If I’m being completely honest as a fan, it’s a little bit of a challenge to get pumped up for Saturday’s game against Central Arkansas.
Everyone in red and blue expects a win but also a lopsided win, so even if the team looks solid in a 35-7 victory, there will be many who will fret over the rest of the season including myself.
But Saturday should be about giving Luke Altmyer his chance to start at quarterback, which we’ll cover more in-depth later this week.
As far as the Central Arkansas Bears are concerned, this is a top 25 SEC opponent - something this program has not faced in many years. Let’s take a look back at the FBS opponents for UCA since 2016.
- Arkansas St., 40-21 loss
- Alabama-Birmingham, 45-35 loss
- Arkansas St., 50-27 loss
- Western Kentucky, 35-28 win
- Hawaii, 35-16 loss
- Tulsa, 38-27 loss
- Kansas St., 55-19 loss
- Arkansas St., 28-23 win
So a 2-6 record is nothing to get overly suspect about even with an average spread at about 13 points. Maybe this season is going really swell for UCA.
On its purple and silver striped field in Conway, Ark., the UCA Bears were held scoreless by the Bobby Petrino-led Missouri State Bears for the first three quarters. While Mo. State is the No. 5 team in the FCS, it was certainly not the start to the season anyone would want.
The scoreless three quarters weren’t for lack of success, however, but two missed field goals from 35 yards and 22 yards in the first and third quarter show UCA had the ability to move the ball but not cash in against Mo. St.
Most of the offensive threat from UCA is with a two-headed running back attack from Darius Hale and Kylin James. Hale rushed for 99 yards on 18 carries while James chipped in 84 yards on eight carries. James also had the longest offensive play of the game for the team with a 31-yard run.
The passing game from UCA was a little more spotty with QB Will McElvain going 18 of 31 for 173 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. McElvain did have a rushing touchdown but was also sacked seven times, which is not great folks.
Defensively, one thing to possibly watch for is fumbles on Saturday. UCA caused and recovered two fumbles against Mo. St. and the Rebles in its first outing of the season had four total fumbles, losing two of them. This is all we got y’all, one week of stats to glean from, so we’re working with what we’ve got.
I honestly expect a little bit of a similar gameplan from Ole Miss in game two. Build a strong lead behind a more run centered play calling, then open things up in the passing game to plan for the future. The biggest question is how QB Luke Altmyer will handle starting and how many snaps Jaxson Dart is afforded as the game progresses.