PINE BLUFF -- The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff put its homecoming demons to rest Saturday afternoon, but it was far from easy.
The Golden Lions shook off a sluggish beginning and withstood a stern test from Division II Lane College to come away with a 45-38 victory in front of a crowd of more than 13,000 at Simmons Bank Field.
"That was a good football team over on that other sideline," UAPB Coach Cedric Thomas said. "Lane didn't back down, and they took it to us. Last year, we would've found a way to make excuses as to why we couldn't get it done.
"But at the end of the day, we won. This was one of those games where we had to fight and fight to pull it out because [Lane] wasn't about to give it to us."
Not only did the victory eliminate any sour taste from the Golden Lions' 24-point loss to Southern last week but it also was the first time UAPB won its homecoming game since 2012 when it shut out Mississippi Valley State 10-0.
Quarterback Shannon Patrick got his first start of the season and bounced back from an uneven performance a week ago with a productive outing for the Golden Lions (4-2). The junior, who threw three interceptions against the Jaguars last week, was 17-of-25 passing for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did throw a pair of picks, but he also notched the first rushing touchdown of his career, an 8-yarder.
Taeyler Porter ran 21 times for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 98-yarder with 4:23 left in the game that broke a 38-38. Thomas said Porter's run was exactly what the Golden Lions were looking for at that moment.
"When you've got a home-run hitter like Taeyler, it's all fine and dandy," Thomas said. "But some kids can't do that, and that ball is on the 20. You've got to line up and still go 80 yards.
"Having a big-time running back that can hit that zone play is big, and that touchdown couldn't have come at a better time."
Michael Huntley ended 22-of-35 passing for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns for Lane (2-3), which played without starting quarterback Tarik McKenzie. Anthony Evelyn had 8 receptions for 137 yards with 2 touchdowns and scored on a 70-yard punt return.
Lane trailed 24-6 at halftime but scored 25 points in the third quarter. The Dragons tied the game at 31-31 after a 22-yard field goal from Christian Reyes with 1:13 showing in the quarter, and knotted it again at 38-38 late in the fourth after a 14-yard touchdown catch to Evelyn before Porter's touchdown run put the hosts back on top.
"Everything was on the offensive line," Porter said of his game-winning run. "It wasn't even about me, it was about them. The receivers were blocking down field, and I just had to make a play."
Things were rocky for the Golden Lions at the start. A 48-yard opening kickoff return from Tyrin Ralph put UAPB at midfield, but two plays later Patrick was hit from his blind side by linebacker Jeffrey Johnson and fumbled. Johnson recovered, and Lane moved 27 yards in six plays to set up a 43-yard field goal from Reyes to take a 3-0 lead.
The Golden Lions got into gear on their third possession. Patrick, who completed a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Dejuan Miller earlier in the drive, scored to complete a five-play, 57-yard drive and put UAPB ahead 7-3. The Golden Lions added to their lead on Porter's 2-yard touchdown run that was set up when UAPB's Isaac Peppers pounced on a fumble by Lane punt returner Ahmad Isaac inside the Dragons' 20.
Patrick tossed a 49-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Wilkes, and a 28-yard field gave the Golden Lions their 18-point lead at the break.
Huntley's 2-yard scoring toss to Darren Clarke and Evelyn's 70-yard punt return touchdown got Lane within 24-21 midway through the third quarter. The Dragons had a chance to move ahead after forcing the Golden Lions to punt with just under six minutes left in the quarter, but Evelyn fumbled. UAPB's Paul Reeves recovered and two plays later, Patrick threw a 3-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Harry Ballard to give UAPB a 31-21 lead.
Lane 3 3 25 7 -- 38
UAPB 7 17 7 14 -- 45
LANE--FG Reyes 43, 11:21
UAPB--Patrick 8 run (Piwniczka kick), 1:02
UAPB--Porter 2 run (Piwniczka kick), 11:08
UAPB--Wilkes 49 pass from Patrick (Piwniczka kick), 6:13)
LANE--FG Reyes 32, 2:29
UAPB--FG Piwniczka 28, :25
LANE--Clarke 2 pass from Huntley (Isaac pass), 9:58
LANE--Evelyn 70 punt return (Reyes kick), 7:56
UAPB--Ballard 3 pass from Patrick (Piwniczka kick), 5:47
LANE--Evelyn 22 pass from Huntley (Reyes kick), 4:04
LANE--FG Reyes 22, 1:13
UAPB--Perry 9 run (Piwniczka kick), 12:48
LANE--Evelyn 14 pass from Huntley (Reyes kick), 8:17
UAPB--Porter 98 run (Piwniczka kick), 4:23
First downs 20 21
Rushes-yards 36-134 36-211
Passing 238 321
Comp-Att-Int 22-35-1 21-32-3
Return Yards 273 130
Punts-Avg. 5-34.0 4-46.2
Fumbles-Lost 5-3 1-1
Penalties-Yards 11-102 10-92
Time of Possession 33:05 26:55
RUSHING--Lane, Davis 19-95, Huntley 9-28, Truillo 5-20, Whitaker 2-(minus-1), Evelyn 1-(minus-8). UAPB, Porter 21-182, Ballard 1-12, Perry 2-8, Allen 5-7, Patrick 7-2.
PASSING--Lane, Huntley 22-35-1-238. UAPB, Patrick 17-25-2-268, Perry 4-7-1-53.
RECEIVING--Lane, Evelyn 8-137, Richardson 4-52, Wilson 2-19, Bunton 2-19, Isaac 1-13, Clarke 3-7, Davis 2-(minus-9). UAPB, Miller 3-101, Wilkes 5-73, Ballard 6-50, Porter 2-36, Ralph 4-31, Brown 1-30.
Sports on 10/06/2019
Print Headline: Golden Lions snap six-game homecoming losing streak