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Ark.-Pine Bluff 55, Lane College 10

August 31, 1997

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ How dominant was Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s defense in the school’s first game back as a member of NCAA Division I-AA? It outgained the team’s offense in a 55-10 victory over Division II Lane College.

Safety Chris Akins had two touchdowns as the Golden Lions’ defense scored five times Saturday night as the newest member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The defense also set up three other scores with takeaways.

``I don’t think it was a real good test for us,″ Coach Lee Hardman said. ``We know Lane is not the SWAC.″

The Golden Lions, back in the SWAC after 27 years away, scored on four fumbles and an interception. Their fumble and interception returns totaled 205 yards; the UAPB offense had just 139 yards and three first downs.

Lane lost six of seven fumbles and quarterback Theo Johnson threw five interceptions. UAPB had 137 yards on fumble returns and another 68 on interceptions.

Akins picked up a fumbled hand-off at his 38 and ran for a touchdown early in the third quarter and, a half-minute later, scored again from 41 yards with an interception.

Andre Tolefree’s 2-yard score halfway through the first quarter put UAPB up 10-0 and Keevin Jones and Ernest Grant added fumble returns of 33 and 29 yards.

In the second period, Ricardo Garcia recovered a Johnson fumble in the end zone after UAPB punter Byron White kicked to the 1. Rod Williams added a 59-yard pass to Reggie Blair for another score before Lane’s Eric Coure hit a 36-yard field goal just before halftime.

After Akins’ scores gave UAPB a 52-3 lead, Richard Pena kicked a 33-yard field goal. Lane’s Tyrus Shaw scored from the 3 in the final period.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff was a SWAC member from 1936 to 1970 and returned to the league this year. The game opened the season for both teams.

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