Sep 1, 2012; Oxford, MS, USA; Central Arkansas Bears quarterback Wynrick Smothers (4) passes against the Mississippi Rebels during the first half at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down the Bears: Central Arkansas preview


Want to see some scores from last weekend?

North Dakota State 24 – Kansas State 21
McNeese State 53 – South Florida 21
Northern Iowa 28 – Iowa State 20
Eastern Illinois 40 – San Diego State 19
Samford 31 – Georgia State 21
Towson 33 – Uconn 18
Southern Utah 22 – South Alabama 21

There they are.

Eight times.

That’s eight times FCS teams beat FBS teams last week, the most ever in a college football weekend.

The talent gap is narrowing.

Coming off an impressive and emotional 41-27 win over Colorado State, Colorado cannot overlook Central Arkansas on Saturday night in Boulder.

The Buffs should know this already. Colorado has played teams from the FCS three times, losing two and barely winning the third (on a late interception by Terrance Wheatley to squeak by Eastern Washington in 2008).

2006 – Montana State 19 – Colorado 10
2008 – Colorado 31 – Eastern Washington 24
2012 – Sacramento State 30 – Colorado 28

Dan Hawkins’ debut game in 2006 was ruined by a terrible effort in a loss to Montana State (a sign of things to come), and 2012’s blown lead against Sacramento State started an unbearable slide that would lead to Jon Embree’s firing.

My concern with Central Arkansas though, has less to do with Colorado’s poor history against the FCS, the fact that the Buffs might overlook the Bears, or that CU isn’t very talented.

I’m worried because Central Arkansas is good.

Ranked #5 in the FCS polls last year, the Bears are coming off of a 9-3 season in which they went to the second round of the FCS playoffs and held a halftime lead at Ole Miss.

UCA is led by senior quarterback Wynrick Smothers, a dual threat QB who in 2012 threw for 3,103 yards with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions while earning the Offensive Player of the Year honors in the Southland Conference.

On defense, the Bears feature a pair of strong defensive ends, including Jonathan Woodard. Woodard earned Freshman of the Year honors in the Southland last season while racking up seven sacks.

Now in his 14th season at UCA, head coach Clint Conque (99-54) has built a winning tradition in Conway, Arkansas.

Conque returns 17 starters from a year ago and is looking for his first win against an FBS opponent in three tries. After leading Ole Miss at halftime a season ago, the Bears fell 49-27. In 2011, UCA took Louisiana Tech into overtime before falling 48-42. The win would also be the 100th of coach Conque’s career.

Central Arkansas certainly has plenty to play for in Boulder, but so do the Buffs.


You can be assured that Colorado remembers all too well the disappointing loss to Sacramento State a season ago. The Buffs know that all of the confidence gained in beating CSU can be taken away just as quickly this week.

While the Buffaloes need to be fully invested when they follow Ralphie onto Folsom Field on Saturday, Colorado still has more athletes than Central Arkansas and should win the game.

I trust that coach MacIntyre will have his team ready and will not overlook the Bears. While Central Arkansas has playmakers and experience, they don’t have a player as talented as Paul Richardson.

I think the Bears hang around in the first half before CU runs away in the second.

Final Score: Colorado 44 – Central Arkansas 28

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Tags: Central Arkansas Bears Colorado Buffaloes Paul Richardson Wynrick Smothers

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