UCO Football Wins President’s Cup
Photo: Senior linebacker Jas’sen Stoner, 48, left, and senior defensive tackle Deontay Wilson, 90, of the UCO Bronchos hold the President’s Cup following the game against Northwestern State University on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. The Bronchos won the game with a final score of 17-14, claiming the President’s Cup until they play NSU in 2017. Photo by Cara Johnson, The Vista.
The University of Central Oklahoma’s football team went onto the gridiron for the final time this season to face their arch rivals, the Northeastern State Riverhawks.
The start of the game was not in UCO’s favor as junior running back Clay McKenzie fumbled the ball on their first drive of the game. On their next possession, Eckert was intercepted by junior Ashton Antwine, but the third time was a charm for the Bronchos when McKenzie ran in a 7-yard touchdown.
The Bronchos held a 7-0 lead until there was 3:02 left in the second quarter and Dimonic McKinzy threw an 8-yard touchdown to senior Steffon Herd, which tied the game. It remained tied 7-7 at the end of the first half.
Junior Addison Staggs started the third quarter with an interception. Staggs had a total of 8 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Later in the third quarter, sophomore Austin Dodd hit his first career field goal from 27 yards to take back the lead, 10-7.
The Bronchos did not hold onto their lead for long when McKinzy threw another touchdown, this time to senior wide receiver Matthew Butler, closing the third quarter.
After the score, UCO went on a 77-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes and ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Eckert to junior Caleb Moss, taking the lead back 17-14.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Bronchos faced a crucial fourth-and-goal at the Northeastern State 2-yard line with 1:20 left on the clock.
The Bronchos decided to go for it with McKenzie taking the snap out of the wildcat formation, but came up short turning the ball over on downs.
“We decided we wanted to make them go the distance,” Bobeck said.
Northeastern State started their last drive down 17-14, with 1:14 left from their own 2-yard line.
The Riverhawks got all the way to the Bronchos’ 35-yard line with a fresh set of downs, but McKinzy threw four straight incomplete passes and turned the ball over on downs, sealing the game for the Bronchos at 17-14.
This is the third straight year the Bronchos have taken home the President’s Cup, bringing their all-time record against Northeastern State to 47-27-2.
“To win the President’s Cup and to send those 11 seniors out on top; it’s a big deal,” said Bobeck
The Bronchos were led by senior quarterback T.J. Eckert, who threw for 300 yards and a touchdown.
Eckert finished his UCO career as the all-time leader in individual offensive yards with 6,279.
“He is a high-character guy that continues to fight and he responded today,” said UCO coach, Nick Bobeck.
The Bronchos finished their season with a record of 3-8.