(Stats Perform) – Central Arkansas next faces its second straight FBS opponent and will take on three overall in its fall schedule, but the biggest opponent is still out there:
North Dakota State.
Central Arkansas’ first-ever meeting with the three-time defending national champion on Oct. 3 in Fargo is the biggest FCS game of the fall. The Bison also have won eight of the last nine titles and seek to pursue another one in a potential spring season.
With nine games, UCA has the largest fall schedule among the 15 FCS programs in action, so it doesn’t plan to play in the spring. NDSU is only playing the UCA game this fall – perhaps a final game for quarterback Tre Lance, a leading prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft should he declare for it as redshirt sophomore, as well as some seniors.
“When you love football, just as much as a lot of players in this country, you want the big games,” UCA All-America cornerback Robert Rochell, also an NFL prospect, said. “So this is a big opportunity for everybody, everybody here at UCA, everybody that loves football as well. Even the coaches, I know the coaches are ready as well.”
Added All-Southland quarterback Breylin Smith, “They’re considered to be one of the best. Getting that opportunity to play them, that’s a great opportunity. But we’ve got to handle business first, and when that comes up, we’ll be prepared, we’ll be ready to play.”
The Bears (1-1) have beaten Austin Peay 24-17 in the FCS Kickoff and lost at UAB 45-35. They’re on a bye this week before playing at Arkansas State on Sept. 19. They beat the Sun Belt member in their most recent meeting, 28-23 in 2016, and also beat an FBS opponent, Western Kentucky, to open the 2019 season.
There’s one other game on Sept. 26 before North Dakota State, Missouri State, also a Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent, in the first of the Bears’ two home games. Their third FBS opponent is Louisiana on Nov. 21.