Amidst a rainy, field soaked game that featured an hour, 13 minute lightning delay the University of Central Arkansas Bears prevailed to preserve its first win of the season, beating Murray State 26-13.
Bears coach Nathan Brown won several games as a quarterback for UCA, but this was his first win as a coach.
Brown’s win didn’t come easy, which he compared to his first win as a quarterback for the Bears.
“If you compare the two games, there was a lot of adversity in that North Alabama game. We were in double overtime in that game,” he said. “In the first overtime, I fumbled the snap. We had the ball first and I fumbled the snap, giving them the ball. We blocked a field goal in that first overtime. We stopped them and were able to score a touchdown to win the game. It’s the same deal here.”
At the end of his playing career, Brown amassed a record of 30-10 as starting quarterback and at the time, held Arkansas collegiate records of 10,558 passing yards and 100 passing touchdowns.
As a coach, he is now 1-1 and his first win came at a place where he has his jersey hanging in the Hall of Fame room.
Brown said the first win as a coach means more than his first win as a player.
“The time and effort you put into it,” he said. You develop the staff, you get to develop the young men. You’re putting a game plan together with the coaching staff to put these young men in a position to win a football game. As a player, no knock on these guys, but you live for the moment. You don’t understand how big a deal wins are.
“As a coach, the time and the effort you put into it, every win is so precious in college football. It’s hard to win football games, especially in circumstances like that with a gritty team that came over with Murray and putting yourself in bad spots. I don’t know that you can compare the two, but at this moment in time, it feels really good to get a win as a head coach.”
After the game, offensive coordinator Ken Collums came down and presented a game ball to Brown.
“t’s a game I will never forget,” he said. “I have a wet, slick game ball that I can’t even hold. It was an adverse game that you will find a way to win.”
Brown said he enjoyed the game despite the conditions.
“I’m pleased with the night,” he said. “It’s a big win. Anytime you get a Division I FCS win against a good Murray team, we consider that a good night considering the circumstances.”
Brown and the Bears will travel Saturday to Hammond, Louisiana, to take on the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions in the first Southland Conference matchup of the season.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m.