CONWAY -- Sam Houston State's Southland Conference-leading defense was on display from the start, but the University of Central Arkansas' penchant for fourth-quarter comebacks tipped the balance in the Bears' favor Saturday night in their 29-25 victory at Estes Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith's 28-yard touchdown screen pass to senior Carlos Blackman and two-point conversion pass from Smith to Blackman tied the score at 22-22 with 8:36 left in the game.
Sam Houston State took a 25-22 lead with junior Hunter Pinegar's 43-yard field goal on its next possession.
On UCA's next possession, Smith's 32-yard pass to freshman receiver Tyler Hudson put the Bears at the Sam Houston State 15. On the next play, Smith found Hudson on the goal line to give UCA a 29-25 lead with 3:57 remaining.
The Bearkats fumbled away their final possession at the UCA 18 with 21 seconds left.
Sam Houston State held UCA to 1 yard rushing in the first half and 151 yards of total offense.
UCA's first possession started at its 9. A 31-yard run by Blackman on the first play was reversed by an offensive holding call. UCA was stopped on fourth down at the 1, and senior Taylor Wallace punted from the back of the end zone, as Sam Houston State took over after a 15-yard return at UCA's 25.
Sophomore running back Donovan Williams' 10-yard touchdown run completed a five-play drive that gave the Bearkats a 7-0 lead with 8:35 left in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, UCA began its fourth possession at its 3. On second and 17 from the UCA 15, Smith, while under pressure at the 1, fumbled into the end zone. Senior offensive tackle Hunter Watts recovered the ball, giving Sam Houston State a safety and a 9-0 lead with 6:32 left before halftime.
After an exchange of punts, the final by Wallace downed at the Sam Houston State 1, 2:17 remained in the second quarter.
The Bearkats drove 99 yards in 9 plays in 2:08. A 10-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ty Brock to junior receiver Brennon Tibbs gave Sam Houston State a 16-0 halftime lead.
UCA's only significant first-half scoring opportunity came early in the second quarter when it was set at first and goal from the 9, but Smith was intercepted in the end zone by junior defensive back Jaylen Thomas.
Another opportunity came early in the second half, and this time the Bears took full advantage.
A 32-yard pass from Smith to Hampton put UCA at the Sam Houston State 40. Two plays later, a 40-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Hampton cut the Bearkats' lead to 16-7.
Sam Houston State led 22-7 after Williams' 1-yard touchdown run with 6:00 left in the third quarter.
On UCA's next possession, passes of 12 and 14 yards from Smith to Hudson put UCA at its 47. On first down, Hampton broke open deep and Smith hit him inside the 5 for a 53-yard touchdown pass that put UCA within 22-14.
Sports on 10/27/2019
Print Headline: UCA finishes off comeback victory