Featured photo: Junior Darrien Daniels attempts to break through Northwestern State University’s defense at the Bears’ game against the Demons Sept. 17 at Estes Stadium. Daniels went on to score a touchdown. (Monica Sanders)
On Saturday, Sept. 17 the University of Central Arkansas football team won against Northwestern State University at Estes Stadium at UCA, with a score of 24-10.
The Bears came into this game (1-0) in conference and (1-1) overall, after losing to Samford 35-29.
“Explosive plays and turnovers are the difference in ball games, if you don’t turn the football over you have a big chance of winning the game. Last week that’s what hurt us, so we made a big emphasis on protecting the football,” UCA coach Steve Campbell said.
According to a tweet from UCA Sports, Central Arkansas had the number one run stop defense in the country before the game with 2.2 yards per game, ranking over top college football teams like Alabama, Miami and Houston.
Central Arkansas came out playing hard-nose football, they ran the ball out of the I-formation, pro-style and even shotgun. In the first quarter they ran 17 times with four different running backs for 73 yards while throwing five times for 14 yards.
“[The backfield] can do some special things it just a matter of who gets the hot hand,” Campbell said.
Both teams were scoreless by the end of the first quarter, but by the start of the second junior quarterback Hayden Hildebrand threw a 49-yard pass to senior receiver Jatavious Wilson for a touchdown.
“I was really keying in on the ball, I just wanted to make a play because we were lacking plays throughout the game. We had a problem finishing and I just felt like if the ball was in the air I could catch it and finish to put my team in a good situation,” Wilson said.
Senior receiver Desmond Smith caught the next touchdown with the clock at 5:52. By the end of the first half, Antwon Wells seemed to be the go-to running back, averaging 7.2-yards a carry.
“I knew Antwon was due for a break out. He is too good of a football player, I had him for two years of [junior college]and he works hard,” Campbell said.
On the next touchdown, Hildebrand showed off his running ability, scrambling for a 12-yard touchdown. At the end of the third quarter the Bears were up 24-7.
In the fourth quarter, Northwestern had a chance to come back, down 24-10 with 09:50 left but couldn’t capitalize.
Wells finished the game with 25 rushes for 129 yards and overall the Bears rushed 62 times for 227 yards.
“I have been waiting on this moment for a long time, so it felt really good to get that amount of carries but there is always room for improvement,” Wells said. “I don’t come in expecting that many carries but I guess they wanted to roll with me this game, so I took advantage of it.”
Defensively, the Bears held the Demons to 180 rushing yards and 135 passing yards. The next Bears football game is in Jonesboro, Arkansas against Arkansas State on Sept. 24. The game will be on ESPN 3.