CONWAY, Ark. – Central Arkansas’ second consecutive trip to the NCAA Division I Playoffs was made official on Sunday, and the Bears will have two weeks to prepare for their opener.
No. 8 UCA, which finished the regular season with a 9-2 mark after Saturday’s 48-30 win against No. 24/25 Eastern Illinois, received a first-round bye in the playoff field, which was announced Sunday. The Bears will open the playoffs in the second round
at perennial power Georgia Southern Dec. 1 in Statesboro, Ga.
The Bears, who won their playoff opener on the road a year ago at Tennessee Tech, have won six consecutive games to close the regular season. UCA won seven consecutive games to make the playoffs last season.
Fifth-seeded Georgia Southern (8-3) drew one of the five top seeds in the FCS Playoffs, assuring them of a home game. The sixth-ranked Eagles, who have won six national championships and advanced to the semifinals a year ago, are 32-3 all-time at home in
the playoffs. It will be the 19th trip to the playoffs for the Eagles after securing the automatic bid from the Southern Conference.
UCA tied last year’s national runnerup Sam Houston State for the Southland Conference title at 6-1 and received the automatic bid by virtue of a 24-20 victory over the Bearkats Sept. 22.
UCA and Georgia Southern have met only once in football, with the Bears winning 34-31 in overtime at Allen E. Paulson Stadium in UCA’s first year as a Division I program in 2006. James Paul kicked a game-winning 25-yard field goal in overtime for the win
in the regular-season finale.
Kickoff for the Dec. 1 game is set for 1 p.m., CT, and the game will air live on ESPN3.