The number is 103. The Central Arkansas Bears ran 103 offensive plays in their 45-16 defeat to FCS-unranked Samford. Samford is in the voting pool for the FCS-Top 25 but still, horseshoes and hand grenades. At the end of the day UCA lost to an unranked opponent of lower tier football in bad fashion. This will likely mean a blow out of big proportions Saturday within the walls of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Taylor Made Offense:
Taylor Reed is the biggest playmaker this offense has in Conway. Reed, a college football journeyman, started his career at the University of Memphis, transferred to Arkansas in 2012 and ended up at UCA by 2013. Needless to say, Reed has seen plenty of different offensive philosophies under several different head coaches and offensive coordinators. Reed has seemed to find his niche though with the 2012 Southland Conference champions. Of his 63 (yes you read that right) pass attempts, Reed completed 68 percent of those and gained 312 yards. Reed threw a wide range of distances and directions, which will require two things from the Oklahoma State defense. The first being able to tackle in open space. This was something that the Cowboys struggled with week one against another lesser opponent. A lot of the yards after contact allowed, was due to Cowboy defenders attempting to strip the ball instead of focusing on taking down the ball carrier. The other requirement for the Cowboys in this game will be shoring up the defensive backfield. If there was a weakness last Thursday, the secondary was the most glaring. Reading Reed and being ready for any and all routes from the Bears receivers will be paramount. Again, with a lesser opponent, this shouldn't be a problem, but we all said that last week as well.
One Dimensional Offense:
If the passing stats didn't clear this up, the Bears are putting all their proverbial eggs in the air raid basket. For every one rush attempt, the Bears threw the ball twice. So in theory, the likelihood of a running play is more likely to come on first down. The Bears were able to only gain 3.5 yards per carry, making them more reliant on the passing efforts of Reed. It is doubtful that defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will unload the playbook on an FCS foe. Still though, if Reed finds a way to complete passes, the blitz will be dialed up on second and third down. The quiet streak for defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah will end at one. The Bears allowed four sacks in week one to Samford.
Not Just One Penalty:
Penalties can kill anyone. Even some bears. Okay, that came out wrong. Penalties can kill any team, even ones with a bear mascot. Twelve penalties. Twelve too many for any coach. It gets worse though. With those twelve penalties the Bears relinquished 183 (!!!!) yards. Not that the Cowboys will likely need any help from the Bears to win the game but this game could be embarrassing if the Bears don't become their own worst enemy. It will likely not be Savannah State bad, but it'll be on up there.
Come back tomorrow for the riveting preview of the Bears defense.