Bronchos’ Win Stings Hornets
Senior wide receiver Josh Crockett, 6, falls into the end zone in the last minute of the game, ensuring the 53-52 win for UCO against Emporia State on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Wantland Stadium. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista).
The University of Central Oklahoma football team snapped a three-game losing streak as they beat the Emporia State Hornets 53-52 at Wantland Stadium.
“We found a way to scratch one out today,” UCO Head Coach Nick Bobeck said. “We executed well enough at the end of the game in some critical situations and I’m proud of them. It shows the type of character these kids have.”
Emporia State came out of the gates strong as they took the opening drive 75-yards for a touchdown to take a quick 7-0 lead.
After a UCO three-and-out, the Broncho defense forced a fourth-and-1 and blocked the Hornets field goal attempt. The offense capitalized on the turnover as quarterback Chas Stallard found Caleb Moss for a 2-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 in the middle of the first quarter.
Following a pair of stops, the Bronchos struck again as Stallard found wide receiver Romel Price for an 11-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The touchdown catch was the first catch of Price’s career.
Emporia State answered with a score of their own as Braxton Marstall connected with Louis Dailey for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive to tie it at 14. The Bronchos responded as Stallard threw a pass to Price for a 30-yard gain to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Chandler Garrett to give the Bronchos a 21-14 lead. The Bronchos added two more points when Emporia State snapped the ball over Marstalls’s head, which resulted in a safety giving the Bronchos a 23-14 lead in the middle of the second quarter.
The Broncho offense kept rolling as Stallard found wide receiver J.T. Luper for a 33-yard touchdown, hauling it in between two defenders to put the Bronchos up 29-13 following a missed extra point.
Emporia State cut the Bronchos lead before half-time as Marstall found Justin Brown on a 7-yard touchdown pass to make the score 29-21.
The Bronchos offense totaled 313 yards in the first half, 259 of them coming from Stallard. Luper caught six passes for 137-yards and one touchdown.
Emporia State stuck first in the second half on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Marstall to Landon Nault to cut the Broncho lead to 29-28 to start the third quarter.
After a Broncho three-and-out, Emporia State tacked on three more points as kicker Austin Morton hit a 29-yard field goal to give the Hornets a 31-29 lead, their first lead since the first quarter.
After another Broncho three-and-out, Emporia State found the end zoneas Dailey hauled in his third touchdown of the game on a 14-yard pass, as the Hornets took a 38-29 lead late third quarter.
After a Broncho punt to start the fourth quarter, Emporia State connected on an 81-yard pass that gave the Hornets the ball on the UCO 2-yard line where three plays later Nault punched it in to take a 45-29 lead on 31-unanswered points.
The Bronchos would not go down without a fight as Stallard found Luper for a 15-yard touchdown. Stallard threw to running back Quan Hogan for the 2-point conversion to make it a 45-37 game middle of the fourth quarter.
Emporia State responded with a touchdown of their own as Nault had a 16-yard touchdown run to increase their lead to 52-37 with 5:33 left in the game.
On the following drive, Stallard found Luper once again on a strike from 28-yards out to cut the Hornets lead to 52-45 with 3:29 left in the game after a 2-point conversion.
The Bronchos were able to recover the onside kick on the following kickoff, as linebacker Chris Pogi recovered the ball at their own 46-yard line.
The Bronchos did not waste the opportunity as Stallard found wide receiver L’liott Curry on a fourth down conversion and on the next play linked up with Luper for a 13-yard touchdown to bring the Bronchos within one, with :20 seconds left in the game.
The Bronchos went for the win and converted a 2-point conversion as wide receiver Josh Crockett ran into the endzone on a double-reverse to give the Bronchos a 53-52 lead. The defense forced a fumble that went out of bounds on the last play of the game to secure the win.
“I felt like we were beat up a little bit on defense,” Bobeck said about his reason to go for two. “I didn’t know if we could hold up throughout an overtime period.”
Stallard was able to continue his record-setting ways as he became UCO’s all-time leader in career touchdowns and tied a school record for single-game touchdown passes with six. He is now third all-time in single-game passing yards with 442, which is now his career high.
“He’s huge,” Bobeck said. “He’s done this his whole career. He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met. There was a quarterback battle in 2015-2016 and it would’ve been real easy for him to pack his stuff up and now his going to go down as one of the all-time greats. I’m a huge fan.”
Luper came into the game leading the nation in receiving yards and receiving yards per game. Luper’s 12-catches are second all-time in school history for catches in a game.
“We know his special,” Bobeck said. “The more you can get the ball in his hands the better you’re going to be. We’re always looking to get him the ball.”
The Bronchos look to keep the positive momentum going as they travel to Northwest Missouri State University next Saturday.