Headline: UAPB Coach Thomas reviews loss to Grambling, looks ahead to Jackson State
Byline: Special to The Commercial
University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff head coach Cedric Thomas participated in Monday’s Southwestern Athletic Conference football coaches conference call Monday.
Thomas reviewed Saturday’s 39-33 home loss to Grambling that came down to the final minute of the game and offered initial thoughts on this week’s game at Jackson St. JSU has won its last two games on the road, defeating both Miss. Valley St. (31-28 in overtime) and Prairie View A&M (38-35 in double overtime).
The Golden Lions (5-3 overall, 2-2 SWAC) and Tigers (3-5, 2-1) will kickoff Saturday at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The UAPB Sports Network Radio Broadcast begins with the Lions Roar Pregame show at 5:30 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 Game vs. Grambling: “It was a great atmosphere as normal…Like we talked about in the previous week, we were getting prepared for a fight and a good football team, a championship-caliber football team. We came out, and with the field position early, Grambling got on the board with a good pass concept. Those guys kind of got things rolling. (After that), we kind of got settled in and kind of matched it. It was back and forth like we said. It went from a fight to more of boxing match. Everything was methodical, a chess match. They go up. We go up. They make a big play. We showed the poise. Our guys settled down and came back and matched it and vice-versa. At the end, we just fell one play short.”
On Play Of Team In Attempting Fourth-Quarter Comeback: “I’m really excited about my kids and the way they played. It was a fight against one of the better teams in this conference. For them to go down (13 points) with eight minutes left, and work their way back in it to give themselves a chance to win says a lot about them in this early stage of us continuing to change this program.”
On Jackson State: “They’re a good football team, a good physical football team. When you look at their journey, here’s a team that lost to a Division II school and could have hung it up. They’ve lost some close games early but have bounced back. You talk about the character of playing a Prairie View team after losing a practice day (due to the Thursday night game), play an overtime game against your rival, get on the road and then win a (two) overtime game says a lot about a team’s character.”
NOTABLES vs. GRAMBLING:
Third straight year the UAPB-GSU game has been decided by one touchdown or less (31-26 GSU in 2017; 45-38 GSU in ot in 2018)
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 sixth game of 30+ points
Offensive has gained 1,451 yards and scored 116 points in the last three games
Defense limited Grambling to 293 total yards (second lowest of the season), including a season-low 45 rushing yards allowed
Defense forced two takeaways (one interception, one fumble) and have forced 12 in the last four games (7 INTs, 5 FR)
Defense has at least one interception in seven straight games; 10 interceptions on season ranks tied for second in the SWAC
Defense recorded three sacks in the game and have made at least one sack in 14 straight games
RB Taeyler Porter had a season-high 28 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. He ranks third in the SWAC in rushing with 755 yards and is tied for second in the league with a career-high 10 rushing touchdowns
QB Shannon Patrick set single game career highs in completions (22), touchdown passes (four), and rushing yards (31)
QB Taylor Holston rushed five times for 32 yards in his most extensive action of season
WR Harry Ballard III caught season-high nine passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He is tied for first in the SWAC in TD receptions (eight), is second in receptions (44) and third in receiving yards (705).
WR DeJuan Miller had his second straight game with at least one TD reception; caught season-high tying six passes for 88 yards and tied a career with two touchdown receptions. He is tied for seventh in receptions (30), fourth in the SWAC in receiving yards (534), and tied for 10th in touchdowns (four)
DB Jordan Brown made his first career interception in the fourth quarter.
DB Shawn Steele is tied for second in the SWAC in interceptions (three), and is first in both pass breakups (12) and passes defended (15).
DL Zion Farmer made a season-high eight tackles
DE Xavier Mitchell tied a season-high with seven tackles, tied a career high with 1.5 sacks, had 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
P Myles Pini had two punts downed inside the 20 and is tied for the conference lead in the category with 15.