Big Plays Hand Bears 10-Point Halftime Lead Over Illinois State
Oct. 8, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- On the strength of two of the longest pass completions in school history, the Missouri State Bears took a 13-3 lead into halftime Saturday at Plaster Field. Trevor Wooden hooked up with Jermaine Saffold for touchdown strikes of 82 and 91 yards to lead the Bears in their quest for their first victory of the 2011 season.
Missouri State wasted little time in establishing an early 6-0 lead, as Wooden found Saffold deep down the middle of the field on the game's very first play from scrimmage for an 82-yard score. Austin Wittmer's PAT try missed the mark, but the long score tied two previous plays for the seventh-longest completion in MSU history.
That mark would not last long, as Wooden connected with Saffold down the near sideline late in the first period to stake the Bears to a 10-point lead. Saffold beat ISU's man-to-man coverage near midfield and raced to endzone to finish the longest pass completion in Plaster Field history and the third-longest in the 100-year history of the program.
Illinois State's only offense of the half came courtesy of a 14-play, 69-yard scoring drive covering more than half of the opening quarter. Nick Aussieker put the Redbirds on the board with a 24-yard field goal after the Bears' defense stood its ground on a third-and-goal try from the seven.
The Redbirds did most of their damage on the ground, racking up 129 yards on 26 carries. Ashton Leggett accounted for 90 of those yards on 15 rushing plays, while Matt Brown completed 7-of-11 passes for 55 yards.
ISU recorded 12 first downs in the half, more than doubling the Bears total of five. But Wooden piled up 190 first-half passing yards on just five attempts to lead MSU's charge. Saffold was the recipient of all three of the MSU quarterback's completions, eclipsing his previous single-game career high for receiving yardage in the process.