Thursday’s 21-6 home loss to Prairie View A&M (3-3 overall, 3-2 in league play) was UAPB’s first of the season without scoring a touchdown, and first without putting up 400 yards of offense. The Golden Lions (2-3, 1-2) were limited to 45- and 19-yard field goals by Chris Ewald.
Perhaps the most difficult thing to get past: Prairie View took a 14-6 lead with 2:04 left in the fourth quarter on K.J. Black’s 8-yard scoring pass to Michael Benson, then put the game away when Brenan Gordon took an interception return 79 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining.
“The thing we’ve got to do, is prevent folks from getting in scoring position late on us,” UAPB coach Monte Coleman said during this morning’s SWAC coaches’ teleconference. “I don’t know if it’s a depth issue, because we have lot of guys banged up right now. On offense, we have to be able to make plays when opportunities occur.”
Despite the stumble, Pine Bluff’s pass offense remains No. 2 in the 10-team SWAC, and its No. 3 for total production, too. The underrated Josh Boudreaux is also at No. 2 among all league passers in average yards per game — and no one is has a better completion percentage right now. UAPB’s defense is giving up 38 fewer yards per game than West frontrunner Grambling.
“We can’t let an emotional game like Prairie View get us down,” Coleman said. “I don’t think this game is going to slow us down at all. We’re going to continue to fight.”
UAPB is one of three two-loss teams in the West, and has yet to play the top of the division: Grambling is on Oct. 30, while No. 2 Texas Southern is on Nov. 20. Up next: Traditional Eastern power Alabama A&M, which is coming off a difficult loss to Jackson State. That game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Golden Lions Stadium.
“Other teams control their own destiny,” Coleman said. “That’s not as true with us. We have to win the remainder of our games — and others folks have to play a factor. Other things have to happen, but we have to make sure we are winning games, too, to make sure we are doing what we need to do. It’s a game-at-a-time situation. You play one, and then you worry about the rest. We are not pre-scouting for Grambling. Our main focus is on Alabama A&M. It’s not a cliche — we are playing them one game at a time. That’s the way we are approaching it.”