Oct. 20, 2012
CONWAY, Ark. - Lamar University got its running game going in the second half Saturday evening at Estes Stadium, but the Cardinals could not dig out of a first half hole in falling 24-14 to No. 17 Central Arkansas in Southland Conference football action.
With DePauldrick Garrett and Darrell Harris carrying the load, Lamar outscored the Bears by seven in the second half after trailing 17-0 at intermission. Lamar, which fell to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in Southland play, will return home to host No. 6 Sam Houston State next Saturday.
"We were moving the ball in the first half even though we hadn't scored," said LU head coach Ray Woodard. "I was trying to do everything I could to get into halftime down just 10-0 and I'd have felt better. The last score we gave up just before halftime kind of took the wind out of us.
"We proved that we can play with good football teams. We played well the second half. We knew we were going to have to run the ball in order to have a chance to win this game. We can't get 17 down to a good football team and win. We have to stay closer. If we can just stay close to some of these teams, I think we can win because we're going to fight and play hard. I'm proud of this team."
The Cardinals put together a pair of impressive second half drives after managing just 79 yards of total offense in the first half. Quarterback Caleb Berry, who was 11-of-19 through the air for 96 yards, capped Lamar's first scoring drive with a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:51 to play in the third quarter.
The drive, which covered 74 yards on 14 plays and took nearly seven and a half minutes, nearly didn't get started. Mike Venson couldn't handle the 51-yard punt of Kevin Buford, but Tyrus McGlothen was on the spot to recover the fumble.
Lamar ran the ball on 13 of the 14 plays in the drive with Harris providing a 22-yarder down to the UCA 12-yard line. Berry would take over from there as he carried for five yards on second down and took it the other seven on third down.
After forcing a UCA punt, Lamar seemed to seize the momentum heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Cardinals' drive stalled and Kahler was forced to punt. The junior boomed a 45-yarder that went out of bounds at the UCA 24-yard line.
Terence Bobo managed just a 1-yard run on first down, but UCA quarterback Wynrick Smothers hooked up with Jesse Grandy for a 75-yard touchdown that pushed the Bears lead back to 24-7 with 10:00 to play in the game. Grandy would finish with four catches for 127 yards on the day.
Lamar responded with another sustained scoring drive to make it 24-14 as Garrett put the finishing touches on it with a 4-yard scamper into the end zone. Garrett, who went for 104 yards rushing last week against McMurry, finished with 91 yards on 25 carries Saturday evening.
The Cards' second scoring drive covered 67 yards and took 16 plays and just over eight and a half minutes. Kahler kept the drive alive early as he ran for 23 yards and a first down on a 4th-and-7 fake punt play. After LU continued to pound the ball on the ground, Berry hit Reggie Begelton on 3rd-and-11 for a first down at the UCA 4-yard line.
The two teams played to a 0-0 tie through the first quarter, but UCA (6-2 overall, 4-1 in the Southland) got on the board just three seconds into the second quarter as backup quarterback Jacoby Walker took it in from a yard out.
Lamar's defense, which got a game-high 11 tackles from linebacker Jermaine Longino, allowed the Bears a 33-yard field goal with 2:14 to play in the half as it looked like the Cardinals would trail just 10-0 at the break.
However, a three and out forced a Lamar punt and UCA was able to capitalize to close the half. Smothers, who finished 20-of-27 for 271 yards passing, hit Dominique Croom in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard score with just 38 seconds showing on the clock.
Lamar would outgain UCA 203-110 in the second half as the Cardinals finished with 282 yards of total offense in the game. Following last week's 275-yard rushing performance, Lamar would total 186 yards against UCA despite not having leading rusher Herschel Sims in the lineup.
Harris, who had a season-high 18 carries in the game, finished with 78 rushing yards to compliment Garrett strong effort. Begelton caught five balls for 50 yards.
Defensively, the Cardinals were without linemen Adren Dorsey and Jesse Dickson. Lamar got a strong game from Courtlin Thompson with nine tackles, while James Washington finished with eight. Defensive back Adrian Guillory had a pair of tackles for loss to lead LU.
Lamar finished the contest with nearly a 15 minute advantage in time of possession as the Cardinals held the ball for all but 6:22 in the second half.