Special to The Sun
Central Oklahoma’s rugged Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association schedule continues Saturday when the Bronchos entertain defending champion and No. 6-ranked Missouri Western. Kickoff at 10,000-seat Wantland Stadium is 6 p.m.
UCO is 0-4 on the season and in the league, while the Griffons are 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA.
MWSU will be the third ranked opponent in five games for the Bronchos, whose first five foes are a combined 19-1.
Central Oklahoma was picked 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media in the pre-
season conference poll. The Griffons tied for first in the coaches poll and were tabbed second by the media.
Missouri Western leads the short series, 3-0. The Griffons won 26-7 at home in 2005 and 32-29 in overtime in ‘06 at Wantland Stadium before earning a 45-23 home victory last year in the first MIAA meeting between the two teams.
The Bronchos possess a 156-87-5 record in their 49th season at Wantland Stadium. UCO has lost five straight home games, the last three of 2012 and the first two this year.
Last week UCO had its best defensive outing of the season in holding No. 15 Washburn 25 points under its scoring average, but the Ichabods had two long scoring passes in the third quarter of a 28-19 victory. Adrian Nelson passed for 308 yards and the Bronchos outgained WU 439-396.
The Griffons rolled over Fort Hays State 52-21, breaking the game open with a 28-point third quarter. MWSU rushed for 240 of its 399 yards in the game.
Next week UCO goes on the road to face a second straight top-10 MIAA foe, traveling to Maryville, Mo. to play No. 3 Northwest Missouri.
Broncho running back Joshua Birmingham accounted for 128 yards in last week’s tough loss at Washburn. The senior star carried 18 times for 69 yards and a one-yard touchdown in addition to catching two passes for 59 yards. He didn’t return a kickoff for the first time this season.
Birmingham leads the conference in scoring (15.0 points/game) while ranking second in rushing (120.8 yards/game) and fourth in all-purpose (206.0 yards/game). Nationally, he’s third in scoring, ninth in all-purpose and 22nd in rushing.
Birmingham, out of Luther High School, has rushed for 483 yards and 10 TDs in 79 attempts (6.1/carry), having had 14 runs of 10-plus yards with a long of 73. He’s added 17 receptions for 163 yards (9.6/catch) and 13 kickoff returns for 178 yards (13.7/return). He has tallied at least one touchdown in 28 of 36 career games at UCO and is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 324 points (54 TDs).
He also owns the career record for all-purpose yards (5,453) and is second in career rushing yards (3,683) and receptions (143). Josh needs 678 yards to break the rushing record of 4,360 and 31 catches to surpass the receptions mark of 173.