CONWAY, Ark. - The home-field advantage remained true to form Saturday with Central Arkansas taking a 21-18 victory over McNeese State in a Southland Conference football game.
It was the second straight win for the Bears over the Cowboys and the third in as many games in Conway. McNeese has won all three the two teams have played in Lake Charles.
The loss was the first in league play for the Cowboys (3-3, 2-1 SLC).
The Cowboys held the edge over the Bears (4-3, 3-1) in just about every statistical category, outgaining them 422 total yards to 256. But turnovers killed the Cowboys’ chances and gave the Bears 14 points.
McNeese fumbled the ball seven times and lost three, and the Cowboys had two passes intercepted.
Two of the Bears’ three TDs came after McNeese turnovers.
Cowboys coach Matt Viator said his team just couldn’t get it done.
“It’s the second straight week that we haven’t been able to put them away,” he said. “We played hard. Now, we have to go back and work harder.”
McNeese opened Saturday’s scoring with a touchdown on its first possession. After the Cowboys took over on their own 45, Darius Carey ran for 36 yards before Javaris Murray ran for 8 yards and then scored on a 13-yard run.
Central Arkansas came back on an 81-yard pass from Nathan Dick to Dominique Croom to tie the score.
After recovering a Cowboys fumble, UCA took the lead for good on another TD pass by Dick, this one to Brett Soft for 25 yards.
The Bears got another touchdown in the third period when Frank Newsome picked up a Marcus Wiltz fumble and ran 98 yards for a score.
McNeese got the final two scores in the game, a 27-yard field goal by Josh Lewis and a 4-yard TD pass from Stroud to DeVionte’ Edmonson.
Following the Stroud-Edmonson TD, Andre Anderson ran for the two point conversion.
The Cowboys got the football back for one last time, taking over on their 26 with 29 seconds left in the game.
A completion from Stroud to Murray moved the ball to the 39, but Jestin Love intercepted the next pass and the Bears ran out the clock.
Stroud completed 24 of 38 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown.
Former Central High School standout Wes Briscoe had 90 yards on three receptions and Murray caught four passes for 49 yards.
Carey led the team in rushing with 47 yards while Anderson had 35 and Murray 24.
Defensively, Darrell Jenkins led the team with six tackles and one for a loss while Joe Narcisse, Ford Smesny, Seth Thomas, Deonte Thompson and Desmund Lighten had five tackles each.