Sophomore quarterback Dallas Sealey left the game late in the first quarter and Central Arkansas outgained ACU 502-253 en route to a 58-27 loss.
The UCA special teams shined again as they downed a punt inside the one-yard line and returned a kick for a touchdown. After the well-placed punt, the Wildcats took over possession, but junior running De’Andre Brown was bottled up for a safety, giving the Bears a 2-0 lead three minutes into the game.
But ACU seemed unfazed as Sealey orchestrated an 11-play, 59-yard drive capped off by a one-yard run from Brown to give the Wildcats their first lead since the first quarter in their game against Houston Baptist.
The Bears would answer near the end of the first quarter when Hay Hildebrand found Jatavious Wilson from 32 yards out, giving them a 9-7 lead, but the Wildcats still seemed very much in the game.
However, after Sealey left with a head injury, UCA outscored ACU 28-6 in the second quarter to take a 37-13 lead into the half.
“Well he bumped his head and wasn’t feeling good,” said head coach Ken Collums. “You always play the side of safety with that. Nobody wants to lose their starter, but stuff like that happens.”
Sealey finished the game with just 43 yards passing because of the injury, recording less than 300 yards for the first time in the last three games.
In the second half, the Wildcats failed to get anything going as they were outscored 21-14 to bring the final to 58-27. It was the first all season ACU was outscored in the second half.
“The plan was you know what, we know they’re going to score, we’ve got to make sure and score,” Collums said. That was the thing, you stay in there until the fourth quarter then try and win the thing in the fourth. A good team will get out on you, they’ve got explosive players.”
Senior quarterback Parker McKenzie, who entered the game for Sealey finished 14-of-31 for 155 yards and his 33rd career touchdown. ACU struggled to get anything going on the ground against the top rushing defense in the Southland. The team combined for 55 yards on the ground, led by freshman Tracy James with 25 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
“They [UCA] give people fits, they don’t give up rushing yards,” Collums said.” I don’t know that we ran the ball efficiently enough, but I don’t know that anybody will against these guys for the rest of the year.”
The loss drops ACU to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play as they prepare to host Lamar this Saturday.