For 15 minutes, Homecoming looked like it might be a disaster for the UCM Mules. The University of Central Oklahoma took the opening kickoff, marched 61 yards on 10 plays and hit a 32-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Bronchos (2-4) forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and added a 26-yard field goal. They intercepted senior quarterback Brook Bolles on the Mules’ next possession and threw a double pass for a 31-yard touchdown and before the marching bands had gotten to their seats, the University of Central Missouri was trailing 13-0.
But then someone must have given the Mules a double shot of espresso, because it was all UCM (6-0) from the second quarter on. They scored 23-unanswered points, racked up 543 yards of total offense (301 through the air, 242 on the ground) and ran away with the 44-26 win. Of their six scoring drives, four were at least 75 yards.
“We didn’t help ourselves out,” head coach Jim Svoboda said. “For the second week in a row, we faced a team that changed their philosophy on defense and it took us a couple series to get it together.”
Boy, did they, none more so than junior tailback Devante Turner. He took on more of a role when Koby Wilkerson went down with an injury and rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, returned a punt 87 yards for a score, and racked up 314 all-purpose yards in the game.
Junior tight end Zach Davidson was also brilliant in the win with five receptions for 173 yards and a pair of scores. It was his second straight game with at least 170 yards and two touchdowns.
“Defenses know (we’re throwing to Zach), but I’m not sure they know what to do about it,” Svoboda said.
Senior linebacker Kolesen Crane stuffed the box score with six total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a recovery. He led a defense that racked up seven sacks and forced a pair of turnovers.
“They (the Bronchos) got outside contain a couple times, but I thought our defense was pretty stellar most of the day,” Svoboda said. “Our defensive line continues to improve, continues to hassle the opposing quarterback. We take turns making plays and getting takeaways and it really showed up today.”
The Mules will put their undefeated record on the line Saturday when they take on Emporia (Kan.) State University at 2 p.m. at Welch Stadium in Emporia.