By Kent Schmidt
CSN West Columnist
College Sporting News
Both teams were participating in their first Division I playoff game. Central Arkansas received an at-large bid in finishing second in the Southland Conference, while Tennessee Tech obtained the Ohio Valley Conference’s automatic bid to the postseason.
Dick finished 23 of 39 for 319 yards, and threw scoring passes to Jesse Grandy and Thomas Hart – both in the second half. Dick also had a 1-yard scoring run to help the Bears build a 17-7 lead with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
Both defenses were strong early before Central Arkansas scored first with a seven-play, 77-yard scoring drive that they capped off with a one-yard Terence Bobo touchdown run with 2:16 left in the first-quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, UCA took advantage of a muffed kick return by Cody Forbes and recovering the fumble at the TTU 25-yard line. The drive stalled but they got a 25-yard field goal from kicker Eddie Camara at the beginning of the second quarter to take a 10-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles were able to answer with a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a diving touchdown catch by Cody Matthews on an 11-yard throw from quarterback Tre Lamb, cutting the lead to 10-7 with 8:40 left in the half.
Camara added his second field goal to open the second half scoring with a 35-yard attempt with 7:37 left in the frame after the UCA defense held TTU to start the quarter.
The UCA defense held TTU on their next possession and scoring almost instantly on a 42-yard touchdown strike from Dick to Grandy to take an imposing 27-7 lead at the 4:50 mark of the third quarter.
The Golden Eagles would score just once more in the game, capping a 15-play, 94-yard drive with a six-yard pass from Lamb to Charlie Stevens with 13:13 left in the fourth quarter.
Central Arkansas sealed the game, however, with an 87-yard drive of their own that resulted in a 30-yard scoring strike from Dick to Hart at the 9:49 mark of the final frame.
Central Arkansas finished with 439 total yards, while the Golden Eagles tallied 349.
Lamb led Tennessee Tech with 291 passing yards and two touchdowns on 30 of 44 passing. Tim Benford had 94 receiving yards on seven catches.
Central Arkansas running back Jackie Hinton carried 19 times for 87 yards, and receiver Derrick Steele had a leading 94 receiving yards accumulated on six receptions. Isaiah Jackson added three catches for 75 yards.
The Bears (9-3) will travel to second-round opponent #4 seeded Montana next Saturday. Tennessee Tech finished their season at 7-4.