After the University of Central Arkansas Bears ran into a brick wall in the final seconds of the first half, the dam broke in the third quarter Saturday night against Southeastern Louisiana, drowning their Southland Conference title and postseason hopes.
The Lions used a goal-line stand, an interception return for a touchdown, a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery to pull away from a seven-point advantage to a 58-31 victory at First Security Field at Estes Stadium.
SE Louisiana (8-2, 5-0) scored 27 points in the third quarter.
The stand occurred after Eddie Camara nailed a 45-yard field goal to pull the Bears (5-5, 2-3) within 24-17 with 4:58 left in the first half and the Bears took over at their 48. A run by Taylor Reed on third down helped set up a third down at the 1. Howard’s sneak was inches short, then Willie Matthews was stuffed on fourth and inches.
The Lions opened the second half with Harlan Mitchell returning an interception 48 yards for a touchdown for a 31-17 lead.
SE Louisiana blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt by Eddie Camara and followed that with a 48-yard TD on n a speed sweep by Marquis Hayes for a 38-17 lead with 11:17 left. A fumble recovery led to a 4-yard run by Bryan Bennett that upped the lead to 44-17. After Reed passed 39 yards to Dezmin Lewis for a touchdown, The Lions matched that with a 70-yard drive capped by Bennett’s 7-yard run to lead 51-24 after three quarters. A 71-yard interception return by Marvin Mitchell set up a 4-yard scoring pass from Reed to Joe Carmical with 9:41 left. Robertson’s 4-yard run capped the Lions’ final drive.
The Lions opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. They added a 53-yard scoring pass from Bennett to Jeremy Meyers and got another big play after a 69-yard scamper by Bennett that set up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Fruge. The Bears drove 66 yards to a 31-yard pass from Howard to Damien Watts and 77 yards to a 10-yard TD pass from Howard to Desmond Smith.
UCA plays at Nicholls State this weekend.