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UNA falls to Harding

Michael Redding/ Special to the FCT UNA freshman linebacker Brian Barnett (15) helps to bring down sophomore running back D’Nico Jackson-Best (34) of the Harding Bisons Saturday night at Braly Stadium in Florence. Jackson-Best had two solo tackles and five assists in the game.

FLORENCE — The youth and inexperience of the UNA Lions football team did not help them Saturday, as the squad fell to the Harding Bisons 31-10.

The Lions had only 192 yards of total offense on 59 plays, including only 19 net passing yards.

“They are a good football team,” UNA head coach Bobby Wallace said. “We can’t turn the ball over. We talked about that and we didn’t do a good job of it tonight. We gave up two big plays for touchdowns that should have been no plays. Take away the turnovers and the big plays on their part and we do better, but you can’t. That’s football. We knew that going in they were going to run the clock and win the time of possession and we had to take advantage of our opportunities, and we just didn’t do that tonight. We got whipped, that’s the bottom line.”

Things went smoothly for the Lions early on. Dominique Duster recovered a fumble for the Lions at the 12:46 mark in the first quarter.

That turnover by Harding led to a 39-yard field goal by Michael Schuster of UNA, putting the Lions on top 3-0.

This would be the only time the Lions would have the lead.

The Bisons scored 14 unanswered points on a 19-yard rush and a 41-yard pass to go up 14-3.

UNA closed the gap with a 38-yard touchdown run by Lamonte Thompson two minutes into the second half, but 14-10 would be as close as the Lions would get for the rest of the game.

Harding scored 17 unanswered points to close out the 31-10 win on 60-yard touchdown bomb, a 5-yard rush and a 23-yard field goal.

Turnovers plagued the Lions in the game. UNA had four fumbles and lost three of them, along with two interceptions.

“The turnovers really killed us,” Wallace said. “We had the momentum there after we scored in the third quarter. The defense was playing well, and we fumbled and I believe that’s when they hit the big pass.”

The Lions running game managed to pick up some steam, totaling 173 yards in 41 attempts, a 4.2 yards-per-carry average. This is not a bad statistic, but couple that with the 19 net passing yards and five turnovers and the 4.2 rushing average per play becomes inadequate for a win.