UCA Bears preparing for battle as they return to “The Stripes” for homecoming

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CONWAY, Ark.- The University of Central Arkansas Bears is finally returning home to “The Stripes” at First Security Field at Estes Stadium when they host Missouri Western at 3 p.m. on Saturday. This return is the first time since September 26, and just the second time all season.

This could be a tough game for the bears, because for the fourth time in eight games, they are facing off against a team playing their first game of the season.

“For the fourth time this year, we’re playing a team in their first game, and that’s unheard of,’ said UCA head coach Nathan Brown. “That’s difficult, that’s not something that is normal. When you’re playing a team, and it being their first game, and they’ve had nothing but prep time for you, it makes for a difficult game plan.”

Austin Peay, with a brand new coaching staff, UAB and North Dakota State were all competing for the first time this season when they took on the Bears, leaving the UCA coaching staff with a lot of question marks heading into the games. Another, Missouri State, had three weeks to prepare between consecutive games against the Bears.

“One, we haven’t seen their personnel, we have not seen what maybe they have changed from last season to this season. All of our game film (on MWSU) is 2019, whereas they have seven game tapes of 2020 on us. That’s difficult. We dealt with that obviously with North Dakota State, we dealt with that with UAB and we dealt with that with Austin Peay.

Missouri Western is a Top 25 NCAA Division II football team, one that won nine games last year, with the ninth being a 35-14 victory over Henderson State in the Agent Barry Live United Bowl. The Griffons have won consecutive Live United Bowls, beating Southern Arkansas in 2018.

Someone on the opposite side of the field is also having a homecoming. The Griffons’ head coach is Matt Williamson, a former assistant coach (2007-09) and defensive coordinator (2010-13) at UCA.

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