CONWAY, Ark. — Central Arkansas overcame a 14-13 deficit with 21 unanswered second-half points to beat Nicholls State 34-14 on Saturday night at Estes Stadium.
The loss for Nicholls (1-3, 0-1) was its eighth straight in Southland play, dating to the 2010 finale. With the win, Central Arkansas (4-2, 2-1) has won four straight games in the series and improves to 3-0 at home all-time against the Colonels.
Landry Klann led Nicholls to a 14-13 lead at the half, throwing for 214 yards and a touchdown in the first 30 minutes. Klann finished the day 12 of 18 for 269 yards and one interception.
After kickoff was delayed 30 minutes because of lightning, Nicholls’ opening drive looked promising, but two penalties negated a pair of key plays. Holding penalties erased a 30-yard run by Marcus Washington and a third and long conversion, forcing the Colonels to punt.
UCA cracked the scoreboard first on a lengthy 13-play, 76-yard drive.
Jackie Hinton capped the scoring drive on a 1-yard touchdown.
The Colonels quickly answered, needing only three plays to span 77 yards. On the second play of the possession, Klann found Jesse Turner in the flat for 69 yards to the 4-yard line. Washington scored on the next play to even the score at 7-7.
Following a field goal by UCA in the second quarter, Klann hit a wide-open Erik Buchanan on a play-action pass for a 79-yard touchdown, giving Nicholls a 14-10 lead.
On UCA’s next possession, Dwayne Mitchell forced a fumble on a sack that gave the Colonels the ball inside their own 20. Jordan Piper, who racked up a career-high 23 tackles, was credited with the recovery.
Klann then completed his third long pass of the half, hitting Josh Hanberry for 43 yards. Nicholls drove inside UCA’s 10-yard line, but the Bears held the Colonels to a field goal try, which sailed wide-left off the foot of Andrew Dolan. The Bears added a 42-yard field goal before halftime.
UCA started the second half with the ball and used two fourth-down conversions to fuel an 11-play touchdown drive. Terence Bobo rushed from 18 yards out to put the Bears up 20-14.
After forcing Nicholls to punt, Central Arkansas extended its lead at the 6:15 mark in the third on a 13-yard TD reception by Dominique Croom, who finished with 63 yards receiving.
The Colonel offense was never able to get going after the intermission, accounting for only 70 yards in the final two quarters.
A late touchdown by Jacoby Walker made the final, 34-14.
Central Arkansas had 30 first downs, while holding the Colonels to 12. The Bears finished with 511 yards on offense, including 222 on the ground. Hinton led UCA with 106 yards on 18 carries. Wynrick Smothers finished 31 of 43 for 289 yards and a score.
Nicholls tallied 117 yards on the ground, led by Washington with 66 on 11 carries. Tuskani Figuaro rushed for 28 yards before leaving with an injury, and Jesse Turner added 10 yards on two carries.
Buchanan led the Colonels with 90 yards on two receptions, and Turner added 82 on three catches.
The Colonels return to action on Oct. 13 when they host Sam Houston State at 6 p.m.