Stingy Defense Keeps Bears Close at South Dakota State
Sept. 29, 2012
BROOKINGS, S.D. -- Another gritty effort by the Missouri State defense was overshadowed by five turnovers in a 17-7 loss to No. 25 South Dakota State on Saturday (Sept. 29). Despite several opportunities created by the defense, the Bears (0-5, 0-2 MVFC) were unable to find the end zone in the second half.
For the second week in-a-row, freshman Ryan Heaston showcased his quickness at the running back position, generating 185 all-purpose yards. Heaston carried the ball 20 times for 148 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per rush. The Bears' passing attack had a rough outing as starting quarterback Ashton Glaser tossed four interceptions and completed just 38 percent of his passes. The transfer QB was 15-for-39 for just 158 yards.
Aside from an 88-yard scamper in the first quarter by Jackrabbits' Zach Zenner, the Bears' defense limited the nation's leading rusher to an average of 3.24 yards/carry on his other 29 rushing attempts. In addition to racking up 182 yards rushing on 30 carries, Zenner also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in the fifth game of the season. Zenner exploded for his 88-yard run in the Jackrabbits' third drive of the game to put SDSU up, 7-0.
The Missouri State offense appeared to respond on its third drive as well, moving the chains with back-to-back Heaston runs of 24 and 22 yards, respectively. The drive came to a screeching halt two plays later when Glaser threw his first INT of the game.
Starting the ensuing drive from its own 37, SDSU advanced the ball all the way to the MSU 30 before Zenner coughed it up. Forced by safety Mike Crutcher, cornerback Howard Scarborough fell on the ball at the spot of the fumble.
The defensive back duo of Scarborough and Crutcher came up big again as the Jackrabbits looked to recover from their turnover in the previous drive. Scarborough's tip traveled right into the hands of Crutcher for SDSU's second turnover of the game. But, once again the Bears failed to capitalize, recording just one first down.
Before the end of the half, SDSU tapped in a 23-yard field goal to give the Jackrabbits a double-digit lead. With 2:25 remaining, the Bears had plenty of time to come knocking on the door.
Heaston notched runs of 9 and 22 before wide receiver Julian Burton pulled down a Glaser pass. He tiptoed down the sideline for 28 yards and made it to the SDSU 3-yard line. Heaston moved it forward another two yards, before Glaser punched it in for the score. The 1-yard run capped a 5-play, 67-second drive, which snapped a six-quarter drought by the MSU offense.
The third quarter belonged to both defensive units as the two teams combined for three turnovers, three punts and a missed field goal.
The lockdown defense carried into the fourth quarter as cornerback Sybhrian Berry killed the Jackrabbits' drive deep in the Bears' territory. On the first play of the quarter, Berry went airborne in the endzone and pulled down his second pick of the night. He became just the fourth Bear in the Terry Allen era to record two interceptions in a game.
Eerily similar to the first half, Missouri State turned it right back over with Glaser's third interception of the night. SDSU benefitted from the costly turnover and capped the short four-play drive with an 8-yard TD strike from Sumner to Brandon Hubert.
In a strange sequence of events late in the game, with MSU attempting to rally back, Glaser threw a fourth interception deep in the endzone. As the Jackrabbit defender raced the other the other way, Burton caught up with him and stripped the ball back. The Bears drove to the Jackrabbits' 1-yard line, but were unable to muster a score out of the drive before time expired.
Nate Davis (14) and Caleb Schaffitzel (11) led the defense in tackles, while the Bears forced four turnovers of their own. Mike Crutcher had an interception and a forced fumble to help the MSU defensive cause.