The University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff head coach Cedric Thomas participated in Monday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference football coaches conference call Monday.


Thomas and the Golden Lions had an open date last week and return to action Saturday in a 3 p.m. game against Grambling at Simmons Bank Field.


Tickets are available online at uapblionsroar.com/tickets, by calling 870-575-8601 or at the UAPB Ticket Office at Simmons Bank Field.


The UAPB Sports Network Radio Broadcast begins with the Lions Roar Pregame show at 2:30 p.m. on KPBA 99.3 FM The Beat in Pine Bluff, KARN 920 AM The Sports Animal in Little Rock, online at uapblionsroar.com/live and on the free UAPB Athletics App.


On Work During Open Date: “It was a blessing for us in that mid-terms fell in the same week that we were off, so we had a chance to hit our foundation of the academic part and make sure from a tutorial standpoint we got a chance to catch up on the grades which was huge. The kids really got a chance to get in the classroom and do what we said as for as hustle from the educational piece of it. Also, we were able to get in the training room and….got iced up and get the little bumps and bruises taken care of. (In) practice, we worked on the fundamentals and the technical part and tried to get a couple days ahead on Grambling.”


On Keys To Matchup vs. Grambling: “Fight. We’re going to have to fight. It’s going to be a tough ball club. Downhill, physical. They’re not the same type of team when (QB Devante) Kincaid and those guys were running around with 4-5 wideouts and spreading it around the field. (Now) they have 2-3 good backs that run downhill. They have a massive O-line that’s going to (try and) swallow you (size wise) and be physical. I’m excited for (the challenge) for our team. We have to make sure we roll our sleeves up and understand what this football team is going to try and do to us.”


On The Importance Of Wins vs. Lane and Miss. Valley Following Loss To Southern: “It was huge, just to get back in the lab and them understanding when you don’t do it right – you can’t turn it over four times against anybody (as the Lions did against Southern and Lane) – and even against Lane, that you can’t take anybody for granted. We’re not good enough to just show up and do those things. After the loss, it was huge for us to come in and understand why we played as such, but also to have the confidence and wherewithal to finish that tough-fought game (against Lane) and get over the homecoming curse. Even after that, to comeback and revenge the Valley overtime deal (from 2018 after leading by two touchdowns in the third quarter before losing in double overtime) just says what type of character and the psychological part these young men and just the growth part of it (was big).”


NOTABLES vs. MISS. VALLEY ST.:


UAPB is now 5-2 for the first time since 2012


UAPB ended a three-game losing streak against the Delta Devils and posted the first home win over MVSU since 2014


UAPB has now surpassed the win totals from each of the previous six seasons (4 wins in 2014; 2 wins in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018; 1 win in 2016)


Offense produced its fifth game of 37+ points (37, 38, 45, 52, 53)


Offensive has gained 1012 yards and scored 83 points in the last two games


Defense forced three takeaways (all interceptions) and have forced 10 in the last three games (6 INTs, 4 FR)


Defense has at least one interception in six straight games; nine interceptions ranks second in the SWAC


Defense recorded three sacks in the game and have made at least one sack in 13 straight games


RB Taeyler Porter rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns and has a career-high tying nine on the season, tying for the SWAC lead. His 676 rushing yards in second in the SWAC


QB Shannon Patrick threw posted a season high in passing yards for the second straight week with 334 yards in completing 21 of 28 passes with a season-high tying three touchdowns. His passing yards total was the second highest of his career.


WR Josh Wilkes tied a career-high in receptions (seven) along with his third career 100-yard receiving game and first of the season (138 yards) and one touchdown.


WRs DeJuan Miller (5-90-1) and Tyrin Ralph (2-31-1) each made their second touchdown receptions of the season.


WR Harry Ballard III caught five passes for 58 yards. He is tied for second in the SWAC in TD receptions (six), and is third in both receptions (35) and receiving yards (561).


DB Shawn Steele made an interception for the third straight game. He is tied for second in the SWAC in interceptions (three), and is first in both pass breakups (11) and passes defended (14).


DB Martevious Washington and DE Jalen Steward each made their first career interception


LB Kolby Watts had his second 10 tackle game of the season along with ½ sack and 2.0 tackles for loss.


DE Xavier Mitchell had career highs in sacks (1.5) and tackles for loss (3.5) along with five tackles.


P Myles Pini averaged 41.5 yards on four punts with three downed inside the 20. He is tied for the SWAC lead in punts downed inside the 20 with 13 and is second in 50+ yard punts with seven.