5 Best Bowden Wins at UNA
9/5/2009: UNA 31, Carson-Newman 9
After being the top D2 news story of the year upon getting hired, Terry Bowden had to prove the hype on the field. Opening with a blowout at Southern Arkansas, the fourth-ranked Lions hosted SAC perennial power Carson-Newman in Braly. UNA kept the Eagles winless streak in the stadium alive as big days by quarterback Harrison Beck, D2 Defensive Player of the Year Michael Johnson and current Tampa Bay Bucs returner/receiver Preston Parker helped the Lions build a lead and hold off the C-N veer attack. This win assured UNA fans of another competitive year instead of have to rebuild after the graduation of multiple seniors and former HC Mark Hudspeth leaving for Mississippi State.
10/22/2009: North Alabama 62, Valdosta State 27
The biggest highlight of the year was North Alabama’s return to being top-ranked in Division II for the first time since it’s string of 27 consecutive #1 rankings – from mid-season 1993 to Preseason 1996. The Lions carried their top-ranking down to GSC rival Valdosta State and dropped nine touchdowns on the Blazers. Harlon Hill Trophy finalist Harrison Beck passed for 350 yards, 4 TD’s and ran for another, while Mico McSwain had 133 yards in receptions – two of them being TD’s. A pride of other Lions were in on the scoring action including a pick-6 by All-American Michael Johnson.
10/28/2010: North Alabama 31, Delta State 7
After suffering the first two-game losing streak of his era, Coach Bowden got his signature win of 2010 over eventual national runner-up Delta State. The long term GSC rival Statesmen hosted the focused Lions in a game that saw UNA build a 14-0 halftime lead and turn it into a rout. The Lions Defense held DSU to their lowest output of the year forcing 3 Okra interceptions on consecutive series. Juniors Lee Chapple and All-GSC selection Wes Holland had big games leading a balanced offensive attack. Chapple passed for 220 yards and a TD, while Holland ran for 129 yards and 2 TD’s.
9/17/2011: North Alabama 23, Abilene Christian 17
The UNA Lions and Coach Terry Bowden traveled to Dallas to play in Cowboys Stadium in a Top 5 match-up with Lone Star Conference power Abilene Christian. North Alabama jumped out to an early 16-0 lead, with an offensive effort achored by All-American Kyle Thornton on the line, and held on late for the win. On the day, the Lions forced 4 Wildcat turnovers with Janoris Jenkins returning one for a score. The win helped UNA secure their second #1 ranking of the Bowden era a few weeks later.
11/19/2011: North Alabama 42, West Alabama 27
After losing to the Tigers a few weeks prior, the UNA Lions returned to Livingston to face the team coached by former UNA QB Will Hall – who succeeded legendary UNA Coach Bobby Wallace. Emotions were running high as North Alabama started fast out of the gate scoring it the first five possessions of the game and rolling to victory. This game featured several plays for the yearly highlight reel including a miraculous 52 yard catch by All-GSC selection Tristan Purifoy and a record-tying 92 yard punt return for touchdown by All-American Janoris Jenkins. Hill Trophy finalist Lee Chapple had his best game of the season at QB.