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Michael Ebbitt recovered a fumble by Central Arkansas quarterback Nathan Dick and ran 63 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. But a last-minute Arkanasas field goal put the Bears ahead. TEXAS STATE PHOTO

SUBMITTED REPORT

CONWAY, Ark. — In a game that was decided in the final seconds of play, Central Arkansas used a 19-yard field goal by Eddie Carmona to hand Texas State a heart-wrenching 23-22 loss on First Security Field at Estes Stadium on Saturday night.

The Bobcats forced five turnovers in the first half and used a long kickoff return on the first play of the game to set up a touchdown and take a 13-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Michael Gilmore’s 81-yard kickoff return gave Texas State its first possession at UCA’s 13-yard line. Three plays later, Terrence Franks scored a touchdown on one-yard run up the middle and Will Johnson added the extra point to give the Bobcats a 7-0 lead with 13:13 left to play in the first quarter.

The Bobcats extended their lead to 13-0 when Joplo Bartu forced a fumble by UCA quarterback Nathan Dick and Michael Ebbitt picked up the loose ball and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. The extra point failed because of a bad snap and Johnson was tackled at the one-yard line.

Central Arkansas scored its first points in the game when Nathan Dick set up his first of three touchdown passes in the game when he hit Derrick Steele for a 14-yard TD pass. Eddie Camara kicked the extra point to cut Texas State’s lead to 13-7.

Neither team scored again until the final play of the third quarter when Dick threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Grandy for his second touchdown pass. Carmona kicked the extra point to give the Bears a 14-13 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Bobcats came right back on the ensuing drive when Tyler Arndt completed three passes to lead the Bobcats on a 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Arndt began the drive with a 46-yard pass to Darius Bolden down to UCA’s 29-yard line. After Marcus Curry gained eight yards on a run, Arndt completed a 15-yard-pass to Cody Matthews for a touchdown to give the Bobcats a 19-14 lead with 11:28 left to play.

Central Arkansas took its second lead in the fourth quarter when Dick threw his third touchdown pass to Thomas Hart from 12-yards to give the Bears a 20-19 advantage with 6:26 left to play.

The Bobcats scored their final points in the game when Johnson kicked a 48-yard field goal to give Texas State a 22-20 lead with 4:16 left to play.

The Bears scored their game-winning points when Carmona kicked a 19-yard field goal to give UCA a 23-22 victory.

Arndt finished the game completing 10 of 18 passes for 142 yards and his TD pass to Matthews. However, he threw his only interception of the game at UCA’s 32-yard line to end Texas State’s hopes for a last-second field goal attempt.

Bolden caught two passes for 58 yards, while Isaiah Battle had four catches for 34 yards. Marcus Curry ran for 36 yards on eight carries.

Dick finished the game completing 35 of 64 passes for 457 yards and three touchdowns. He also had three interceptions. Isaiah Jackson led UCA receivers with seven catches for 82 yards.

The loss drops Texas State’s record to 6-5 overall this season, while Central Arkansas improved to 8-3 overall and 6-1 versus Southland Conference schools.

The Bobcats return home to play host to Sam Houston State on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium.

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