EDMOND — Nick Bobeck is not an excuses type of guy. And the University of Central Oklahoma football coach does not expect his players to list reasons why they've lost every game this season.
But it's time for the Bronchos to come clean. Truth is, this team plays one of the nastiest schedules drawn up in Division II football.
UCO fell to 0-5 Saturday night by losing to another nationally ranked squad, 63-30 to No. 6 Missouri Western, before an estimated 2,000 fans at Wantland Stadium.
It's not as though UCO hand-picked picked this muscle-bound schedule as much as it had no choice. As a second-year member of the powerful Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, every game on the Bronchos' schedule is a league matchup.
And it just so happens that five MIAA teams are currently in the Top 25. Central Oklahoma has played four of them already, and the fifth comes next week at undefeated, No. 3-ranked Northwest Missouri State.
Before Saturday's game, the combined record of UCO's first-five opponents was 19-1. The only loss belonged to unranked Missouri Southern, and even then, the Lions owned a 3-1 mark going into their game against Central Missouri.
“That's where we want to compete, where we want to be. We want to play those guys,” Bobeck said. “But our kids have to learn how to do things correctly all of the time in order for us to win some of those ballgames.”
Offensively, UCO is a blast to watch. Behind a potent foursome of running back Joshua Birmingham, quarterback Adrian Nelson and wide receivers Marquez Clark and Christian Hood, the Bronchos have averaged a salty 29.7 points and 486 yards per game.
Saturday night, Central Oklahoma finished with 516 yards, just six short of the victor's total.
Nelson completed 11 of 15 passes for 187 yards before he was sidelined in the third quarter with a wrist injury. Clark caught nine passes for 139 yards and returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown — the first punt return for a TD for Central Oklahoma since 2003. Hood snagged four balls for 116, including an over-the-shoulder 56-yarder that helped set up the Bronchos' game-opening scoring drive.
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