Central Arkansas rallies to win season opener


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Lujuan Winningham caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Breylin Smith with 34 seconds left to lift Central Arkansas to a 24-17 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday night in college football’s first game of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin Peay took the lead on quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall‘s 1-yard touchdown run and Cole Deeds‘ extra point with 1:40 left.

Oatsvall again moved the Governors across midfield in the final seconds with a 25-yard pass to Eugene Minter and then ran 19 yards on fourth-and-10. His desperation heave on the final play was intercepted by Tamaurian Wilson near the goal line.

Smith completed 26 of 49 passes for 283 yards, but threw two interceptions. Kierre Crossley ran 12 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman CJ Evans ran for 98 yards for Austin Peay, including a 75-yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage.

Smith had quickly led the Bears down the field for the go-ahead touchdown, completing 5 of 6 passes for 73 yards before hitting Winningham in the left corner of the end zone. Central Arkansas converted the two-point play on Smith’s pass to Sam Camargo.

Neither team disclosed results of COVID-19 tests from Wednesday. The most notable absence from the game was Austin Peay wide receiver DeAngelo Wilson, a second-team AP All-American last season.

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