The fourth-ranked UCA football team (7-1, 6-0 SLC) remains undefeated in conference play after beating 18th-ranked McNeese State University (6-2, 4-2) 47-17 in front of a homecoming crowd Oct. 28 at Estes Stadium.
The Bears were able to keep the Red Beans and Rice trophy in Central Arkansas with the win over their rival.
“It feels great to have this thing at home,” junior wide receiver Lester Wells said.
The Bears’ offense was efficient behind the performance of senior quarterback Hayden Hildebrand. He completed 12 of 16 passes and threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns against the highly esteemed Cowboys’ defense.
UCA’s defense forced two fumbles from the Cowboys in the game, including a fumble in the third quarter by senior linebacker Chris Chambers.
Chambers returned the fumble 25 yards for a UCA touchdown to give UCA a 37-10 lead.
With a 27-point lead halfway through the third quarter, it seemed as though UCA would run the ball to milk the clock.
On the first play of UCA’s next drive, Wells ran a deep route, and caught a 48-yard pass from Hildebrand to give
the Bears a 44-10 lead.
Hildebrand had two passes of over 45 yards in the game.
Junior kicker Matt Cummins kicked a 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to give UCA a 47-17 lead, which they would keep for the remainder of the game.
Freshman running back Jackie Harvell scored his first college touchdown off of a blocked punt.
“I feel great just to have a momentum change in the game. It was just a great moment,” Harvell said. “I just love coming out here and playing hard with my brothers every weekend.”
McNeese State held UCA to a field goal in UCA’s first drive of the game, and scored the first
touchdown with 1-yard run by sophomore running back Justin Pratt.
McNeese State was able to move the ball on offense throughout the game, and had 417 yards on offense, including 206 rushing yards, but was hindered by two fumbles, and a goal-line stand by UCA’s defense.
UCA drove the ball down the field and scored a touchdown in the second quarter with a 5-yard pass to Wells to give UCA the lead 16-10.
Wells had 53 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the game.
After UCA forced the Cowboys to punt the ball on the next drive, UCA blocked the punt, which Harvell returned 28 yards for a touchdown, bringing the score 23-10.
The Bears gained momentum and had another successful offensive drive toward the end of the half, capped by a 55-yard touchdown pass from Hildebrand to senior wide receiver Brandon Cox to make the score 30-10.
After being outscored in the first quarter, the Bears didn’t allow the Cowboys to score in
the second quarter and took the 30-10 lead into halftime.
Senior linebacker George Odum led the Bears’ defense with 16 tackles and one sack in the game, and redshirt
sophomore defensive back Juan Jackson had 11 tackles.
“Our offense was rolling tonight so we had to answer back,” Odum said. “The win feels amazing right now. We’re
UCA remains atop the Southland Conference Standings, and will look to record its eighth straight win at
Lamar University (1-7, 0-6 SLC) Nov. 4 at 6:10 p.m.