The University of Central Oklahoma football team finished on a frantic pace, but came up short, in a 50-43 loss to Missouri Western Saturday afternoon in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association play at Wantland Stadium.
Central outscored MWSU 26-15 in the fourth quarter, and outgained the Griffons 531-467 in the game. But untimely mistakes got the best of the Bronchos in Week 7.
"We made a handful of mistakes today and it was a handful of mistakes too many," UCO head football coach Nick Bobeck said. "We played well and there were some good things that we can take from this game, but the mistakes we made cost us. We have to correct those mistakes moving forward."
UCO had just one turnover on the day, but it came after the defense made a big stop early in the fourth quarter. Missouri Western punted out of its own end zone to Dustin Basks, who couldn't field the kick. MWSU recovered and went down the field to score following the turnover.
Central also missed three field goals on the day, and failed a pair of two-point conversion attempts. One of the missed field goals was blocked, and Western scored two plays later on that change of possession.
Chandler Garrett got the start for the Bronchos at quarterback and the junior put up big numbers in the Central attempt Saturday. Garrett had season and career highs in both passing and rushing yards, and landed in the top-five in school history for total offense.
He finished 16-for-32 passing with 299 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 22 carries for 155 yards and two scores. His 454 yards of total offense is tied for the fifth-best mark in UCO football history.
Garrett started early Saturday. He ran for a career-long 59 yards on the first play of the game. Then hit Amonte Phillips for a 16-yard touchdown two plays later to put UCO up 7-0 after just 107 seconds of play.
After Missouri Western tied the game, 7-7, Garrett capped off a 7-play, 63-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put Central back in the lead, 14-7, with 4:28 to play in the first quarter.
Western again tied the game, 14-14, but an Alex Quevedo field goal from 42 yards out — a season long — gave the Bronchos a 17-14 lead with 10:09 to play in the fourth quarter.
But this is where Central had a problem Saturday. MWSU scored 21 unanswered points in 5:10 as the first half drew to a close. The third touchdown in that sequence followed the blocked field goal attempt. Quevedo missed another as time expired in the first half, and Central Oklahoma trailed 35-17 as it went to the locker room.
Despite 93 total points in the game, there were no scores in the third quarter. But that only setup the frantic fourth quarter.
Dustin Basks got a 10-yard touchdown pass from Garrett to make it 35-23 with 12:47 to play in the game. A busted play on the two-point try left it at that score. Then after forcing a 3 & out, Basks muffed the punt and Western recovered, scoring five plays later to go up 42-23.
But Central kept fighting. Garrett kept fighting.
Garrett found Basks for a 27-yard first down. He then ran for nine on the next play. One snap after that, a 39-yard touchdown pass from Garrett to Basks. Another failed two-point try made it 42-29 with 7:55 to play.
Central then got a big play on the ensuing kickoff. Jakarri Hunt forced a fumble and O'Shay Harris recovered it and took it 18 yards to the Western 11-yard line. Garrett ran in his second touchdown of the day from a yard out and Quevedo hit the extra point to make it 42-36 with 6:33 to play.
Western finally delivered the dagger.
A 3-play, 75-yard drive was highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown on 3rd & 5 and MWSU took a 50-36 lead with five minutes left on the clock.
Central Oklahoma went 75 yards on its next possession to score one last time. Garrett connected with Basks again, this time on a 25-yard touchdown pass, and UCO made it 50-43 with 2:41 to play. But the Bronchos couldn't recover the onside kick. Western ran the clock out and got out of town with the win.
Central Oklahoma is now 2-5 on the season. The Bronchos have dropped four straight for the first time since 2015.
UCO will play on the road in Week 8 before a back-to-back homestand in Week's 9 and 10. Central Oklahoma visits Washburn in Topeka, Kan. next weekend. The Bronchos return home to face Missouri Southern on Saturday, Nov. 2 and Northeastern State on Saturday, Nov. 9 before closing the 2019 season on the road at Emporia State Saturday, Nov. 16.
Basks led the Bronchos Saturday with 10 catches for 204 yards — the latter a career high and the ninth-most in one game in UCO history. His three touchdown catches is also a career high. The senior from Claremore, Okla. is now 11th in school history with 108 career receptions and 14th in school history with 1,500 career receiving yards. He also has 14 career receiving touchdowns.
T.J. Roberts added 40 yards to Garrett's 155 to give UCO 195 on the day. Dawson Huddleston had four catches for 79 yards and Phillips had three for 53 yards and the one touchdown. Phillips also threw the ball once for a 37-yard first down to Huddleston. That set up a Garrett touchdown run in the first quarter.
Harris and Hunt led the Broncho defense Saturday. Harris had a team-high 12 tackles, one for a loss, and added the fumble recovery. Hunt was second with nine tackles, one sack, and the forced fumble. Isaiah Major added five tackles while Drequan Brown and Derrick Shaw both had four tackles.