Today we have two of the most storied teams competing in the first of two semifinal games. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO) is one of the longest participating team in the Hammer Bowl. NEO has competed in 7 out of 9 Hammer Bowl Championships between 2001 and 2009. Only Oklahoma has competed in more championships in that time. NEO’s only championship victory came in 2005 when NEO defeated OU at the Rose Bowl 15 to 4.
Central Missouri (UCM) surprised a lot of people by making back to back championship round appearances in just their first and second year after becoming a Hammer Bowl automatic qualifier. Central Missouri defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2010 semifinals before being defeated by Oklahoma at the Fiesta Bowl. Then Central Missouri defeated Southwestern Oklahoma State in the 2011 semifinals before falling to Oklahoma again in the championship.
Remember that the winner of this game will advance to Hammer Bowl XII and play the winner of the Oklahoma Vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State semifinal game.
Central Missouri won the toss and will elect to receive the ball first.
NEO is coming off the best season they have had in the last 7 seasons. They made a bowl appearance for the first time since 2005 and won their conference for the first time since 2003. Coach Patterson retired immediately following the bowl game so we will get to see the new coach, coach Poteete, for the first time. NEO receives the kickoff on the goal line and returns it to the 25. The opening drive of the game ends with NEO scoring.
NEO 6; UCM 0
The extra point is good.
NEO 7; UCM 0
UCM fails to score on their first possession but hold NEO to a punt on their second possession. With less than a minute left in the first quarter UCM scores.
NEO 7; UCM 6
A bobbled snap during the extra point attempt causes the place kicker to think quickly. In an impromptu 2 point attempt UCM manages to pull ahead as instant replay confirms that he barely broke the plane. I don’t think you can find that play in the UCM playbook but hey, in football anything is possible.
NEO 7; UCM 8
With less than a minute on the clock and on the ensuing kickoff NEO erases the momentum that UCM gained from the 2 point conversion. NEO returns it all the way for their second TD of the night.
NEO 13; UCM 8
The extra point attempt is no good.
End of 1st Quarter, NEO 13; UCM 8
Both teams play very sluggishly from the odd extra points that they suffered in the first quarter. Both teams have multiple 3 and outs. Just before the end of the 2nd quarter UCM attempts a field goal only to have it blocked. This has been a game about the kickers so far. Good kick and bad kicks on both the field goal team and the extra point team. Both teams punters see an ample amount of playing time as we head into half time.
End of 1st Half, NEO 13; UCM 8