Special to The Sun
No. 8-ranked Northwest Missouri struck for two early touchdowns and Central Oklahoma never recovered as the Bronchos absorbed a 70-7 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association beating Saturday afternoon at Wantland Stadium.
The Bearcats threw consecutive 61-yard touchdown passes on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead just two minutes into the game, were up 35-0 at halftime and added long interception and kickoff return TDs in a 35-point second half to hand UCO its worst loss since a 99-0 defeat to Oklahoma in 1917.
NWMSU also set a Wantland Stadium record for points scored in improving to 5-1 on the year and 4-1 in the league. The Bronchos fell to 1-5 overall and in the MIAA.
“We got whipped in every phase of the game,” first-year UCO head coach Nick Bobeck said. “That’s a great football team and they just took it to us from the start.”
The Bearcats racked up 466 yards in just 53 plays, averaging 8.8 yards a snap. Quarterback Trevor Adams completed 10-of-12 passes for 248 yards and TDs of three, 27, 43, 61 and 61 yards.
UCO managed just 264 total yards (133 rushing, 131 passing). Junior running back Joshua Birmingham was held to a career-low 17 yards on 10 rushes, while quarterback Adrian Nelson finished 16-of-35 passing for 119 yards and three interceptions.
Christian Hood set a single-game school record with nine kickoff returns, though he was limited to 129 yards.
NWMSU led 35-0 at halftime and made it 42-0 early in the third quarter on a 49-yard interception return.
The Bronchos answered that with their long scoring drive of the game, going 75 yards in 15 plays as Nelson completed 5-of-8 passes for 62 yards while Birmingham had a 10-yard burst on a fourth-and-one play.
Nelson got the touchdown with a 17-yard toss to Sam Johnson, who made a nice catch in traffic in the middle of the end zone.
That cut UCO’s deficit to 42-7, but it was 49-7 just 13 seconds later as Jordan Simmons returning the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Adams had his fifth TD pass later in the period and the Bearcats added two rushing scores in the final frame to arrange the final margin.
The Bronchos continue their rugged MIAA schedule next week, traveling to Warrensburg, Mo. to take on Central Missouri.