With a win on a very windy day, the Bronchos improve to 3-4 while the Lopers fall to 2-5. For the second Saturday in a row, the momentum swung right before halftime and against the Lopers. Down 10-6, UNK was working its way down the field and called timeout with 50 seconds left from the UCO 23-yard line. On the very next play from scrimmage, Robinson picked off sophomore quarterback Steve Worthing (Elkhorn South) at the two-yard line and went all the way for six points.
Coming into the game, the ‘Chos had forced just two turnovers on the season. That total is now five as they recovered a fumbled punt in the first quarter and picked off Worthing earlier in the second quarter. UNK’s lone forced turnover was a first quarter INT by senior safety George Brown (St. Louis), his sixth career pick.
The teams combined for 17 second half points as UCO got a 31-yard field goal from freshman Alex Quevedo at the 6:38 mark of the third quarter. After making a stop on fourth down, the ‘Chos saw senior QB Chas Stallard throw a 48-yard TD pass to sophomore receiver L’liott Curry with 4:24 left in the game. The score came on third and six.
UNK responded with an 11-play, 76-yard drive that culminated with a Dayton Sealey (Hastings St. Cecilia) four-yard run. Earlier in the quarter, the redshirt freshman back had a 24 yard run that ties for the longest scamper by a Loper this year. Kearney ended the day with advantages in offensive yards (407-383) and offensive plays (79-66) and also was a solid 8 of 17 on third down. UCO did have the ball for three more minutes as they ran 35 times for 194 yards (5.5 avg.). UNK held opponents under 100 yards rushing over the first five weeks but has allowed 383 the past two Saturday’s.
Replacing two injured seniors in the starting lineup, Standlee (6-0, 185 lbs.) reached his rushing total in 16 carries. He had runs of 13, 15, 37 and 39 yards and also caught four passes for 22 yards. Standlee came in with 168 yards on 53 carries.
UCO’s career leader in total offense, Stallard ran for 40 yards on 11 carries and was 20 of 31 for 189 yards, two TD’s and that one pick. He completed passes to five teammates, including senior receiver J.T. Luper (11 recep., 89 yds.). Luper came in leading Division II in yards per game (162.0). This marks his third game with a double digit catch total.
The ‘Chos started the scoring by taking the opening kickoff and marching 68 yards in seven plays. Senior receiver Josh Crockett bobbled but still caught a nine-yard pass from Stallard to end things. Midway through the second quarter, Quevedo booted a 28-yard field goal to make it 10-6.
To tally a season-best 407 yards, UNK had seven drives go at least 30 yards. The only scoring drive in the first half was 13-play, 57-yard effort that ended when sophomore back Thomas Russell (Millard West) caught an eight-yard pass from Worthing.
After punting the first three times it had the ball in the second half, the Lopers moved the ball 59 yards in eight plays. However, on fourth and sixth from the UCO 37-yard line, a pass from Worthing to junior Sedarius Young (Orlando, Fla.) fell incomplete. A few plays later, Stallard threw that 48-yard TD pass.
Having his second busiest day as a passer, Worthing finished 25 of 46 for 278 yards. The completions tie a career-high with his attempts tied for the ninth most in school history. Last fall, Worthing was 25 of 48 in a loss at Missouri Southern State.
Sealey (35), Worthing (34) and Russell (32) all went over 30 yards of rushing with sophomore Austan Daniels (Omaha Burke) having four catches for 60 yards. Nine others caught at least one pass, including junior Marvin Marshall (Miami) with five and Russell with three.
Forcing five punts and making a late fourth down stop, the Loper defense saw sophomore inside backer Sal Silvio (Kansas City) make a team-high 10 tackles. Seven of those stops were of the solo variety.
Next, Brown and fellow safety Dallas Vaughn (St. Louis) had seven tackles apiece with sophomore end Hinwa Allieu (Gaithersburg, Md.) having UNK’s only sack of the day. Finally, redshirt freshman Grant Buschkoetter (Kearney Catholic) averaged 41.0 yards a punt and had a long effort travel 68 yards.
UNK hosts Northeastern State (0-7) next weekend. The RiverHawks fell to No. 1 NW Missouri State today at home, 42-14. The game can be heard on 880 KRVN, 106.9 and krvn.com.