Special to The Sun
Northeastern State’s Drew Patton kicked a 21-yard field goal with 1:53 remaining to cap a time-consuming drive and give the RiverHawks a 22-20 season-ending victory over Central Oklahoma here Saturday afternoon.
NSU drove 83 yards in 20 plays and ate up 8:46 of the clock before Patton knocked through his third field goal of the game to put the RiverHawks on top. A short kickoff and 22-yard return by Joshua Birmingham had UCO at its own 43, but the Bronchos could only move to the NSU 39 before turning the ball over on downs.
The RiverHawks finished 4-6 on the season and in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association by winning its final four games. The Bronchos ended 2-8 overall and in the league.
UCO jumped out to a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs of 23 yards by Adrian Nelson and one by Birmingham, but NSU rallied to get within 14-13 on Patton’s 31-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
Cayle Shambaugh’s interception on a tipped pass and 20-yard return to the UCO seven set up NSU’s go-ahead score, a five-yard TD pass from Johnny Deaton to Chucky Bryant early in the third period that made it 19-14.
The Bronchos regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on Nelson’s 43-yard scoring pass to Christian Hood, with the failed two-point conversion pass leaving UCO with a 20-19 lead.
That held up until NSU’s late drive, with the RiverHawks converting two fourth downs — one on an offsides penalty against UCO — before Patton came through.
Rockmore led NSU with 198 yards rushing on 33 carries, while Langston Jones finished with 15 tackles. Nelson was 18-of-35 passing for 211 yards for the Bronchos.