Down 10 points twice in the game, key defensive stops allowed Wynrick Smothers to lead to monster touchdown drives, giving the Bears their first lead of the game with just 57 seconds remaining.
The drama didn’t end there as Sam Houston still had enough time to drive down and heave one to the endzone as time expired. The ball was swatted down, kicked back up into the air and then finally caught by Karl Brady who probably played his best game as a Bear. Bears win 20-24 over the defending SLC champs and last year’s FCS runner-up.
Here’s how the real sportswriters captured the game:
Bears rally against Sam Houston State, seal win on jump ball
“Three down. No timeouts? But we kept believing. I’m not sure there’s not something to those stripes (on the field) and black pants (which the Bears broke out as a surprise after wearing gray pants in warmups). I’m a Louisiana guy. I’m not sure there is not something to that voodoo stuff.”
“I’m telling you exactly what was said. ‘No.4 is going to win it with his legs, and we’re going to go to [No.] 84,’ because we’ve won games with 84.
“[Croom] stepped up and made some huge plays and [Smothers] stepped up and made some huge plays, both with his arm and his legs,” he said.
“You just can’t point to one thing,” Conque said. “We knew everything wasn’t going to go right, not against this team. But we persevered and got it going at the right time.”
The Bears managed 95 yards rushing. On the surface, that’s hardly spectacular. But they had to present some kind of semblance of a running game to win.
“I’m not sure we’ve had a total of 95 yards rushing against that defense the last two years,” said UCA coach Clint Conque. “Doesn’t seem like much, but it was big.”