Sept. 24, 2011
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Missouri State trails No. 13 Southern Illinois, 14-12, at the half here in the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams.
The home standing Salukis scored on the game's opening drive when quarterback Paul McIntosh punched it into the end zone from 12 yards out to make it 7-0. The seven-play, 46-yard drive was set up by a long opening kickoff return that put SIU (1-1) in Missouri State territory to start the game.
Missouri State (0-3) didn't take long to retaliate as Trevor Wooden connected with Jermaine Saffold for a 76-yard touchdown pass on the Bears' first play from scrimmage moments later. The extra point attempt failed when the snap eluded holder Ian Starnes to make it a 7-6 game.
In the second quarter, McIntosh capped an 86-yard, 11-play drive for SIU to give the home club a 14-6 advantage with 12:20 to go in the half. Once again, the Bears bounced back with an 81-yard touchdown drive. This time, Wooden connected with tight end Matt Thayer from 16 yards out to cap a nine-play series that took nearly four-and-a-half minutes. The Bears' two-point conversion attempt failed as Wooden's pass to Thayer in the left corner of the end zone was underthrown.
The Salukis would miss a 22-yard field goal attempt with 2:23 left in the half, and the Bears appeared to be driving into field goal range in the closing moments of the half. But a Wooden pass with 20 seconds remaining was tipped and the line of scrimmage and picked off by Jayson DiManche of SIU to midfield. SIU took two shots at the end zone, but McIntosh could not make connections on either try.
McIntosh has a game-high 58 rushing yards to lead SIU. He is also 6-for-11 through the air for 96 yards, including three completions to Cam Fuller.
The Bears, who were outgained 227-214, were led by Chris Douglas who has six carries for 47 yards, and Wooden who is 7-for-11 for 144 with a pair of TDs. Saffold has three receptions for 99 yards for MSU.