Bears Trail No. 22 Kansas State at the Half, 9-6
Sept. 1, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Missouri State kicked off its 2012 season with a solid first half of football at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, matching 22nd-ranked Kansas State blow for blow in 9-6 game highlighted by big plays by both offenses and a series of key red zone stops by each defensive unit. Wildcat kicker Anthony Cantele booted three field goals, while the Bears' Austin Witmer nailed a pair of kicks to account for all of the scoring through the first 30 minutes of play.
Kansas State outgained the Bears by the slimmest of margins, 212 to 211 in total yardage, with senior quarterback Collin Klein leading the way with 46 yards rushing on 11 attempts, while going 11-of-18 for 102 yards through the air.
The Bears got a big first quarter from junior quarterback Ashton Glaser, who completed 8-of-15 passes for 103 yards. Dorian Buford enjoyed a big opening half as well for MSU, hauling in four receptions for 91 yards.
The Wildcats wasted little time in taking the upper hand, taking the opening drive 69 yards on 11 plays before Cantele put the home club on the board with a 23-yard field goal. Klein drove the attack, completing all five of his pass attempts for 52 yards, including a key 37-yard pitch and catch with Travis Tannahill to put the Wildcats deep into MSU territory.
Missouri State answered with a promising drive of its own, capitalizing on a 18-yard completion from Glaser to Cadarrius Dotson on fourth and two from the KSU 38 yard line to set up their first scoring opportunity of the season. Glaser came up big again, this time connecting with Julian Burton on a third and seven from the 18-yard line. The sophomore receiver picked up the first down and was just three yards from the pay dirt when KSU defensive back Nigel Malone forced a momentum-changing fumble that Thomas Ferguson scooped up in the end zone for a touchback.
But the Bears' defense rose to the occasion, forcing two consecutive three-and-out possessions by the Wildcat offense to counter the early turnover.
Behind the passing of Glaser and a 25-yard scamper by Vernon Scott, the Bears' offense would pull even late in the opening quarter. Glaser found Buford for a 19-yard gain, before Scott's run set up MSU with a first down at the Wildcat 16-yard line. MSU would move the ball to the seven, but Ryan Heaston came up short of the marker on a third and one. Witmer's 24-yard field goal capped the six-play, 53-yard drive and made it a 3-3 game with 0:15 left in the period.
In all, the Bears would outgain the Wildcats in the first quarter, 145 to 90 yards in total offense, while recording six first downs to four for KSU.
Kansas State regained the lead late in the second, thanks in large part to a ground game that accounted for 44 of 51 yards over an 11-play drive that chewed up nearly six and a half minutes. The MSU defense put the brakes on the drive by stopping Klein short on a third-and-goal rush from the four, and Cantele once again booted the go-ahead kick, converting from 19 yards out this time with just 3:35 to play in the first half.
Sophomore quarterback Kierra Harris answered right back for MSU, hitting Buford in stride for a 56-yard gain on the very next play from scrimmage to set up the Bears with a first-and-10 at the Wildcat 19. KSU held strong from there, but Witmer's second successful kick of the night knotted the score with 2:05 to go.
The Wildcats had the last laugh in the half, going 58 yards, thanks to a 21-yard rush by Klein and a 20-yard completion to Curry Sexton on successive snaps to set up another scoring chance. The Bears' defense came through on yet another third-down play deep in its own territory, forcing an incompletion from the eight and force Cantele's third field goal, this one good from 25 yards.