Missouri State needed to stand out in the fourth quarter for their second straight win and they did.
The No.18 from Missouri State (2-1, 1-0) made the necessary adjustments at halftime and played the clutch late to claim a 31-23 victory over South Dakota ( 2-2, 0-1) Saturday. night at Plaster Stadium.
The Bears edged South Dakota 17-0 in the second half to claim the victory. MSU starting quarterback Jason Shelley threw a touchdown pass and ran for a in the fourth quarter to gain the advantage. Cornerback Montrae Braswell walked away with the interception that sealed the game in the end zone with less than a minute to start the celebration.
Here’s what happened on Saturday night and what it means for the future:
Frustrating first half for the Bears
For perhaps the first time under head coach Bobby Petrino, the Bears have had a truly frustrating football half.
It started early when the Bears forced a South Dakota punt on their first possession. On the punt, Hunter Wood fell back as he attempted to catch the ball inside the 10. The ball bounced off his chest and was picked up by South Dakota as he scored. a game later.
In Missouri State’s first practice, Shelley stepped back to pass the third down and was hit on the blind side. A backpack turned into a South Dakota ball at MSU 21. Once again, South Dakota scored in their first game after the turnover and took a 14-0 lead.
The Bears appeared to be awake as they walked 75 yards on the field on their next haul. Shelley played with his legs, including the 26-yard touchdown run to put the Bears on the board.
After trading three punts apiece, South Dakota rolled inside the Bears’ five and looked to have a chance to take a two-point lead.
South Dakota scored a second and one goal at MSU 1 with a chance to take a two TD lead in the second quarter.
After stuffing the Coyotes on the second down, Coyotes quarterback Carson Camp appeared to have a clear run to the end zone, but MSU linebacker Tyler Lovelace chased him unsuccessfully.
The Coyotes went there on fourth and on goal and couldn’t get through the plane as a defensive front led by Ikenna Ahumibe denied a touchdown to the USD and returned the ball to the Bears.
Missouri State couldn’t capitalize, but South Dakota missed the first play of their next possession. The Bears responded with a quick one-play practice with a 46-yard touchdown from Shelley to receiver Tyrone Scott.
The good times didn’t last long as South Dakota kick returner Wesley Elidor took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards from home to take a 20-14 lead.
The Bears followed up with a four-game practice before needing to kick with just over a minute to go. South Dakota went from 24 to MSU 10 before scoring a 27-yard field goal at halftime to take a nine-point lead.
Defense intensifies, Bears take the lead
Missouri state defense made adjustments in the third quarter, but the offense continued to get in its way.
In the Bears’ first practice of the third, they reduced the ball to $ 27 before Shelley was sacked for an eight-yard loss on the first down. They couldn’t catch up as practice stalled and Jose Pizano kicked a 42-yard field goal to reduce the Coyotes’ lead to six.
After getting a save, Missouri State looked to have another promising practice when Tobias Little broke some tackles for a 21-yard rush. At the end of the race, he was stripped of the tackle as the USD gained the upper hand deep in its own territory.
South Dakota couldn’t do anything in the third quarter while Missouri State did after the quarterback. The Coyotes totaled less than seven yards in the quarter.
Missouri State took their first lead of the game on a methodical practice that started on their own 26. The ride began with a 27-yard connection from Shelley to Jordan Murray into enemy territory.
Shelley took a nine-yard sack on the first down, but then hit Scott for a 21-yard gain on the second down to recover the first. On a third and a 6 later, Shelley rushed for 14 to move inside the $ 10.
Three games later, Kevon Latulas was left wide open in the end zone for a three-yard connection as MSU took a 24-23 lead with 13:02 remaining.
Bears extend their lead
In the third and eighth minutes about six-and-a-half to go, the South Dakota side stepped back to pass and attempted a pitch over the middle. The ball was knocked back into the air and caught by linebacker Ferrin Manuleleua – who returned the ball to South Dakota 26.
It didn’t take long for Missouri State to find the end zone as Shelley rushed for 12 yards on the fourth game of practice. Petrino chose to score the extra point to take the Bears’ lead to 31-23 with 4:42 remaining.
It can never be easier for the state of Missouri
On South Dakota’s next drive, MSU safety Kyriq McDonald attempted to skip a pass for what could have been a game-sealing interception. Instead, he missed the ball, the wide receiver. USD Carter Bell caught him and ran 65 yards before being tackled by Titus Wall at MSU 9.
