Saturday night’s matchup at Estes Stadium involves two teams trying to build confidence.
The University of Central Arkansas Bears, coming off a 35-29 home loss to Samford in which a fourth-quarter comeback fell short, will try to go to 2-0 and early control of the Southland Conference race.
The Demons (0-2), who had a fourth-quarter comeback last week fall short in a 21-18 loss to Incarnate Word at home, will try to avoid an early hole at 0-2 in the conference race.
UCA coach Steve Campbell said, "The thing we told the guys is, ‘Hey, we’re 1-0 in the Southland Conference, but there are a lot of teams that haven’t played a conference game yet. So you’re still right up top ... You control your own destiny. It’s in our hands what we do with it. I know we’re excited about playing at home again on The Stripes.
In his fourth season as NSU head coach, Jay Thomas said the loss was as tough as any he’s had in this tenure with the Demons.
"It was a tough one to deal with, and it was probably good that we got a long weekend (from a Thursday game) to put it behind us," he said. "We feel like the corner is really close. We just have to stay with what we’re doing, and work at it, These young men have great attitudes and they are very determined."
UCA leads the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing defense. The Bears lead the SLC in total defense and are No. 2 in scoring offense and total offense.
Thomas and his team, which was outmanned by Baylor in the opener, are ready to build off the 0-2 start.
"They did exactly what we asked (against Incarnate Word, give a little lagniappe, a little extra across the board, and we got that," he said. "My fault is that I didn’t add in protect the ball, and take it away a few times, and this week I’ll add that in and hopefully they’ll respond again and get a different outcome,"
The game caps Hall of Fame Weekend at UCA.
Seven new members will be inducted into the 16th class during a Hall of Fame Brunch at 10 a.m. at the Student Center.
They are; Cleon Brown (football/track), Nathan Brown (football), Lisa Dreher (softball), Layton Gray (football/track), Bobby Hill (football), Don Struebing (football) and Bill Terwilliger (basketball/coaching).