NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Breylin Smith threw for three touchdowns, Lujuan Winningham caught nine passes for 168 yards, and Central Arkansas stopped a two-point conversion to defeat Northwestern State 31-30 on Saturday night.
After the Bears (5-2, 3-1 Southland Conference) took the lead for the first time on a 25-yard pass from Smith to Winningham early in the fourth quarter, their offense struggled, going without a first down on their next three possessions.
Meanwhile, the Demons (0-7, 0-4) threatened three times. They reached the Central Arkansas 17 in a drive that ended on a missed 34-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Gremillion. After recovering a fumble, they drove to the Central Arkansas 33 but Shelton Eppler was sacked on fourth down. Finally, on the third drive, Eppler hit Akile Davis for 9 yards and a touchdown. Trailing 31-30 with 1:30 remaining, Eppler's two-point pass failed.
Eppler completed 26 of 49 for 310 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Smith completed 30 of 43 passes for 299 yards.
Central Arkansas, No. 13 in the FCS Coaches Poll, lost two fumbles and two interceptions.
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