EDMOND — Central Oklahoma just couldn't get off the field when it needed to Saturday.
Clinging to a one-point lead with 10:39 remaining, the Bronchos failed to stop rival Northeastern State, and kicker Drew Patton made a game-winning 21-yard field goal against a stiff wind with 1:53 remaining to give the RiverHawks a 22-20 victory at Wantland Stadium.
“It comes down to kids making plays, and that's what we have to do as coaches,” UCO coach Nick Bobeck said. “We put the kids in the right spot, but we didn't get a stop. They ended up getting first down after first down after first down, and put our offense in a tough spot there at the end.”
The Bronchos (2-8) had one final chance to respond, starting at their own 43, but NSU's Jack Gray eventually broke up a pass on fourth down to end the game.
The RiverHawks, who finish the season 4-6, have now won three straight against UCO. More importantly, they gain momentum heading into their second season in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association with their fourth straight victory.
“I'm really excited, No. 1 because we found out we can compete with anybody in this conference,” NSU coach Kenny Evans said. “And No. 2, to finish with four wins and a positive note here in this last game.”
Northeastern State running back Joel Rockmore finished with 198 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark on the season.
The Bronchos led most of the game until RiverHawks quarterback Johnny Deaton connected with Chucky Bryant on a 5-yard TD pass in the third quarter for their first lead.
UCO quarterback Adrian Nelson later hit Christian Hood for a 43-yard TD with 13:53 remaining to regain the lead.
Nelson finished 18 of 35 for 211 yards, while running back Joshua Birmingham was limited to just 53 yards on 18 carries.
“Adrian's a really talented kid,” Bobeck said. “What we have to do with him is we have to put him in positive situations. We've got to get some guys that are making some plays on the edge, and we didn't make many plays at wide receiver today.”