Mike Cochran took the advice of a fellow football coach and watched old film of a speedy running back who once played at Perry High School.
“I had met this coach last spring on a mission trip to Serbia,” said Cochran, the Southern Nazarene University coach. “He told me that he had a kid that I needed to look at, so we went through the whole process — something in my gut told me this was a guy we needed to have. I wanted to give him a chance.”
The gut feeling was right. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Brian Yenor, a true freshman on the football field but a junior in the classroom, will start his third collegiate game when the Crimson Storm hosts Southern Arkansas in Bethany.
Yenor ran for 3,349 yards and 37 touchdowns during his prep career at Perry, known more for its wrestling prowess than football accolades. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder was barely recruited as a senior, so he chose to become a regular student. He attended Oklahoma State and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa Junior College, and all that time, Yenor said, “I was dying to play football again.”
Yenor finished fall camp as SNU's third-string running back. He advanced to No. 2 on the depth chart, and then a couple of weeks ago, Yenor moved to starter when Chris Hunter left the team. Hunter returned to his native Louisiana for personal reasons.
“It was kind of scary,” Yenor said. “Third year of college, and I hadn't played a down of football in three years ...”
Yenor has excelled.
During his debut as Division II starter, Yenor ran for 110 yards on 28 carries against East Central. A week ago, against Southeastern State, he collected 99 yards and his first college touchdown on 16 carries.
“Those were pretty good run defenses that he went against the past two weeks,” Cochran said. “He's kind of a throwback player, a guy who will get tough yards on his own. He never goes backwards on first contact. He's the kind of guy this program has been built around. I'm proud of him.”
ECKERT GETS START FOR UCO VS. CENTRAL MISSOURI
*Redshirt freshman quarterback T.J. Eckert is expected to start a second consecutive game for Central Oklahoma at 1 p.m. Saturday against Central Missouri in Edmond. He would replace senior Adrian Nelson, who has a wrist injury. Eckert started Oct. 12 at Northwest Missouri State, becoming the first freshman QB to start a Central Oklahoma game since Ben Morrison in 1988.
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