A 21-point second quarter helped the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff get back in the game Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Central State University Marauders, who were victorious by a final of 40-35 in front of the 2017 Golden Lions’ homecoming crowd.
UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman emphasizes each week that he wants the Golden Lions to start fast, but both defenses were stingy early on.
CSU junior quarterback Trent Mays was able to manufacture offense by running out of a run-pass option scheme. The first score of the game didn’t occur until after both teams forced a couple punts. On CSU’s third offensive possession of the first half, Mays got the Marauders going with a 39-yard pass to his wide receiver Martell Clark, which put them in UAPB’s territory.
That pass set up the one-yard rushing touchdown for CSU running back Darius Meadors for the first score of the game. The Marauders’ defense would then force the third UAPB punt of the first quarter after a sack that forced a 3rd and long situation.
The UAPB defense would then answer with their own three and out, but they would give it right back on the first turnover of the game. Red-shirt Freshman Tyrin Ralph muffed a punt that was recovered by CSU at the UAPB 42 yard line.
However, the UAPB defense would get another big stop as Jalen Stewart got in the backfield for a sack on third down to prevent points off of the turnover. On the next play, freshman defensive back Ronald Rockett out of Pine Bluff High blocked the punt, allowing UAPB to take over at the CSU 44.
Ralph would make up for his muffed punt with a few plays in the second quarter to help spark the Golden Lions’ run. After a big run after a catch by Ralph, UAPB found themselves on the CSU 11. A few plays later, UAPB running back KeShawn Williams would then punch it from a yard out to put the Golden Lions on the board. Mays wasn’t done yet, as he found success dropping passes in the weak spots of the UAPB zone defense.
To answer UAPB’s first score, Mays and Clark hooked up for their second TD of the game, but the PAT attempt was missed. UAPB would then commit their second turnover of the first half as Patterson rolled out the pocket and was slung down by a CSU defender, forcing the ball to roll deeper into Golden Lions territory.
On the first play of the drive for the CSU offense after the Patterson fumble, Mays found a crease on the edge to score a 27-yard rushing touchdown to put the Marauders ahead 20-7 with 10:06 to play in the first half. The spark that the Golden Lions needed began on a 57-yard kick return by senior Parris Mack.
Patterson and his receiver Ralph also began to find a rhythm. With the Golden Lions on the CSU two yard line and marching in, Patterson used his feet to get in for his first rushing touchdown of the game.
After a timely three and out forced by the Golden Lions’ defense, UAPB would connect for their go-ahead touchdown.
On a fleaflicker that Williams pitched back to Patterson, who found a streaking Parris Mack for a 65-yard touchdown strike, UAPB took a 21-20 lead. UAPB defensive end Tashad Charity would keep their momentum going with their second sack of the game to force a third and long, and eventually a CSU punt.
Williams would then showcase his ability to get busy in space, as he took a screen pass for a 57-yard gain to set UAPB up on the CSU 21. Four plays later, Patterson found freshman receiver Robert Sims III on a fade route for a nine-yard touchdown connection.
The 21-point second quarter allowed UAPB to take a 28-20 lead into halftime. Coming out of the break, UAPB received the ball and went with a heavy dose of Williams on the ground.
The Golden Lions would move well into CSU’s territory, but four penalties, three of them committed inside the Marauders’ 20 yard line, would hurt their drive. On fourth down, Jamie Gillan would attempt and miss a 42-yard field goal. The Golden Lions’ defense picked up from where they left off, and on CSU’s first offensive possession of the game they forced another three and out.
Tyrin Ralph then returned the punt 41 yards to set UAPB up with good field position on the CSU 28 yard line. However, the CSU defense would record a couple tackles for loss to force UAPB to send Gillan back out for a 49-yard field goal attempt.
The attempt was no good, and midway through the third quarter the score remained 28-20. It would then be the Marauders’ place kicker Trevor Teel’s turn to try to put three on the board after their drive stalled at the UAPB 31, but the 45-yard field goal attempt was wide right. The CSU defense would hold strong to give their offense the ball back and a chance for Mays to go to work. Mays did just that, as he led drive, which was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run for Darius Meadors.
However, the two-point conversion attempt to tie the game was missed, and the Golden Lions held on to a two point lead with 14:20 to play in the fourth quarter. After both defenses traded stops, Mays would continue his big game by finding his wide-outs for big yardage gains.
On 3rd and 13 on their own side of the field, CSU running back Darius Meadors took a screen pass for a 44-yard gain to keep their drive going.
Two plays later his fellow running back Terraris Saffold dove in for a two-yard touchdown to give CSU a 33-28 advantage. Urgency then became a factor for the Golden Lions in front of their homecoming crowd.
Although they were urgent, they weren’t desperate, and they were able to keep the ball on the ground with a mixture of Williams, Patterson and senior running back Dante McDonald. As UAPB was marching, the CSU defense stiffened as the Golden Lions neared the red zone. UAPB was forced to go for it on 4th and 4 from the CSU 21, and the pass fell incomplete, allowing the Marauders to take over on downs.
With a five-point lead and a little over six minutes left in the fourth, CSU decided to keep it conservative by running the ball to milk some off the clock. Although it was conservative, it was effective.
CSU was able to move the ball inside the UAPB 20 yard line with an array of rush attempts. Saffold finished the drive with a 14 -yard touchdown run to put CSU up by 12 with 1:36 to play. Although Patterson would score another touchdown for UAPB on a QB keeper, that last score by the Marauders would prove to be enough for them to gain their first win of the season and to defeat the Golden Lions on their 2017 homecoming.