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.

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.