The Central Oklahoma Bronchos won’t be flying under the radar as they look to crash Fort Hays State’s homecoming.
The Bronchos got the Tigers’ full attention as soon as UCO pulled off a shocker last week, upsetting No. 4-ranked Northwest Missouri 31-21 last Saturday in Edmond, Okla.
“It just shows that in this conference, each week is crucial,” FHSU bandit Tanner Hoekman said. Anything can happen. If you go into any week like you’re just going to walk in and win, you’re crazy. It definitely opened our eyes, and I’m sure for other teams, too.”
FHSU coach Chris Brown made his No. 18-ranked Tigers aware of UCO’s upset before they got off the bus after returning from Joplin following a 55-20 win at Missouri Southern last weekend. Kickoff for the UCO game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Lewis Field Stadium.
Brown said a key for the 3-1 Tigers will be tuning out distractions.
“With Oktoberfest and homecoming and all those things going on, hopefully they can put those things aside and focus on this game and focus on winning this game,” Brown said.
The Bronchos jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter against Northwest and never relinquished control, pulling away with a pair of touchdowns in the third frame to open up a 28-3 lead.
“I think they got a couple big plays early offensively and it really gave them some confidence in that game,” Brown said. “When you’re playing with confidence and you’re playing fast and you’re playing physical and knowing you can beat a team, good things happen.
“They play very well defensively. Play a lot of man coverage and lock down their receivers and stop the run, which is a big part of what they did to stop Northwest. They just play confident, physical and aggressive. They just outplayed Northwest in that game.”
UCO sophomore quarterback Chandler Garrett made the most of his first career start, throwing for 274 yards and four touchdowns while adding 59 yards on the ground.
“He’s a good, solid quarterback. He can throw, can run,” Hoekman said. “They’re an all-around better team (than last year) I think.”
“We got to make sure we get some pressure on (Garrett) and keep him contained in the pocket and not let him run around and extend plays,” Brown said.
Fort Hays starting quarterback Jacob Mezera can take over FHSU’s career pass completions record with just two more completions. Mike Garrison holds the record of 542.
Mezera is also just four passing touchdown’s shy of Treveon Albert’s program record of 55.
Brown said Tuesday there was a possibility that Tigers could get senior center Nathan Hale back this week from an arm injury he suffered in the season opener against Central Missouri.