After winning three on the first down, South Dakota attempted three assists in the end zone with all falls incomplete. Wall disrupted the fourth down pitch to give the ball back to the Bears.
The drama didn’t end there as Little appeared to be groping the ball deep in MSU territory. The referees decided that the forward progression had been stopped and that MSU held the ball.
On the next play, the Bears looked to have a big win in Coyotes territory on a 41-yard pass to Isaac Smith. At the end of the game, he was stripped and USD collected. A 15-yard penalty to Missouri State for a sideline violation gave the ball to USD at MSU 49.
USD pullback Nate Thomas came off for a nine-and-30 run to move the ball inside the Missouri State 10 with 52 seconds left.
On second and on goal, Camp attempted a back shoulder throw to the end zone, but it was intercepted by Braswell to secure the victory.
State of missouri
- QB Jason Shelley – 19 of 29, 281 yards, two touchdowns. 17 carries, 62 yards, two touchdowns.
- WR Tyrone Scott – Seven catches for 111 yards and one touchdown
- RB Tobias Little – 14 carries, 62 yards
- S Titus Wall – 10 tackles, five solo, one pass break
- DE Kevin Ellis – Nine tackles, three sacks
- LB Ferrin Manuleleua – Five tackles, one solo, one interception
- DB Montrae Braswell – Two solo tackles, one interception, one pass break
- QB Carson Camp – 12 of 29, 231 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
- RB Nate Thomas – Four rushes, 60 yards
- WR Bell Carter – Three catches, 102 yards
- LB Jack Cochrane – 10 solo tackles, one for loss, one pass break
- DL Nick Gaes – Four solo tackles, two sacks
- 1Q 12:19 – USD RB Travis Theis eight-meter race. 7-0 USD.
- 1Q 9:28 – USD QB Carson Camp passes 21 yards to WR Kody Case. 14-0 USD.
- 1Q 5:38 – MSU QB Jason Shelley running from 26 yards. 14-7 USD.
- 2T 1:52 – MSU QB Jason Shelley passes 46 yards to WR Tyrone Scott. 14-14.
- 2T 1:38 – USD KR Wesley Eliodor Kick return from 99 yards. PAT blocked. 20-14 USD.
- 2Q 0:00 – USD K Mason Lorber hits a 27-yard field goal. 23-14 USD.
- 3Q 10:21 – MSU K Jose Pizano hits a basket from 42 yards. 23-17 USD.
- 4Q 13:02 – MSU QB Jason Shelley passes three yards to RB Kevon Latulas. MSU 24-23.
- 4Q 4:42 – MSU QB Jason Shelley 12 yard run. MSU 31-23.
What this victory means
In a rare season, Missouri State entered with playoff expectations, the Bears did exactly what they were supposed to do on Saturday.
South Dakota is one of those mid-level teams that teams with playoff hopes must win. The Bears qualified and started the MVFC game on the right foot.
One look at the Bears schedule and they probably need to win their next three games due to the strength of the schedules they play and a tough four game streak that will follow.
Road trips to the state of Illinois and the state of Youngstown are on the bridge with an appointment with the state of Indiana right after. Next, the bears face the challenge of the state of North Dakota, North Dakota, southern Illinois, and northern Iowa.
If the Bears are fighting for a general offer, winning the next three games and at least one against the top four FCS teams on their schedule is a must.
Missouri State hits the road for the first time since its 23-16 loss to Oklahoma State on September 4 when the Bears play at Illinois State this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Normal, In. Illinois.
Illinois State hasn’t been too impressive to start the year as they’re 2-2, 0-1 while coming off a 35-17 defeat Saturday afternoon against No. 7 South Illinois (3-1, 1-0).
The Redbirds’ victories were unimpressive with their first victory over Butler 49-7 – a Pioneer League FCS schedule – and a 31-24 victory over Eastern Illinois.
It will be interesting to see if the bad blood of spring carries over into this game.
Missouri State was supposed to open its spring against Illinois State, but the Bears were forced to postpone the game due to unprecedented winter conditions that swept through the region. Illinois State Head Coach Brock Spack called on MSU following the decision.
Illinois State later in the spring decided to cancel the remainder of their season after a slow start and issues with the depth of their roster. After the Redbirds canceled the season, Petrino called Spack and told him he should apologize to MSU.
Add to that? When Missouri State played its last game of the regular season at Plaster Stadium, all of the Missouri Valley Football Conference team flags flew in the south end zone – except for the Illinois State. .
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist for the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at [email protected] or Twitter on @WyattWheeler_NL. He is also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.