By Dave Wagner, Freedom Newspapers
BLACKWATER DRAW — So close, but yet so far.
Central Oklahoma quarterback Ryan O’Hara led a 12-play, 89-yard drive in the final three minutes, throwing a 7-yard touchdown pass to Marcellus Parker with 26 seconds left to boost the Bronchos to a 19-16 win over Eastern New Mexico University on Saturday night at Greyhound Stadium.
O’Hara went 8-of-11 for 92 yards on the drive. Until then, ENMU’s defense had limited the Bronchos (2-2) to just two second-half first downs.
O’Hara went 19-of-30 for 228 yards, and also hit Parker on a 69-yard scoring pass late in the half.
“They’ve got a great team,” Bronchos coach Chuck Langston said of ENMU. “But I’m proud of our kids, to go on the road and do that. They could’ve laid down, but they didn’t.”
Junior quarterback Michael Benton rushed for 171 yards and both TDs for ENMU (1-2). He had 107 yards on eight carries in the third quarter alone as the Hounds erased a 12-7 halftime deficit.
“It was a tough loss,” said Benton, who was 3-of-10 through the air for 45 yards. “We made mistakes on both sides (of the ball), but the team left everything on the field.”
Benton led the Hounds on a four-play, 80-yard drive following the second half kickoff. He carried on three of the plays for 59 yards, including a 7-yard TD run with less than two minutes gone.
Benton directed another drive that carried from the ENMU 37 to the Bronchos’ 4, but he was hit from behind trying to make an option pitch and Central Oklahoma’s Burnell Smith recovered the fumble at the 13.