Mules and Bronchos meet for first time

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Jason Strickland, Sports Editor

Redshirt junior quarterback Colter Smith scrambles during the Truman State game on Sept. 20. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)

UCM and Central Oklahoma met for the first time for Saturday’s Homecoming game.
Both teams are coming off a loss, as the Mules (4-2, 4-2) lost 30-21 at No. 1 Pittsburg State (5-0, 5-0), and the Bronchos (1-5, 1-5) lost at home against Northwest Missouri State (5-1, 4-1), 70-7.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Mules, but they don’t want that loss to affect this week.
“First thing you don’t want to happen is have the same game beat you twice,” head coach Jim Svoboda said. “You deal with it in as short amount of time as possible…and let it go.”
That mentality has worked for the Mules recently, as they have not lost back-to-back games since 2008.
Central Oklahoma is toward the bottom in many statistical categories in the MIAA, such as scoring offense (10th), scoring defense (14th) and turnover margin (11th), but Central faces some tough matchups with the Bronchos.
The Mules have allowed the fourth most sacks in the MIAA, and the Bronchos are the eighth best team in the conference in getting to the quarterback.
“Defensively, their strength is their defensive line,” Svoboda said. “They have four guys that really play hard every snap.”
UCO’s rushing attack is also dangerous, which is led by junior running back Josh Birmingham. He averages 85 yards per game rushing, which is fourth in the MIAA. His rush per carry average is 4.8.
In 2010, Birmingham was one of 24 candidates for the Harlon Hill Trophy, as he ran for 1,250 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also led the team in receptions with 49. This season he has 15 catches for 115 yards.