BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) -- Ryan Howard, making his first start, passed for three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 2:53 remaining, to lead Central Arkansas to a 26-24 victory over Lamar on Saturday night.
On third-and-20, Howard threw 23 yards to Courtney Whitehead for the TD. The Bears' (4-3, 1-1) PAT was blocked, but they stopped the Cardinals' (3-4, 0-2) final drive.
Howard started in place of Wynrick Smothers, the reigning Southland Conference player of the year, who saw his college career end with a broken ankle last week. Howard finished 26-of-40 passing for 281 yards.
Caleb Berry threw three touchdown passes for Lamar, two to Reggie Begelton.
Howard tied the game at 17-17 late in the third quarter with a 3-yard pass to Thomas Hart. Eddie Camara then gave UCA its first lead with a 31-yard field goal early in the fourth.
Lamar retook the lead 24-20 on Berry's second TD pass to Begelton.