Central Oklahoma opens the home portion of its football season at 6 p.m. Saturday, taking on No. 16-ranked Pittsburg State (Kan.) at Wantland Stadium in Edmond.
Pitt State will offer quite a challenge for the Bronchos, who spent practice this week trying to plug leaks on defense after allowing 52 points in a season-opening loss at Missouri Southern. UCO surrendered 473 total yards to the Lions' triple-option offense. Missouri Southern sophomore quarterback Jay McDowell ran up 121 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 232 yards and two TDs.
The Lions needed every bit of it, too. They only beat Central by 14.
“We've got a talented football team. We can see that. But we've still got to bring some young kids along, young kids who are going to have to come up with some big plays for us,” UCO coach Nick Bobeck said. “The bright lights might have got to them a little bit, the speed of the game, and stopping the triple option is tough. But they kept fighting.”
Saturday, Pitt State will be led by junior quarterback Anthony Abenoja. He was chosen as Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Offensive Player of the Week after overwhelming Northeastern Oklahoma State. Abenoja accounted for 314 total yards and four touchdowns during the Gorillas' 45-6 rout.
*Northeastern A&M had six turnovers and 92 penalty yards in its 37-19 loss to previously winless Coffeyville (Kan.) last week. NEO, which fell from No. 7 to 17th in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, only led once in the game, 13-6, after Sheldon Wilson's 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Coffeyville turned three NEO turnovers into 21 points.
The Red Ravens started the season with a 30-point loss to Hutchinson (Kan.) and 65-point setback to Trinity Valley (Texas). NEO hosts Trinity Valley on Oct. 5.
“This game was an example of a total lack of concentration and not being dialed in on our part,” NEO coach Sherad Poteete told the Miami News-Record. “Coffeyville didn't come out and just whip us. We didn't take care of our business.”
*Henderson State handed Southern Nazarene its worst loss in program history last week, 82-10, in Arkadelphia, Ark. The No. 13-ranked Reddies rolled up a school- and Great American Conference-record 855 total yards. Henderson State quarterback Kevin Rodgers, who was named GAC Player of the Year last season, threw for 468 yards and six touchdowns.
SNU (0-1) opens the home season at 6 p.m. Saturday against an Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) club that has not played yet.
Qumain Black of East Central was named Great American Conference Defensive Player of the Week. The junior out of Ada High School intercepted two passes with 138 return yards during the Tigers' 46-22 victory over Arkansas-Monticello. Black's 58-yard interception return in the first quarter set up East Central's second touchdown of the game. He returned the second interception 80 yards for a TD.
Michael Hearne of Southern Nazarene shot a school-record 62 during the final round of the Great American Conference Invitational at the Lake Hefner North Golf Course. The junior finished with a three-round 203 and won the individual championship by two strokes over Alex Mablik of Arkansas Tech. Southern Nazarene finished third as a team, six strokes behind champion Harding (Ark.).
JUST FOR KICKS
Chloe Murphy scored two goals for St. Gregory's, which snapped a 30-game losing streak last Saturday with its 3-2 women's soccer decision over Tabor (Kan.). St. Gregory's picked up another goal when the ball went into the Tabor net after an errant pass. St. Gregory's had not won a game since Sept. 15, 2011, against Bethel (Kan.). The Cavaliers' three goals were their most in a game since Sept. 2, 2011.
Oklahoma City U. added a pair of coaches recently. Liza Dickson was named women's rowing coach, and Melissa Simmons was hired as an assistant women's wrestling coach.
Dickson last coached the Sarasota Crew in Florida. Sarasota Crew won the varsity eight last year at the youth nationals. Dickson replaces Melanie Borger, who is now the director of athletic programs for Oklahoma City Riversport.
Simmons was the 72-kilogram national champion in 2008 for OCU. She helped the Stars win three team national titles.