Football Bears Fall, 28-20, to No. 23 Indiana State



Nov. 12, 2011

Final Stats |  Quotes


SPRINGFIELD – Indiana State's Shakir Bell rushed 39 times for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the No. 23 Sycamores past Missouri State, 28-20, on a windy senior day afternoon at Plaster Field.

The win pushed ISU to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while the Bears (1-9, 1-6) lost at home for the fourth time this season.

Bell put the Sycamores ahead 14-0 with a pair of first-half touchdowns. The leading rusher in the Division I FCS ranks scored on a 23-yard TD carry at the 3:05 mark of the opening quarter put the visitors on top 7-0 to cap a 12-play, 73-yard scoring effort. He later made it 14-0 early in the second quarter with a two-yard score at the 10:46 mark, capping an 11-play drive with his 13th touchdown carry of the year.

Missouri State converted a pair of second-quarter field goals to cut into the early 14-point deficit and make it a 14-6 game at the break. In the final 4:09 of the first half, sophomore Austin Witmer knocked through a 22-yard chip shot to cap a 60-yard drive, and then tacked on a career-long 44-yarder as time expired to bring the Bears back within eight at the intermission.

In the second half, the Bears forced a fumble on Indiana State's first play of the third quarter and turned it into a touchdown three plays later. Nate Davis jumped on the Bell fumble at the ISU four-yard line to give the Bears new life, and Trevor Wooden found senior Chris Douglas in the flat for a five-yard TD pass to make it a 14-13 game on the third play of the possession.

MSU forced the visitors into punts on their next two possessions, but Indiana State rallied late in the third quarter. After the Bears were forced to punt from their own 15, the Sycamores got a 28-yard punt return from Donald Spencer to set up shop at the MSU 30.  Two plays later, Spencer was on the receiving end of a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ronnie Fouch to make it a 21-13 game.

Still in the game, the Bears came up with a huge opportunity early in the fourth quarter when Martin Montgomery forced another Bell fumble, which Sybhrian Berry recovered at the Indiana State 14-yard line. With a short field in front of them, the Bears had a gift on their doorstep, but could not convert a first down on third-and-one at the Sycamore five. MSU settled for a 23-yard field goal attempt by Witmer into the wind, but the kick sailed wide right.

Two possessions later, the Sycamores pulled ahead by 15 on a one-yard run by Ben Obaseki to put the exclamation point on a nine-play, 82-yard touchdown drive to make it a 28-13 game.

With 3:50 left in the game, MSU began to hustle and worked its way 69 yards to paydirt in just seven plays to keep it close. Wooden connected with Jermaine Saffold from 12 yards out to make it a 28-20 game with 99 seconds remaining. However, the ensuing on-side kick was recovered by the visitors to hand the Bears their fourth loss this season by eight points or less.

Indiana State outgained the Bears by a 339-270 margin, but MSU had one more take-away to keep things interesting.  Fouch finished 8-for-18 for 90 yards for ISU.

The Bears' Wooden was 10-for-22 through the air for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He completed four passes to Saffold, including Saffold's 16th career TD grab.  Douglas finished with 15 carries for 65 yards in his final appearance at Plaster.

MSU was led by Davis and Caleb Schaffitzel on defense with 10 tackles apiece. Davis also had a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up.

Missouri State closes out the 2011 campaign next week at Youngstown State, a Noon kickoff (Central).



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