One week removed from a 66-35 win over the Houston Baptist Huskies at home, the No. 16/18 UCA Bears hit the road to Nacogdoches, Texas, facing the 1-4 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.
Going with a third-string quarterback in Luke Hales seemed like UCA was with a seasoned veteran after he took over for an injured Kirk Baugh, who took over for an injured Breylin Smith in a week.
The offense didn’t skip a beat and the team picked up a win last Saturday.
However, this week, the team faces foe Stephen F. Austin.
The school’s football team made some headlines in the offseason when former Bears and Lumberjacks coach Clint Conque was suspended indefinitely before he decided to resign prior to the season.
The Lumberjacks have struggled to a 1-4 record overall and a 1-3 record in the SLC.
SFA’s lone came Sept. 22 when it beat Abilene Christian 24-21 at home.
The Lumberjacks played close with No. 11 McNeese State, falling 17-10 before falling 54-21 to No. 14/15 Sam Houston State last week.
This week, SFA will face its third ranked opponent in a row when the Bears come to town.
Despite the poor record, UCA coach Nathan Brown knows this isn’t going to be an easy game for the Bears.
“We’ve got a great challenge this week,” he said. “This is a big game. Stephen F. Austin is in somewhat of a transition period with their coaching situation. They’re not winning the games that they should be winning.
“I would put their talent level at the top third of our conference. They are going to be as talented as Sam Houston in some areas and as talented as Southeastern in some areas and as talented as McNeese in some areas.”
Brown said the Lumberjacks play a similar defense to what HBU showed last week, which he said could be an advantage.
“They’re a very aggressive defense,” he said. “One good thing for us is we played a 3-3 Stack defense last week against Houston Baptist and SFA runs a similar defense. To get those teams back-to-back kind of gives us an advantage on offense.”
Brown didn’t talk much about the offense, but he did mention senior quarterback Foster Sawyer, who is a transfer from Big 12 Texas Christian University.
Because the game will be on the road, Brown said it could be a tough game, especially with an earlier start time.
“It’s hard to play on the road,” he said. “You cherish wins in general but especially on the road. We’ll take that road trip and it’s a 2 p.m. kickoff. We’ll be eating a pregame meal at breakfast time. That’s a little different for out guys and we’re coaching that up.”
With UCA on Fall Break the last couple days, Brown said the team took advantage of that time and practiced at game time Thursday.
Brown said the team is excited about the trip and said Hales will remain the starter, while Baugh is out with a partially torn labrum.
In 12 meetings all-time, the Bears lead the series 9-3.
SFA’s last win came in 2012 when the Lumberjacks beat UCA 42-37.
Kickoff is schedule for 2 p.m. and will be played on the UCA Radio Network.