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All of the first quarter and for most of the second, Austin Peay dominated the University of Central Arkansas in Montgomery, Ala.

The Governors seemed bigger, faster and more talented on Saturday night.

In the final judgment, all of those observations favored the Bears.

When the Bears fell behind 10-0, it was like a bell sounded and they came out swinging.

The slow start may have had something to do with getting stunned on the first play of the game from scrimmage when C.J. Evans ran 75 yards for a touchdown.

The Governors got an interception late in the first quarter and drove 42 yards for a field goal and 10-0 lead.

By then, the announcers -- who social distanced themselves by hundreds of miles while broadcasting from Bristol, Conn. -- couldn't find enough good things to say about Governors quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall.

It was a theme continued throughout, even though UCA quarterback Breylin Smith clearly outplayed him.

For the sake of transparency, I was for the Bears.

Not so much because I went there for a year and spent much of the time studying social events, which has nothing to do with going to class.

I even wasted a third semester at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock before winning the military lottery and volunteering for the Air Force.

After three years, seven months, 17 days, two hours and 20 minutes, I was honorably discharged and enrolled at UALR and started working part-time at the then Arkansas Democrat.

As a sportswriter, you have to put your cheerleading gear away. But for me, you never quit pulling for Arkansas teams.

It also was a monumental game in the world of perspiring arts.

For a couple of months last summer, it appeared there would be no college football. Then a few major conferences rescheduled everything.

The Southland Conference, of which UCA is a member, folded the fall tent but gave its teams permission to play if they could find opponents.

UCA Athletic Director Brad Teague went to work.

He's managed to put together a nine-game schedule, but the biggest move came when Conway Regional Hospital agreed to test UCA, Hendrix and Central Baptist College students and athletes for covid-19 for free.

That's a city and community coming together at a time of need.

The game with Austin Peay was a rematch for the Bears, who won on the road last year when Smith passed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to Lujuan Winningham. The last was an 18-yarder with 1:46 to play.

On Saturday, the pair stepped up even bigger.

The Governors drove 60 yards for a touchdown and 17-16 lead with just 1:40 to play.

Smith drove the Bears 78 yards in just six plays, including a 10-yard touchdown to Winningham with 34 seconds to go.

It was a game watched from coast to coast because it kicked off a much-wanted season.

National sportswriters such as Pat Forde, Dennis Dodd, Tony Barnhart and others tweeted about the game.

While it seemed the announcers were a bit overly intrigued by the Governors, the national media seemed entertained by a game they probably wouldn't have watched if it weren't the only game of the day. People who never had heard of Conway got a great view and perspective of UCA football.

And the football world watched as UCA received no positive test results from Sunday's testing. Another round will be conducted today.

UCA got to bask in the national limelight for a few hours, then immediately turned its full attention back to football. They will visit Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday night in the first FBS football game of the year.


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