CONWAY, Ark. - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks dropped their Southland Conference opener at Central Arkansas, 38-28, Saturday night at Estes Stadium. The loss drops SFA to 1-4 (.200) on the season, and 0-1 in Southland Conference play. The loss marks SFA's first conference opening loss since the 2007 season.
"Mistakes have been the story for the past couple of weeks," said head coach J.C. Harper. "We held their offense to 17 points, but we also left a lot of points on the field in the first half. We moved the ball into the red zone three times in the opening half and came away with only six points."
SFA outgained their hosts on the night recording 489 yards of total offense, while the Bears finished with 426. The 'Jacks carried the ball 26 times for 99 yards.
The 'Jacks came out and moved the ball early combining the run and the pass on a 12-play, 55-yard drive that culminated in a Jordan Wiggs' 22-yard field goal in the first quarter. But that would be the only lead SFA would see as the Bears took advantage of SFA mistakes to build a 15-point lead.
Following another SFA field goal to pull within in a point, 7-6, the Bears' Isaiah Jackson returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards to take a 14-6 advantage. On the following drive UCA's Seth Allison picked off a Brady Attaway pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. The Bears took a 21-6 lead into the locker room following a missed SFA field goal.
Despite the scoring disparity at halftime, the numbers were fairly even at halftime. The 'Jacks recorded 196 yards of total offense, including 78 on the ground, while UCA had 210.
It was a similar situation in the second half as UCA hit a 58-yard pass for a score, and recovered a Cordell Roberson fumble and returned it for a touchdown to push its lead to 35-6 midway through the third quarter. After falling behind by 29 points, the 'Jacks rallied for 22-unaswered points but it was too little too late.
Attaway started the game completing eight of his first nine passes, and finished the game going 41-of-55 for a career-high 390 yards and three touchdowns . Junior Cordell Roberson finished the game with 13 catches for 100 yards, including his first touchdown reception of the season. Roberson's 13 catches are tied for the fifth-best single-game mark in school history.
The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, Oct. 8, when they travel to Houston, Texas, to face Sam Houston State. The game against the Bearkats is slated to begin at 2 p.m. from Reliant Stadium. It is the second year in a row the annual rivalry game has been played at Reliant Stadium.