UNA’s Lamonte Thompson (#24) finds himself in the middle of a pile while running the ball in the Sept. 8 game against Harding.

With 15 seconds left on the clock and the Lions taking possession on their own 22-yard line, silence fell over the UNA stands and sideline of Braly Stadium in the Sept. 8 game against Harding University.

The score was 31-10 in favor of Harding; the Lions rushed the ball for two yards before time ran out, losing their 2012 home opener and giving themselves an overall record of 1-1.

“We got whipped; that’s just the bottom line,” said Head Coach Bobby Wallace.

The Lions will shift their attention now to Kentucky Christian (2-0), a non-Gulf South Conference school, which UNA will play Sept. 8 at Braly Stadium at 6 p.m. Wallace said that until then, the team will be focusing on how to learn from their mistakes.

“We’re a very inexperienced football team … we’ve got a lot of growing to do, and that’s what it’s all about,” Wallace said.

Kentucky Christian has forced nine turnovers this season so far, intercepting seven passes and recovering two fumbles. The Knights’ offense is averaging 288 of total offense per game this season.

In the Sept. 8 game, the Lions, who achieved an early lead with a first-quarter field goal, lost their momentum and went down 14-3 by halftime.

Both teams scored touchdowns in the third quarter, making the score 21-10. In the final quarter of play, however, the Lions were unable compete with Harding, who won the game with a final score of 31-10.

“We had to take advantage of opportunities, and we just didn’t do it tonight,” Wallace said.

Throughout the game, the Lions’ defense struggled to contain the Harding offense. UNA’s offense netted only 192 yards, compared to Harding’s 430.

“We’ve got to learn to tackle better than that,” Wallace said. “If we’re going to play a defense where we have to play man coverage — when they do just throw it out to the guys, we’ve got to be able to come up make a tackle. If we can’t do that, we’ll be in trouble all year.”

The Lions netted 19 yards passing and 173 yards rushing while fumbling the ball four times and throwing an interception.

“We dropped about four passes in the game — one of them could have been an easy touchdown — so we were pretty poor in the passing game,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the offense struggled to protect quarterback Chris Alexander from the Bison defense, while missed tackles on defense created scoring opportunities for Harding.

“We fumbled the ball and dropped passes and didn’t take our assignments on defense, so we’ve got to do a better job coaching,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the defense is also struggling to force turnovers, while the offense continues to drop balls due to bad snaps.

“We worked on (snapping the ball) from day one of spring training last year, and we’ve got to execute that or we can’t run our offense,” Wallace said. “It is a fundamental thing that should not happen.”

Sept. 15’s game will be UNA’s last non-conference game before facing GSC rivals Delta State on the Statesmen’s home turf Sept. 22. UNA lost to Delta State twice last season: once in the regular season and once in the second round of the NCAA Division II National Championship.

“We’ve got another game before we have to play a conference game, so hopefully we just get better this week and that’ll be the case each week,” Wallace said.

The UNA Lions play Kentucky Christian at home Sept. 15, at 6 p.m.