The University of Central Arkansas got all it wanted from winless Northwestern (La.) State before escaping with a 31-30 victory Saturday night at Turpin Stadium in Natchitoches, La.
UCA (5-2, 3-1) defensive back Trai Mosley knocked away a two-point conversion pass attempt with 1:30 remaining to preserve the victory. The Demons (0-7, 0-4) recovered the ensuing onside-kick attempt, but because the ball only went 8 yards the Bears were awarded possession and ran out the remaining 1:29.
The Bears trailed by 14 points twice in the first half. They fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter before Carlos Blackman rushed for a 14-yard touchdown with 4:49 left in the quarter to trim the deficit to 14-7.
After Northwestern State's Shelton Eppler found Jared West for a 12-yard score to begin the second quarter, UCA quarterback Breylin Smith connected with Josh Nix for a 2-yard touchdown as the Bears trimmed their deficit to 21-14 with 7:32 left before halftime.
The teams then traded field goals, with Ryan Gremillion connecting from 22 yards to give the Demons a 24-14 halftime advantage, and UCA's Hayden Ray was good from 28 yards with 11:21 left in the third quarter.
UCA's Robert Rochell recovered an onside kick at the Demons' 43 after Ray's field goal. Blackman ran for 13 yards to the 30 before Smith found Lujuan Washington for a 25-yard completion on the ensuing play. After a pair of completions, Smith tossed 5 yards to Blackman, as the Bears tied the score 24-24 with 10:24 left in the third quarter.
Taylor Wallace's punt was downed at the Northwestern State 2 as the Bears had the Demons backed up. After two short runs and an incompletion, UCA held on a critical three and out, resulting in a 54-yard punt that the Bears' Tyler Hudson returned 26 yards to the Demons' 33.
Smith and Cameron Myers led the Bears from there. Myers ran twice for 13 yards, then after an incompletion, Smith found Winningham for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 31-24 with 13:20 left in the fourth quarter.
After a short punt, Northwestern State found itself at the UCA 42 later in the quarter. The Demons picked up a pair of first downs on Eppler passes, but the drive stalled on the Bears' 17. Gremillion then missed a 34-yard field goal attempt wide left as the Bears took over at their 20 with 8:13 remaining.
UCA couldn't take advantage of the possession, as Blackman fumbled three plays into the drive. William Hooper recovered for Northwestern State at the UCA 36.
The Demons went 3 yards in three plays, then decided to go for it on fourth and 7 when UCA's JW Jones sacked Eppler, giving the Bears possession at their 37 with 5:48 left. A three and out led to another Wallace punt, this one downed at the Northwestern State 30.
Eppler's 11-yard completion to David Fitzwater on third and 10 took the ball to the UCA 29. Moments later, Eppler kept the drive going, finding Akile Davis for 4 yards on fourth and 3 to the 18 with 1:37 remaining. A targeting penalty and subsequent ejection of UCA's A'Javius Brown gave the Demons first and goal at the 9 before Eppler's TD pass to Davis set up the failed two-point conversion attempt.
Cent. Arkansas 7 7 10 7 -- 31
Northwestern St. 14 10 0 6 -- 30
NWST--West 2 run (Gremillion kick), 10:07.
NWST--Landry 54 pass from Eppler (Gremillion kick), 8:26.
UCA--Blackman 14 run (Ray kick), 4:59.
NWST--West 12 pass from Eppler (Gremillion kick), 12:10.
UCA--Nix 2 pass from Smith (Ray kick), 7:32.
NWST--FG Gremillion 22, 1:22.
UCA--FG Ray 28, 11:21.
UCA--Blackman 5 pass from Smith (Ray kick), 10:24.
UCA--Winningham 25 pass from Smith (Ray kick), 13:20.
NWST--Davis 9 pass from Eppler (pass failed ), 1:30.
First downs 23 22
Rushes-yards 29-89 31-96
Passing 299 310
Comp-Att-Int 30-43-2 26-49-2
Return Yards 124 80
Punts-Avg. 5-32.4 4-49.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalty-Yards 7-74 6-59
Time of Possession 30:42 29:18
RUSHING--Cent. Arkansas, C. Blackman 11-44, C. Myers 3-14, B. Smith 5-13, D. Fernandez 3-12, K. Crossley 5-8, C. Richmond 1-0. Northwestern St., J. West 13-56, S. Anderson 7-30, B. Franklin 4-12, S. Eppler 7-(minus 2).
PASSING--Cent. Arkansas, B. Smith 30-43-2-299. Northwestern St., S. Eppler 26-49-2-310.
RECEIVING--Cent. Arkansas, L. Winningham 9-168, J. Barnes 5-27, C. Richmond 1-27, K. Crossley 3-23, C. Blackman 6-18, J. Nix 3-13, T. Hudson 1-13, D. Blakey 1-6, M. Perkinson 1-4. Northwestern St., Q. Shorts 11-106, A. Davis 8-83, G. Landry 1-54, D. Fitzwater 2-34, J. West 1-12, T. Ash 1-11, S. Anderson 1-5, B. Franklin 1-5.
Sports on 10/20/2019
Print Headline: Bears knock down final Demons' chance at win