Why did the alligator cross the road?
To get out of the way of University of Central Arkansas coaches headed to Thibodaux, La.
And one UCA coach, graduate assistant Seth Allison of Jonesboro, experienced a little of the culture in south Louisiana.
A couple of days prior to the Bears’ game against Nicholls State, Allison was recruiting in Louisiana, rented a car and met the football team in Morgan City. Coach Clint Conque decided to accompany him for the short drive to Thibodaux on Saturday and decided to make it an educational experience.
"We took the scenic route down Highway 20 right along the bayou," Conque said.
Suddenly, Conque saw his young assistant pumping the brakes, and he pulled along the side of the road next to the bayou.
"Is that an alligator?" Conque said Allison asked him. "I’ve never seen an alligator."
An alligator was crossing the highway.
"A black cat crossing the road may mean bad luck; but if an alligator crosses, you’re in good shape," Conque said at Monday’s weekly Bearbacker luncheon.
While not pretty at times, the Bears defeated Nicholls State, 17-10, for their sixth victory of the season.
"It was a hot, humid, extremely windy afternoon and generally a nasty day," Conque said.
The Bears built a 17-3 halftime lead.
"We played pretty well in the first half; the second half we were just hanging on," Conque said. "It was Missouri State 2.0."
In a victory over Missouri State earlier in the season, the halftime score of 17-13 stood up.
"We had three offensive possessions the second half, not counting our last, where we took a knee twice," Conque said. "One of our drives took eight minutes with no points."
UCA had no turnovers but was only two of five in he red zone and had a field goal blocked.
"That’s kind of a mirror image of the season," Conque said. "A lot of it has to do with confidence, and a lot of it has to do with making plays under pressure. When you have confidence, you play faster with more consistency."
Conque praised the efforts of redshirt freshman wide receiver Desmond Smith, who has caught touchdown passes in the last two games.
He also applauded the efforts of freshman wide receiver Jatavious Wilson, junior wide receiver Dezmin Lewis, junior running back Willie Matthews, sophomore defensive end Jonathan Woodard, redshirt freshman defensive end Bailey McIver, freshman lineman Jordan Tolliver and junior linebackers Zach Bush and Blake Childress.
"It’s exciting to see young players elevating their level of play at the end of the year," Conque said.
The Bears did not escape the game without major injuries, typical of the season. Junior offensive lineman D.J. Appe sustained a broken leg and junior linebacker Zach Watkins tore an ACL.
The Bears close the season Saturday at Estes Stadium against two-time national runner-up Sam Houston State in a confrontation of last year’s Southland Conference co-champions. Both teams have lost conference games to Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State. Sam Houston is still a likely playoff team.
"It’s a battle for third place, and if you finish in the top three or four in this league, you’re doing several things pretty well," he said.