With a spring in their steps after a key victory at McNeese State, the University of Central Arkansas Bears return home Saturday with hopes of leaping to one of their major preseason goals.
The Bears (5-2, 3-1) will try to secure a winning season with a victory over Lamar University. The Bears had have had winning seasons five of the last seven years and 31 of 36 dating from 1976. Under Clint Conque, the Bears have had nine winnings seasons in 12 years.
"That’s our first goal every year — to send out our seniors with a winning season," said Conque. "We always want our seniors to leave as winners. This is our first chance to get that sixth win."
Lamar (3-4, 0-2), competing in its second full season in its return to the Southland Conference, is coming off a 52-21 non-conference romp of McMurry.
The Bears, 17th- and 19th-ranked in two NCAA FCS polls, are the second-ranked passing offense in the Southland, averaging 262.3 yards per game through the air. Lamar counters with the top pass defense, allowing just 176.3 passing yards. The Cards led the conference in red zone offense, converting 17 of 18. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson tied a school record last week with four touchdowns in a game. He has had three, three-TD games.
"They are very athletic and loaded with quality talent, including Herschel Sims, a transfer running back from Oklahoma State," Conque said. "We were fortunate to get out of Beaumont last year with a win (38-24). They have played a tough schedule and lost conference games to Southeastern and Northwestern State by fewer than 10 points."