Chris Brannick, Director of Sports Media Relations
CORSICANA, Texas – The University of Central Oklahoma beat Tarleton State 38-31 in the inaugural Corsicana Bowl Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium.
Chas Stallard was named Most Valuable Player of the game after the senior quarterback capped off his career with a near flawless final game. Stallard threw for 165 yards on 18 of 24 passing with one touchdown. He also ran the ball 17 times for 111 yards and a touchdown.
He orchestrated six Broncho scoring drives, all more than 60 yards. His touchdown pass to L’liott Curry with 2:57 to play in the third quarter gave the Bronchos a 31-28 lead. The play was one of the best of the game. Stallard escaped a sack in the backfield, spun out of trouble and fired a deep pass to Curry, who made the catch, then broke two tackles to get into the end zone for the 42-yard score.
Stallard scored his rushing touchdown after Tarleton tied the game up 31-31. He ended a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The drive took 4:43 of valuable time off the fourth quarter clock, and gave the Bronchos a 38-31 lead with 10 minutes to play.
UCO still needed a stop though. The Bronchos forced Tarleton to punt, then ran nearly seven minutes off the clock before Austin Dodd missed a 31-yard field goal that would have made it a 10-point game. UCO would need another stop. Tarleton would need to go 80 yards in 2:04 with no timeouts.
Central got the stop.
After Tarleton ran two rushing plays, one for a gain of seven, one for four, UCO called a timeout with 1:15 to play. Tarleton then completed a pass for five yards.
As the clock turned to the final minute, TSU quarterback Zed Woerner dropped back to pass and fired a shot toward the sideline and wide receiver Cornelius Carrington. The pass hit Carrington in the helmet and bounced up into the arms of UCO defensive back Omari Cole.
Cole caught it, semi-unsure if he had a dead ball in his hands, or the game-sealing interception. The refs didn’t blow a whistle though, and Cole took off, darting down the sideline toward the end zone. He stepped out of bounds at the 5-yard line. Central then lined up in victory formation, took a knee twice, and walked away winners.
Cole’s interception was the only turnover of the game. Both offenses traded blows like a heavyweight fight. In the second half, the first three scores each came on drives of three plays.
Tarleton scored to take a 21-17 lead just 58 seconds into the half. UCO responded with a 3-play, 66-yard drive to re-take the lead 24-21.
The Bronchos scored on a 55-yard run from Bruce White. The freshman running back made his case for MVP, carrying the ball 23 times Saturday for 216 yards and the one touchdown.
Tarleton scored quickly again on a 3-play, 75-yard drive to go up 28-24, before Stallard found Curry on the big 42-yard touchdown pass.
Curry finished with two catches for 48 yards. UCO seniors Josh Crockett and J.T. Luper were keyed in on the entire day. Crockett had four catches for 48 yards, and Luper, who is a finalist for the Harlon Hill trophy, finished with 49 yards on nine catches.
Luper finished his tremendous, electrifying season with 110 catches for 1,593 and 12 touchdowns.
UCO’s defensive effort was led by Riley Galyon’s nine tackles. Colton Lindsey had eight tackles and a sack and made a pair of big stops in the fourth quarter to stall are charging Tarleton State. Alex Figueroa and O’Shay Harris each had five tackles. Trey Wormington added a second sack for the Bronchos.
UCO finishes the season 8-4 with its second bowl win in three seasons.