CONWAY -- Senior running back Ra'Quanne Dickens carried 35 times for 213 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Incarnate Word to a 40-27 victory over the University of Central Arkansas at Estes Stadium on Saturday.
"We knew we had to come out swinging," Dickens said.
"He was really good," UCA Coach Nathan Brown said. "I thought he did a great job setting up his blocks."
With its victory, Incarnate Word (6-4, 6-2 Southland Conference) assured itself at least a tie for the league championship. UCA (5-5, 4-4) was eliminated from a chance to win a second consecutive Southland title.
The game had its share of momentum changes.
UCA took control from the start. The Bears scored on their second possession on a 32-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman Luke Hales to senior running back back Cedric Battle.
Incarnate Word started its next drive with a 60-yard pass from freshman quarterback Jon Copeland to senior receiver Phillip Baptiste that helped set up freshman Rhett Marshall's 29 field goal midway through the first quarter.
UCA's lead was 14-3 after another 32-yard touchdown pass from Hales to Battle with 13:42 left in the second quarter.
"They have a great football program here, great tradition," Incarnate Word Coach Eric Morris said. "Any time you come here, it's a little bit intimidating, but our kids have fought together all year. They've been very resilient."
Incarnate Word faced fourth and 17 at the UCA 33 on its following possession and got the first down and more on a 31-yard screen pass from Copeland to freshman back Ameer King. One play later, an illegal block backed the Cardinals to the UCA 16, but Copeland's scoring pass to senior receiver Lamont Johnson put Incarnate Word within 14-10 with 9:45 left in the second quarter.
UCA's next three possessions ended with an interception by Incarnate Word senior linebacker Darrius Moore and two punts after a pair of three and outs.
The Cardinals' final first-half possession started at their 20 with 1:37 left and reserve junior quarterback Sean Brophy on the field to replace Copeland, who was injured on Incarnate Word's previous drive.
Brophy completed his first five passes, the final one leaving the Cardinals at the UCA 26. After an incompletion, Brophy threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Baptiste to give Incarnate Word a 17-14 halftime lead.
"That last touchdown of the first half really gave them momentum," Brown said. "That hurt us, but we didn't come out in the second half and play very well."
The Cardinals' momentum carried into the second half. They took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards on 7 plays, the final a 15-yard touchdown run by Dickens that gave them a 24-14 advantage.
Incarnate Word capped its next possession with another Dickens touchdown run (2 yards) to take a 30-14 lead with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
"When our quarterback went down, we knew we were going to have to rely on our running game," Morris said.
Poised to take command, Incarnate Word faced fourth and 3 at the UCA 36 on its third drive of the half, but the Bears held Dickens to a 1-yard run to take over.
Hales' 30-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Dwayne Smith put UCA within 30-21 with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
UCA junior defensive back Duke Upshaw stopped Incarnate Word's next drive when he recovered a fumble by senior receiver Koby Edwards, but a series of penalties left the Bears with a fourth and 29 at their 22. A low snap was dropped by junior punter Taylor Wallace, who downed the ball to give Incarnate Word possession at the UCA 7.
Dickens then scored on a 5-yard run to give the Cardinals a 37-21 lead with 11:14 left in the fourth quarter.
Junior running back Carlos Blackman scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to get UCA within 37-27 with 8:57 left, but would be the Bears' final score.
"It was a tough game," Blackman said. "There were some things we didn't do right, but I don't know a running back who has run on us like [Dickens] did, ever. I tip my hat to him."
SOUTHERN 56, UAPB 24
The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored in every quarter Saturday against Southern at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, but it wasn't enough as the Golden Lions (1-9, 0-5 Southwestern Athletic Conference) fell in their penultimate game of 2018.
Led by former Pine Bluff High standout Ladarius Skelton's four passing touchdowns and 283 yards through the air, the Jaguars (6-3, 5-1) maintained their lead in the SWAC's Western Division by rolling up 589 yards of total offense on the Golden Lions, who finished with 278 yards.
The Jaguars turned a 14-6 lead into a 28-6 advantage behind Skelton's second and third touchdown passes of the first half, the third coming with 14:41 left in the second quarter.
Skelton's final touchdown pass with 3:29 left in the second gave Southern a 42-9 halftime advantage.
UAPB's two second-half scores came on Jaimon Peterson's 4-yard run in the third quarter and Tryvarious Cole's 3-yard rush with 4:53 left in the game to set the final margin.
UAPB's other two scores came on Skyler Perry's 8-yard touchdown pass to Dejuan Miller in the first quarter, and Jamie Gillan's 28-yard field goal early in the second.
Peterson led all rushers with 82 yards on 21 carries. Cole added 61 yards on the ground for the Golden Lions, who finish the regular season at Texas Southern in Houston on Saturday.
Sports on 11/11/2018
Print Headline: UCA has Dickens of a time with RB