EDMOND — Two of the most successful football programs in small college history squared off Saturday night at Wantland Stadium.
The difference between the two: Pittsburg State (Kan.) has maintained its winning ways, while Central Oklahoma has floundered to the tune of seven losing seasons in the last eight years.
Not much has changed so far in 2013 as No. 16-ranked Pitt State blasted UCO 65-24 in the Bronchos' home opener before a crowd of 5,100.
Pittsburg State improved to 2-0 this season and 664-329-48 in its history. Central Oklahoma dropped to 0-2 and 597-368-46 since its first football season in 1902.
“The light is going to come on eventually,” said Nick Bobeck, in his second year as UCO coach and charged with rebuilding a two-time national championship program. “Athletically, I didn't think we were that far off from them, but we've obviously got a great deal of work to do. We've just got to circle the wagons and continue to press on.”
Central Oklahoma surrendered more than 50 points for a second consecutive week. The Bronchos gave up 52 at Missouri Southern on Sept. 5, but the difference between then and Saturday night was UCO kept the Lions on their heels by scoring 38 points. Against Pitt State? UCO was simply on another planet.
UCO's defense produced a few big hits that kept the crowd awake, and senior running back Joshua Birmingham gave folks something to cheer about when he shook loose for 73- and 16-yard touchdown runs in the second half. But Pitt State's offense was efficient as could be, punting just twice on 13 possessions and rolling up 599 yards for the game.
Pitt State quarterback Anthony Abenoja, who was named Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Offensive Player of the Week last Monday after leading the Gorillas' 45-6 rout of Northeastern Oklahoma State, will be up for the honor again next week. The junior completed 19 of 24 pass attempts for 211 yards and three touchdowns. He added 55 yards and a TD rushing.