Despite a defeat, University of Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell told Bearbackers that he saw what he wanted in giving Texas Tech a scare Saturday in Lubbock.
“From the first snap through the last, we saw great effort,” he said. “They were running out the clock (in a 42-35 victory) and we had guys fighting and trying tp pull the ball loose. We had some great individual efforts that led to a great team effort.”
The effort was most exemplified by a intercepted pass by backup noseguard Dawson Hadnot in the end zone. “He went back and the ball was tipped and he dove and made a great individual play,” Campbell said.
The Bears rushed for 178 yards. They rushed for an average of 93 against the last five Football Subdivision teams theay have played. It was the most points Texas Tech has given up in 35 games against FCS opposition.
“But there are a lot of things we have to work on to get to where we want to be,” said Campbell, whose Bears open at home Saturday against UT Martin. “We’ve got to make a lot of progress this week.”
Campbell said there were no major injuries.
The Bears were six of six on fourth down.
“That’s a confidence-builder when you have fourth and two or less and are able to get it against people that some say are bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “Being able to get the first down on those plays kept us in the ballgame. With their high-powered offense, we knew we needed to steal some series from them. That’s why we tried an onside kick early.”
He said there was no set quarterback rotation. Taylor Reed played all except one series. Ryan Howard engineered a nine-play, 87-yard touchdown drive late that pulled the Bears within 42-35.
“Taylor is biggerest and a stronger runner and we thought he could make more plays with his feet,” Campbell said. “Taylor had us moving and we didn’t want to mess that up. But then Ryan came in and led us on a touchdown drive and made some athletic plays doing it. The coaches have already discussed a rotation strategy. Ryan does too many things well and is too good of a leader not to be in there.”
Campbell said Jace Denker will handle all the place-kicking duties for now. “Eddie Carmona has had some injury issues,” Campbell said. “Until that changes and Eddie can get back on the field and show us what he can do, Jace will handle things.”