Chris Brannick, Director of Sports Media Relations
EDMOND – The University of Central Oklahoma beat Central Missouri 48-30 Saturday afternoon in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association action before 5,328 fans at Wantland Stadium.
The Bronchos improved to 5-4 on the season with the win, and have now won three consecutive games.
“I really want to say talk about how well the defense played,” UCO head football coach Nick Bobeck said. “They get criticized a lot and we know that, but they played a heck of a football game today. Getting four turnovers and just making some big plays. Central Missouri really has the best offense in the conference and I’m proud of our guys for the way the stood up and got it done today.”
Alex Figueroa, Stephan Robinson, Colton Lindsey and Trent Ellis each picked off passes from Brook Bolles, who entered Saturday’s game as the nation’s third best passer. Lindsey led the charge defensively with 10 tackles, an assisted stop behind the line of scrimmage, and the interception.
Chris Pogi added seven tackles, and had a big QB hurry in the fourth that forced a pass high and into the arms of Ellis, who finished with four tackles on the day. Figueroa also finished with four tackles and added a sack. Robinson made three stops on the day.
Bobeck said stopping the run game was the key to the defensive success. The Bronchos held Central Missouri to 58 yards rushing on 26 carries – an average of just 2.2 per carry. UCM came into the game averaging 217 yards per game on the ground.
Offensively for Central Oklahoma, the story of the day wasn’t Chas Stallard completing 26 of 40 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn’t that he hit J.T. Luper 11 times for 124 yards and a score, Josh Crockett seven times for 114 yards and a score, and L’liott Curry six times for 133 yards and two scores.
The story of the day was Bruce White. A walk-on true freshman from Tulsa, Okla., White was thrust into the spotlight for the Bronchos following injuries to numerous Central running backs.
The spotlight was bright.
The 5-foot-5 running back carried the ball 22 times Saturday for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
“I don’t know what he is (height), but I know all that says about him is his stature,” Bobeck said. “He is just a hard worker and isn’t scared of anything. I’ll be telling this story for a long time.”
Central Missouri scored first Saturday, capping off a 10-play, 72-yard drive with an eight yard TD run from Koby Wilkerson. The Bronchos responded though, going 85 yards in seven plays, the final, a 13-yard TD run for White to make it 7-7 with 3:10 to play in the first quarter.
Alex Quevedo hit a 41-yard field goal on the third play of the second quarter to give the Bronchos the lead. UCO never relinquished.
Luper caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Stallard with seven minutes to play in the half to make it 17-7, which is where the score stood at halftime.
White added his second score of the day on the third quarter’s opening possession – a bruising 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with White popping through the line for a 1-yard score.
The teams traded 25-yard field goals on the next two possessions and the Bronchos led Central Missouri 27-10 headed to the fourth quarter.
Having never beaten the Mules before Saturday, Bobeck kept his foot on the gas.
The Bronchos put up 21 fourth quarter points. Curry hauled in TD passes of 64 yards and 28 yards and Crockett scored on a 45-yard pass play. Central Missouri also scored three touchdowns in the fourth, its last with just under seven minutes to play made it the final, 48-30.
Central Oklahoma closed the gates at Wantland Stadium following the win. The Bronchos head to Topeka, Kan. to take on Washburn next Saturday at 1 p.m. Central plays at Northeastern State in the final game of the regular season on Nov. 11 at 3 p.m.