Special to The Sun
WARRENSBURG, Mo. —
A series of lightning delays forced the postponement of Central Oklahoma’s game at Central Missouri here early Saturday evening, with the Bronchos owning a 10-6 lead through one quarter.
The game started two hours later because of lightning, was delayed for nearly an hour late in the first quarter and again for another hour after just a few plays before coaches and game officials opted to postpone.
Action will resume with UCO facing a third-and-one at the UCM 45-yard-line on the first play of the second quarter at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s an unfortunate situation, but it was the best decision,” UCO coach Nick Bobeck said. “We had already warmed up and cooled down several times and it just wasn’t a good situation with the weather as unstable as it was.
“We just need to make sure we come out tomorrow with the same focus we had at the start of the game today. We were off to a good start and need to keep it going.”
The Bronchos racked up 154 yards in the first quarter behind quarterback Ethan Sharp, making his first start of the season in place of injured Adrian Nelson. Sharp was 8-of-11 passing for 86 yards in the first 15 minutes, while Joshua Birmingham had 40 yards rushing in just five carries.
Sharp led the Bronchos on a nine-play, 59-yard drive to start the game that ended with a 23-yard Chris Robbs field goal and an early 3-0 lead, hitting 4-of-6 passes for 31 yards.
Birmingham ripped off a 27-yard run through the right side to give UCO a first down at the UCM 12-yard line, but the drive stalled at the six and Robbs knocked through the chip-shot field goal just three minutes into the game.
Herbert Byrd had a sack to help slow UCM’s first drive and the Mules had to settle for a tying field goal, but the Bronchos answered that with another impressive drive to move back in front.
UCO went 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 10-3 lead on Birmingham’s four-yard touchdown run. Sharp tossed a 24-yard pass on a double reverse to spark the march, with Christian Bobo running for 19 yards on three consecutive carries to get the Bronchos to the four.
Birmingham ended it on the next play, smashing up the middle behind center Nick Garitano for the score with 3:47 left in the opening quarter.
A 32-yard kickoff return and 28-yard run quickly moved UCM to a first down at the UCO 30 before end Ashton Dandy and defensive back Dante’ Lipscomb made back-to-back stops to force the Mules into a 49-yard field goal that made it 10-6.
Lightning returned as the teams lined up for the ensuing kickoff to delay play for 58 minutes and the Bronchos ran three plays to end the first quarter before lightning again forced game officials to clear the field.
Finally, after another delay of more than an hour, the decision was made to postpone the game.