Late Field Goal Dashes Bears Hopes at South Dakota
Oct. 5, 2013
VERMILLION, S.D. – After Missouri State (1-5, 1-1) collected a pair of quick touchdowns in the third quarter to take an eight-point lead, it was South Dakota (2-3, 1-1) that capitalized on an opportunity late in the game to secure a 17-14 homecoming win here Saturday in Missouri Valley Football Conference play.
Kevin Earl finished 22-for-35 for 159 yards, while Trevor Bouma carried 12 times for 59 yards to lead the Coyotes. MSU was led by Kierra Harris who was 7-for-16 through the air for 72 yards and a rushing touchdown.
A pair of third-quarter plays seemed to turn the game around for Missouri State as the Bears defense started to put the squeeze on the Coyotes early in the period. The Bears capitalized on a huge play just past the midway point in the third when Martin Montgomery jarred the ball loose from Earl deep in USD territory. Christian Hoffmann recovered the loose ball for the Bears at the USD 8-yard line, and Harris scored three plays later from 3 yards out – his seventh touchdown of the season. Marcelo Bonani added the extra point to give the Bears a 7-6 lead with 6:28 to go in the third.
On the ensuing series, MSU forced South Dakota into a three-and-out punt from its own 25 before Vernon Scott blocked the Miles Bergner kick at the 10 and ran it in for a touchdown to make it 14-6 at the 4:28 mark of the third.
But, late in the period, South Dakota took advantage of a Bears’ mishap, marching 44 yards on six plays to tie the game after a fumble by Phoenix Johnson set USD up in MSU territory. Earl would hit Bouma from 18 yards out for the score, and the Coyotes converted the two-point conversion to tie the game with 14:55 left in the fourth.
The score remained tied until 3:41 when USD took advantage of good field position at the Missouri State 41. After a short MSU punt on its previous possession, the Coyotes manufactured 17 yards to the MSU 24-yard line to set up another field goal attempt by Bergner from 41 yards. Despite a high snap, he converted the kick and put the Coyotes up 17-14 with 1:24 to go.
Backup quarterback Ashton Glaser replaced an injured Harris on the Bears’ final two drives, but was 0-for-6 – all deep passes – and was sacked on MSU’s final play of the afternoon.
Dorian Buford led MSU’s receivers with 4 catches for 45 yards, while Phoenix Johnson carried 6 times for 38 yards to lead a cast of Bears running backs.
South Dakota outgained the Bears 279-177 for the game and had seven more first downs. It was USD's first-ever MVFC victory after joining the league in 2012.
Missouri State finished with 105 rushing yards, but was just 7-for-22 through the air with a pair of interceptions.
In the first half, South Dakota picked up 70 of its 138 total yards on the opening drive as the Coyotes drove all the way to the MSU 4-yard line before Christian Hoffmann snagged an Earl pass in the end zone to stop the threat.
The Coyotes, however returned the favor three plays later when Kyle Guziec returned a deflected Harris pass off the foot of Dorian Buford to paydirt to make it 6-0 at the 8:10 mark of opening quarter. The Bears' Anthony Grady blocked the extra point, but the 22-yard interception return help up as the only score of the first half.
On their third drive of the first quarter, the Bears found success through the air as Harris completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Ryan Boatright and a 26-yard strike to Dorian Buford to the South Dakota 40. But the drive stalled there when Harris was sacked for an 11-yard loss on third down.
The Bears held South Dakota to just 40 total yards in the second quarter, and the clubs exchanged six punts to keep it a six-point game at the intermission.
MSU travels to current No. 1-ranked North Dakota State next week as the Bears continue MVFC play with a 1 p.m. kickoff in Fargo.