, like Colorado, you always want to get that extra rest and extra film study,” he said. “You can never go wrong with a couple extra days of rest.”
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)