#7 Central Arkansas FCS Football 2013 Preview

Central Arkansas Bears

Overall Rank: #7
#1 SoCon

Central Arkansas Team Page#7 Central Arkansas FCS Football 2013 PreviewBuy Central Arkansas Football Tickets

Central Arkansas has come from a somewhat unknown to surprising a lot of people and teams in the past few years. The Bears look at 2013 as a chance to add to the program with a strong returning team and a schedule that gives them a real shot at returning to the playoffs. UCA meets FBS Colorado in week 2, which while tough may be one of the FCS over FBS upsets that seem to happen every year. But even with a loss, a trip to a down UT-Martin is all that remains before the Bears enter a Southland Conference that while rising, still isn’t one of the tougher leagues in the FCS.

2012 record: 9-3, 6-1
2012 postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Clint Conque
Offensive Coordinator: Brooks Hollingsworth
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Williamson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing:  Willie Matthews, RB, 236 yards
Passing: Wynrick Smothers, QB, 3,103 yards
Receiving: Dezmin Lewis, WR, 616 yards
Tackles: Justin Heard, LB, 100
Sacks: Jonathan Woodard, DE, 7.0
Interceptions: Karl Brady, CB, 2; Radarius Winston, CB, 2; Josh Jones, DB, 2

Other key returners: K Eddie Camara

Key losses: RB Jackie Hinton, WR Dominique Croom, WR Jesse Grandy, S Seth Allison

While the strength on the field is seasoned quarterback Wynrick Smothers, who accumulated well over 3,000 total yards last year, let’s be honest and say that one of UCA’s strengths is the field itself. Yes, Central Arkansas’ purple and grey striped turf can leave a fan dizzy, especially watching strong offenses move the ball up and down the field. It can’t be much better for an opposing player. Last season UCA defeated two very strong teams at home in national runner-up Sam Houston State and OVC champ Eastern Illinois.

While the Bears return the dominant dual threat that Smothers is at quarterback, the weapons around him are not as strong as they were in 2012. A new set of receivers has to step up to continue to keep the air attack a threat, which can open the ground game for Smothers and new starter Willie Matthews, who will also take on a bigger role this season.

The Bottom Line:
The past few seasons the Bears have made great strides to make themselves a strong playoff team. With some postseason experience now, Central Arkansas will zone in on not just reaching the playoffs, but going deep into the playoffs.  And with the lineup they bring this year, added to the fact that regular postseason bullies Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, who ended UCA’s season a year ago, aren’t eligible in 2013, it could make this a very strong year.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 133.50 (80th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 266.58 (22, 2)
Total Offense: 400.08 (42, 4)
Scoring Offense: 34.83 (10, 2)
Rushing Defense: 160.00 (58, 4)
Pass Defense: 219.50 (69, 4)
Total Defense: 379.50 (65, 5)
Scoring Defense: 22.50 (39, 3)
Turnover Margin: .50 (25, 3)
Sacks: 2.50 (26, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.83 (46, 5)


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