Leading 23-16 late midway in the third quarter, an errant trick play turned into a fumble and paved the way for the University of Central Arkansas Bears to defeat the Arkansas State Red Wolves 28-23 Saturday night.
The Red Wolves were driving and seemed on their way to a two-score lead and taking control of the struggle with the Bears when Sterling Stowers attempted pitch to Dijon Paschal was fumbled and the Bears recovered at midfield.
That led to a short scoring drive, a short TD run on fourth down from the 3, that made it a 23-22 game, after a missed extra point, with 13:12 left.
The Red Wolves answered and drove to the UCA 12 where Silky White fumbled and the Bears recovered. UCA turned that into a 86-yard drive that ended with former Red Wolves’ Brandon Cox catching a TD pass with 6:56 to give the Bears a 28-23 lead.
A-State had two more possession, one that ended when an underthrown pass was intercepted at the UCA 9. A last possession in the final 38 seconds, reached the A-State 35 but died with an incomplete pass in the end zone on the game’s final play.
So the Red Wolves outgained the Bears 469 to 382 but had four crucial turnovers and gave up punt return TD in losing to an FCS school for the first time since 2001.
The running game. A-State had 45 yards on 34 carries.
Turnovers: The Red Wolves had 4 and UCA zero.
Time of possession: UCA had the ball 10 minutes more than the Red Wolves and ran 11 more plays.
Red Zone chances: The Bears were 4 of 4 while A-State was 2 of 3.
The bottom line: The Red Wolves are 0-4 with one of their most embarrassing losses in recent years. Conference play is up next and team confidence is low.
What was said
Anderson: We had execution issues across the board and that we have got to fix. The growing pains on offense continue.
Steve Campbell: Games like this are going to be tough and you just have to keep battling and persevering. You know, bad things happen you just keep battling and battling. And they did, and I’m so proud of them. And I’ve been proud of them before when we’ve come up short. But this time we didn’t come up short.”
Numbers: Justice Hansen was 21 of 38 for 424 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. Blake Mack caught 8 passes for 142 yards. Cameron Echols-Luper caught 3 for 121 yards and 1 touchdowns.
Up next: Arkansas State plays host to Georgia Southern on Oct. 5.