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UCA Bears Open Season in Conway – History is Made on the Stripes
08-29-2013 09:56 AM
Hoping to keep the home winning streak intact - UCA Bears Open Football Season 2013 tonight in Conway
The UCA Bears open the 2013 football season tonight in Conway against the University of the Incarnate Word. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. One interesting note about tonight’s game is former Texas Longhorn super star running back, Ricky Williams, will be on the sideline for the game as a new running backs coach for the Incarnate Word squad from San Antonio.
In the Sporting Life Arkansas Football Preview, Donna Lampkin Stephens previewed the UCA Bears. Here is an excerpt of what she wrote.
Although Central Arkansas returns 18 starters from a team that finished 9-3 last year, won the Southland Conference championship and reached the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the Bears have enough question marks to keep head coach Clint Conque on edge.
“Overall, we have a talented group; our front line guys are very experienced, and at certain positions we have a great deal of depth,” said Conque, who has compiled a 98-54 record in 13 seasons at UCA. “At other positions we’ll have to manufacture some depth.
“Certainly, like any coach with what you feel like is a contending football team, you’ve got to stay healthy. A 12-game schedule is very demanding. We’re on the road quite a bit at the beginning of the year, and certainly the Southland Conference is as balanced and demanding as it’s been since we joined the league. The good news is we’ve got some of the upper-tier teams coming to Conway. Once we get to conference, we like the way the schedule sets up.”
UCA opens the season at home Aug. 29 against Incarnate Word. The rest of the nonconference schedule is on the road (at Colorado of the Pac-12 Conference and FCS-level programs Tennessee-Martin and Missouri State).
Wynrick Smothers (6-foot-1, 208 pounds), a senior quarterback from Destrehan, La., returns as the face of the program. As a first-year starter last year, Smothers was named SLC Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 3,103 yards and 31 touchdowns (tying a school record), completing 64.9 percent of his passes and earning another 449 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
Conque said Smothers surpassed expectations last year in replacing 2011 starter Nathan Dick.
• The Bears begin the 2013 season ranked as high as No. 6 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision preseason polls after finishing 2012 as high as eighth. They have finished in the Top 25 four times during seven years as a member of the FCS.
• Since joining the Southland Conference in 2006, UCA has compiled a 31-13 record (.705) against league foes.
• The Bears’ offense has averaged 3,139 passing yards and 25 touchdowns per season since joining the SLC, with a 3,000-yard passer in four of the last six seasons and three different quarterbacks throwing for 30 or more TDs per season over the last five years.
• Five UCA players are on the preseason College Performance Awards Watch Lists: Jonathan Woodard (Defensive End list), Wynrick Smothers (Quarterback), placekicker Eddie Camara (Special Teams), safety Jestin Love (Defensive Back) and Chase Dixon (Tight Ends).
• Sophomore DE Jonathan Woodard, a Freshman All-American in 2012 and the SLC Freshman of the Year, is a Sporting News Preseason All-American for 2013.
• At press time, the Bears were scheduled to play on television five times: at home against McNeese State (Oct. 5), Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 26) and Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 9) and at Lamar (Oct. 19) and Northwestern State (Nov. 2). However, Conque said another couple of games were possibilities for TV. “We could have seven, maybe eight opportunities to brand our program,” he said.
Now, to help you get game ready, the UCA Department of Athletics released an eight-part series of videos called “History is Made on the Stripes.” Let’s get ready to kick off the 2013 football season in Arkansas with the UCA Bears.
The Bears enter the season ranked No. 6 in the nation and have high hopes of remaining undefeated on The Stripes, the purple-and-gray home turf where they are undefeated through their first two seasons, earning their second straight Southland Conference championship and going to the Division I FCS Playoffs for the third straight season. After making the 2nd round in both 2011 and 2012, the 2013 Bears expect to advance further as they strive to make history.
The series features senior LB Justin Heard, junior OL CJ Simon, junior WR Dezmin Lewis, senior TE Chase Dixon, junior OL Cole Caruthers, junior DL TJ Randall, sophomore DE Jonathan Woodard and senior QB Wynrick Smothers & senior DB Jestin Love.
By Sporting Life Arkansas