The first SWOSU Football game on record came against the University of Central Oklahoma in the first game of the 1905 season and the teams had played 88 all-time meetings before joining separate conferences in 2011. It was announced on Wednesday that SWOSU and UCO will again be reunited on the gridiron in the 2015 Live United Texarkana Bowl, to be played on December 5th in Texarkana, Arkansas.
The formal announcement of the bowl pairing was made on Wednesday morning at a press conference held at the Texarkana Convention Center in Crossroads Business Park. SWOSU Head Coach Dan Cocannouer was on hand for the event and spoke about his team’s excitement in securing their first postseason berth as members of NCAA Division II and their first postseason game since the 1996 NAIA National Championship game.
“We are proud and happy to be coming to play in the Live United Texarkana Bowl,” Cocannouer said. “Words can’t really describe how we feel, it’s a great honor and privilege for our football team. They’ve worked so hard to get themselves in position, winning the last six ball games like we knew we had to. It’s great for our program, it’s great for our school and we look forward to coming down here and playing Central Oklahoma.”
The game will mark the 89th all-time meeting between the programs, making it the second-most played rivalry in SWOSU Football history. The two teams had played in 18 consecutive seasons from 1994-2011 before the Bronchos joined the MIAA for the 2012 season while the Bulldogs began playing in the Great American Conference. The all-time record is in favor of UCO at 59-26-3, but SWOSU has won the last two matchups, including a 27-20 victory on September 23, 2011 at ASAP Energy Field in Weatherford.
Central Oklahoma enters the Live United Texarkana Bowl with a record of 6-5 after winning their final four games of the season to put themselves in a position to earn the at-large selection to the Bowl game. The Bronchos average 35.8 points per game this season, having scored 28 or more points in nine games, including their last seven heading into the postseason. The Bronchos are coached by UCO alum Nick Bobeck, who is in his fourth season at the helm of his alma mater and leading his team to a second consecutive bowl game appearance.
The renewal of the rivalry, even if just for one game, is one that will excite both fan bases and is expected to draw a great crowd for the third-annual Live United Texarkana Bowl. SWOSU and UCO become the second and third teams from the state of Oklahoma to play in the game, joining Southeastern Oklahoma State, who was defeated by Central Missouri 48-21 in last year’s edition.
“We’ve got a big support group up here at Southwestern,” Cocannouer said. “There will be a lot of Bulldog fans and SWOSU Alumni coming to Texarkana. This is big-time for us and we’re very excited about playing in the game and thankful for the opportunity.”
Cocannouer, the 2015 GAC Coach of the Year, led the Bulldogs to six consecutive victories to conclude the regular season and finish with an 8-3 overall record. That record is the best for SWOSU since joining NCAA Division II in 1997, and it includes an unblemished mark of 5-0 at ASAP Energy Field, the first time they have accomplished that feat since 2002.
Kickoff of the 2015 Live United Texarkana Bowl will be at noon on Saturday, December 5th from Razorback Stadium. Tickets are on sale now, costing $10 for adults and $4 for students with all tickets being general admission.