Bronchos Fall in Pitt State
UCO wide receiver J.T. Luper, 2, runs the ball avoiding Pitt State safety Creighton Sanders, 20, on Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (Provided/Carla Wehmeyer, Pitt State Athletic Photographer)
The University of Central Oklahoma’s football team had a late game comeback fall short as the Bronchos lost to Pittsburg State 31-28 on the road.
“We fought well, but they made the right adjustments and were better tonight,” Head Coach Nick Bobeck said. “I’m proud of the way the guys fought late, they never gave up. We had to overcome some things and they kept fighting.”
The Bronchos did not get off to a strong start surrendering a touchdown after just three minutes. UCO’s first drive was aided by a couple of 15-yard penalties from Pitt State and a 35-yard kick return by wide receiver J.T. Luper. Running back Clay McKenzie finished off the drive on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Following a Broncho stop, quarterback Chas Stallard and the offense took over at their own 5-yard line. The offense marched down the field on an 11-play drive that was finished by Stallard’s 1-yard touchdown run to take a 14-7 lead. Pitt State went on a 10-0 run and took a 17-14 lead into the half.
The Bronchos started the second half with a 6-yard touchdown grab from wide receiver Josh Crockett, as the Bronchos took a 21-17 lead. However, Pitt State responded with a 14-0 scoring run on a 60-yard touchdown run and then a blocked punt return for a touchdown to take a 31-21 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Bronchos would not go away as Stallard connected with Luper for an 86-yard touchdown with 2:39 left in the game to cut the Pitt State lead to 31-28. Pitt State recovered the onside kick and was able to run out securing a 31-28 win over the Bronchos.
Safety Riley Galyon led the Bronchos with 14-tackles and linebackers Johnny Harris and Colton Lindsey registered 12 and 8-tackles.
“The effort was good,” Bobeck said. “The defense played really well. I was happy with that. They made a couple of turnovers and had the big play on special teams, but defensively, we did well.”
On the offensive end, Jake Gandara led UCO in rushing with 45-yards on 5-carries and Luper finished the day with 7-catches for 170 yards and one touchdown
“That’s part of who he (Luper) is,” Bobeck said. “We have to get the ball in his hands because he can do that. We missed on a few of those big plays so I’m glad we got that one.”
Stallard continued his pursuit of the school record for all-time total offense as his 282 total yards on the day puts him at 6,243 career total yard of offense, 36 yards away from T.J. Eckert’s record.
The Bronchos look to get back on track this Saturday as they host Fort Hays State at 7 p.m. at Wantland Stadium.