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CONWAY -- The second road trip to start the University of Central Arkansas' season puts the Bears in Clarksville, Tenn., today for a game with Austin Peay.

Kickoff at Fortera Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m. Central.

UCA began its season with a 35-28 victory at Western Kentucky on Aug. 29, its third win over an NCAA Division I FBS team since it began FCS play in 2006. UCA's first came at Western Kentucky in 2009. Its second was a victory at Arkansas State in 2016.

Austin Peay, a member of the FCS Ohio Valley Conference, began its season with a 41-10 home victory over North Carolina Central, also on Aug. 29.

Deep in experienced skill-position players, the Governors had 563 yards of total offense against North Carolina Central, led by junior quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall, the preseason Ohio Valley Offensive Player of the Year. Oatsvall passed for 232 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles.

Mark Hudspeth is in his first season as Austin Peay's head football coach. A former UCA assistant in 1998, Hudspeth was tight ends coach at Mississippi State last season after seven seasons as the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.

"It's going to be a meaningful task for us," UCA Coach Nathan Brown said.

Austin Peay senior running back Kentel Williams rushed for 139 yards on 12 carries against North Carolina Central, while junior receiver DeAngelo Wilson caught 6 passes for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"They have some really good athletes," Brown said. "We recruited against them a lot, so we know what kind of kids they're recruiting."

Austin Peay's defense held North Carolina Central to 192 yards.

"They're a well-coached team," UCA sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith. "They have a lot of guys who can make plays, but the main thing is us focusing on us. If we do that, we're going to be fine."

New targets

When UCA took the field for its season opener at Western Kentucky, its leading returning receiver was sophomore Lujuan Winningham.

Winningham caught 12 passes for 158 yards and 1 touchdown in 10 games as a freshman. Against Western Kentucky, Winningham had 8 receptions for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns to help lead UCA to a 35-28 victory and was named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Days before the game, UCA Coach Nathan Brown said he believed Winningham would be a significant receiver for sophomore quarterback Breylin Smith this season, but he said his hope was surpassed at Western Kentucky.

"I knew how good he was, but I didn't see him being named conference player of the week," Brown said.

Smith said he didn't see it coming, either.

"I didn't think he'd go for that many yards, but I told him that if he played the way he can, he'd have 8 to 10 catches easily," Smith said. "That kid, he's really good. He's got a lot of talent, and there's a lot left in his tank."

Freshman Tyler Hudson also impressed. He had four catches for 59 yards. His lone touchdown reception pulled Central Arkansas within 21-14 in the final minute of the first half.

"That was a big moment for us," Brown said. "I thought, 'We have a shot to win this now.' "

Smith's return

UCA quarterback Breylin Smith hadn't played since the fourth game of the 2018 season. He had passed for a total of 1,008 yards when his right ankle was broken late in a 34-31 overtime loss at Sam Houston State.

Smith returned to start UCA's 35-28 season-opening victory at Western Kentucky. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 324 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"It was a really big team win for us, you know all aspects, offense, defense, special teams," Smith said.

Smith and UCA started slowly, trailing 14-0 after two possessions for each team.

"I don't think there's any doubt there were some nerves early," UCA Coach Nathan Brown said. "It probably took him a hit or two to get his wits about him, but Breylin showed such great poise. He understands what we're trying to. You want to see a guy get better through the game, and that's what Breylin did."

"I was pretty excited to be back," Smith said. "I was really ready to go."

Sports on 09/07/2019

Print Headline: Governors coming off big victory


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