“We just didn't tackle very well on the defensive side of the ball ... we have to decide whether we want to put our face in the fan,” Bobeck said. “We're not going to beat them up mentally, but our kids are going to have to grow up in a hurry because it's not going to get any easier. We have some more tough games coming up.”
Pitt State, with just one losing season since 1977, was in control by halftime, leading the conference game 34-3. The Gorillas scored on their first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh possessions while churning out 243 yards on UCO's scrambling defense.
Even some of the smallest victories came at a cost for UCO. The Bronchos sacked Abenoja for a big loss, but a couple of defensive players were so thrilled that they were penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration. Thus, Pitt State's offense went on to score for a 20-0 lead.
Frustration and carelessness accounted for other penalties, including a 15-yarder for face mask and another for unnecessary roughness for pushing a Pitt State player out of the end zone after he scored.
“We've got some talented football players here,” Bobeck said after a long postgame meeting with his club. “We've got some good kids. But we've got to put some pressure on the older guys — and we don't have many of them — to teach the younger kids leadership and how to be successful. We're (coaches) are trying to teach them, too, but teaching leadership isn't easy.”
UCO finished with 431 yards. Birmingham ran for 152 on 17 carries. Quarterback Adrian Nelson added 194 yards passing, including a 21-yard TD to Marquez Clark with 4:14 left in the game.