Lamar to host UCA for homecoming on Saturday
Oct. 19, 2011
BEUMONT - Lamar University and the University of Central Arkansas will get together in football for the first time Saturday afternoon when the Cardinals will entertain the Bears in their 2011 Homecoming affair. Kickoff is set for 3:05 p.m. in 16,000-seat Provost Umphrey Stadium.
Lamar stands at 3-3 on the season after dropping its second straight game, a 46-21 road decision to Texas State this past Saturday night. Meanwhile, coach Clint Conque's Bears defeated McNeese State 21-18 in Conway, Ark., last week to run their winning streak to three games and to improve to 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals are 1-1 in the league and in fifth place, while the Bears are tied for second place, one-half game behind leader Sam Houston State, which is 3-0.
Freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson from Silsbee came off the bench Saturday night to spark the Cardinals to two second-half touchdowns against Texas State, but the Bobcats had already gained the upperhand by scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions. Johnson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to senior slot receiver Marcus Jackson in the third quarter, and he broke a 59-yard scoring scamper in the final period.
Also, sophomore running back Caleb Harmon of Port Neches-Groves accounted for Lamar's other score with a 3-yard run for his first collegiate touchdown in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, senior quarterback Nathan Dick threw touchdown passes of 81 yards to Dominique Croom and 25 yards to Brett Soft, and linebacker Frank Newsome returned a fumble a school-record 98 yards in UCA's victory over then 17th-ranked McNeese State.
The Cowboys outgained the Bears 422-256 in total yards, but the Bears feasted on five turnovers while committing only one giveaway.
The Cardinals broke out their best balancing act in last year's homecoming game, accounting for 204 passing yards and a then season-high 147 rushing yards in a hard-fought 14-0 victory over Langston University before a crowd of 17,306, the largest of the season.
Quarterback Andre Bevil completed 14 of 25 passes and hooked up with Jackson on two long touchdown passes, while the defense pitched the Cardinals' first shutout since a 41-0 blanking of Sam Houston State in 1989. Jackson got 105 of his 112 receiving yards on his breakaway touchdowns. The first covered 47 yards in the first quarter, and the second was a 58-yard bomb midway in the final period.
A couple of strong runs by Octavious Logan got the Cardinals' ground game churning early, and he went on to post a career-best 96 yards on 12 totes.
For the record, Lamar is 20-19-1 all-time in homecoming games. The Cardinals posted one six-game winning streak, beginning with a 24-0 blanking of UT Arlington in 1970 and running through a 30-10 trouncing of Southern Illinois University in 1975.
The Cardinals also endured one six-game losing streak in homecoming games, beginning when Stephen F. Austin prevailed 13-10 in 1981 and continuing through a 35-10 triumph by Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1986.
The Cardinals' greatest Homecoming Day conquering was a 67-19 trouncing of Sul Ross State in 1957, the same season in which coach J.B. Higgins' team posted the school's only undefeated record in football at 8-0-2.
Lamar's largest homecoming deficit has been 27 points, suffered twice - in a 34-7 loss to Terry Bradshaw-led Louisiana Tech in 1968 and in a 27-0 blanking administered by McNeese State in 1976.
For two seasons now, Lamar's offense has thrived not only on the passing of Bevil but also on the catching talents of J.J. Hayes and Jackson. One game after the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Hayes set a school-record with 212 receiving yards against Northwestern State, Jackson came through with his best effort of the season by hauling in four passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against Texas State.
In just 15 games as a Cardinal, Hayes has passed the 1,300-yard milestone in his one-plus seasons at Lamar. He now has 79 career catches for 1,305 yards, ranking him 13th all-time in receptions and ninth in yards.
Hayes needs 10 catches to move into a tie with Johnny Fuller of the 1964-1967 Cardinals and Ranzy Levias (1984-1987 Cardinals) for 11th place on the receptions list, and he needs 56 yards to move past Derek Anderson (1985-1988) into seventh place on the yardage chart.
With five receiving yards against Central Arkansas Saturday, Jackson will become only the 14th Cardinal to join the 1,000-yard club, a feat Hayes accomplished earlier this season.
After hosting Central Arkansas Saturday, the Cardinals will play at current SLC leader Sam Houston State on Oct. 29. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Huntsville's 14,000-seat Bowers Stadium.