Grid Bears Show Balance in First Scrimmage
Aug. 9, 2014
SPRINGFIELD -- It was a busy Saturday morning for the Missouri State football Bears as Coach Terry Allen's team registered around 120 snaps in the squad's first intrasquad scrimmage of fall camp.
The MSU defense got some key stops early in the session, including a drive-halting interception by freshman Matt Rush against the No. 2 offense. But the white-clad offense was able to grind out some big gains when it needed them, accounting for four first-half touchdowns.
Starting QB Kierra Harris followed suit with a seven-yard scoring run to cap a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive against the No. 1 defense. The impressive drive included a 20-yard run by redshirt freshman Calan Crowder and a 23-yard first-down strike from Harris to tight end Gannon Sinclair.
Senior Josh Mattes capped the first-half scoring with a seven-yard scoring carry to put the finishing touches on an eight-play, 65-yard possession. Mattes accounted for 46 of his 49 rushing yards on the drive.
The defense regrouped early in the second half as the first-team unit got a three-and-out stop on the opening possession. The second-team defense followed with exact same result which seemed to spark the Bears' defenders.
But with a sequence of short-field situations, the offense thrived with five straight touchdowns that combined to cover 95 yards. Ryan Heaston, Nick Masoner, Johnson, Crowder and Jason Randall each scored second-half touchdowns -- Heaston's from 20 yards out, and the rest at two yards or closer.
Running the two-minute offense in the final segment, Harris took just one play to connect with Zac Hoover for a game-long 62-yard scoring pass against the first-team defense. The second-team offense also converted in the two-minute drill, marching into the red zone from their own 38 before settling for a 30-yard field goal by Shelby Harris to end the day's festivities.
Seven different MSU ball carriers finished with 30 or more rushing yards, including 61 apiece by Heaston and Crowder. Likewise, eight different Bears rushed for touchdowns, bearing witness to the team's depth at the tailback position.
MSU's quarterbacks combined to complete 19-of-37 passes with just one interception. Harris' pass to Hoover was the only TD pass of the day, but nine different players had receptions, including four by Hoover for 73 yards and three by freshman Deion Holliman for 25 yards. Julian Burton and Malik Earl led a crop of five players with two receptions each, accounting for 64 and 48 yards, respectively.
The Bears will have Sunday off before returning to Robert W. Plaster Stadium for seven practices this week, leading into the club's Aug. 16 scrimmage to close out camp.