PINE BLUFF -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions Coach Doc Gamble said he has seen enough of the North American University Stallions to recognize at least a handful of talented players.
UAPB (1-0) will host North American (0-2) at Simmons Bank Field today. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
UAPB, a member of the NCAA Division I FCS's Southwestern Athletic Conference, has played football since 1916. North American has been a four-year university, located in the Houston suburb of Stafford, Texas, since 2007. It is in its third season of football and plays as an NAIA independent.
The Golden Lions opened their season with a 48-42 victory over Lane College in Pine Bluff last Saturday. North American has started with a 54-13 loss at Southeastern Florida in Lakeland, Fla., on Aug. 27 and a 60-0 loss at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Sept. 3.
Gamble said it was clear to him from game films that North American has improved from last season despite its blowout losses.
"It looks like they're doing things differently," he said. "They're a growing program, but you can see a difference from a year ago when they played Texas Southern until now. That's for sure."
Texas Southern, also of the SWAC, defeated North American 69-0 last season.
UAPB sophomore running back Kayvon Britten carried 31 times for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns against Lane. His rushing yards were second-most all-time in a game for UAPB.
Senior quarterback Skyler Perry completed 16 of 27 passes for 222 yards and 1 touchdown. Junior receiver Raequan Prince caught 5 passes for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Through North American's two games, sophomore quarterback Randal Moore has completed 31 of 73 passes for 285 yards, 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions. Sophomore running back Derrodrick Hadnot has rushed 31 times for 125 yards and 1 touchdown. Junior running back Kierre Cazenave was limited to 3 rushing yards in North American's opener but carried 12 times for 44 yards at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
"We're a young group," North American Coach Kenneth Apande said. "Randal's a young guy trying to get his legs. He's doing a good job for us. Hadnot was a linebacker for us last year. He and Kierre have done a good job at halfback."
Despite UAPB's apparently undermanned opposition, Gamble said his players must recognize its potential.
"We were NAIA once, and those guys could go beat anyone," Gamble said. "The only difference between [lower divisions] and the FCS is that they have fewer scholarships, and that's what you see with North American. Last year they looked one way, and this year they look totally different."