Bronchos hope to build on big victory

Thursday, October 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) _ There's nothing like an unexpected victory to breathe some life into a team. Central Oklahoma's football team knows the feeling.

The Bronchos, who had won just two of their first four games, went on the road last week and beat Texas A&M-Kingsville, 21-13. It was their first victory at Kingsville, which is usually a powerhouse in the Lone Star Conference.

``It was a big thrill for us,'' coach Gary Howard said. ``We've had some awful big games with them, and of course we'd beaten them up here, but this was the first time we've gone down there and won.

``The locker room was real loud when it was all over. The players were extremely excited.''

An 86-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jerry Gardner gave the Bronchos (3-4, 3-2 LSC) a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. They extended it to 21-7 on a 1-yard touchdown by Brett Manning.

Central Oklahoma won despite being outgained 324-172 and not scoring in the second half.

``I felt like we lived up to what we would have to do to win,'' Howard said. ``We've had some close defeats and sometimes players can let down after something like that. But there was no sign of that.''

The Bronchos returns home Saturday afternoon to play East Central (3-4, 3-2). The Tigers got 130 yards rushing from Curtis McAfee and beat Southwestern Oklahoma 13-6 last week.

In other small-college games Saturday, Northeastern State plays host to Angelo State, Langston plays Lincoln, Panhandle State travels to Southwestern Oklahoma, Northwestern Oklahoma visits Quincy, Ill., and Southeastern Oklahoma travels to Midwestern State.

Northeastern State (5-1, 2-0) is atop the Lone Star north division and is ranked 13th in the latest American Football Coaches Association poll. Angelo State (4-2, 2-1) is ranked 25th.