CONWAY, Ark. -- Wynri Smothers' 26-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Croom with 57 seconds left gave Central Arkansas a 24-20 victory Saturday over powerhouse Sam Houston State in both teams' Southland Conference opener.
Smothers, who threw for 318 yards, had pulled the Bears (3-1) within 20-17 on a 17-yard run with 3:18 to play. After the Central Arkansas defense forced a punt, Smothers hit Croom on a 41-yard sideline route before finding him in the corner of the end zone for the game-winner.
Smothers had opened the Bears' scoring with a 30-yard touchdown to Terence Bobo in the second quarter.
Tim Flanders ran for 125 yards and two scores for the Bearkats (1-2), who had a chance to win as time expired. Brian Bell threw an on-target jump ball that Karl Brady intercepted in the end zone.
The Bears improved to 7-0 at home since installing purple-and-gray artificial turf at Estes Stadium.