QUAPAW — Oklahoma State is called “Running Back U” for a reason.
And one might bestow that moniker on Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, except on the junior college level.
After all, the Golden Norse have had the offensive player of the year in back-to-back seasons in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference, in Darwin Thompson and Darran Williams as well as a handful of others who have gone on to play in the National Football League.
Williams and his Golden Norse teammates will be playing in the second Midwest Classic Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Red Robertson Field, facing Butler (Kansas) Community College.
Williams’ 1,302 rushing yards is the fourth-most ever in a season for the Norse.
A redshirt sophomore from Edmond Santa Fe, Williams also ranks second on NEO’s career rushing list with 2,693 yards.
Only Charles Elix (2003-04) has more, 2,703 yards.
Thompson, the Mountain West Conference and the College Sports Madness MW offensive player of the week last week at Utah State, captured SWJCFC honors in 2017.
Thompson had 2,420 yards in two seasons with the Norse, including 1,391 as a sophomore.
“I don’t want to speak for anybody across the country, but I know there are a lot of people that we told Darwin about are probably regretting maybe not taking a closer look by what he’s doing at Utah State,” said Norse head coach Zach Allen, who is a product of the Oklahoma State program that has produced Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders, among others. “Hopefully that’s going to benefit Darran because they are different backs. Their bodies are different and their size is different, their style is different, but they are cut from the same cloth.
“They are going to come to work every day and not complain about a thing. They are going to do the extra after practice. Whoever comes and gets Darran is going to see the same production that Utah State is getting from Darwin.”
Bowl organizers set out to make the game different from the others that are sanctioned by the NJCAA.
“One of the things that our committee wanted to do when we first looked at this game was that we really wanted it to be a true bowl experience,” bowl director Amanda Davis said during a Thursday press conference at Downstream Casino. “We didn’t want the teams to be here one night and go home the next day. We really wanted them here three days.”
Among the activities on tap for the teams are a banquet on Friday, Nov. 30 and each will participate in the Miami Christmas parade the following day.
“It’s a top-notch (bowl) because some bowls you show up and it’s a picnic, you have a game and you go home,” Butler head coach Tim Schaffner said. “This does give the kids a little bit of a feel of what a bowl experience will be.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and are available in advance at midwestclassicbowl.com.
Children’s tickets (4-12) are $6 and will be on sale at the gate on the day of the game.
For more information, contact the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau at 918-542-4435.