Bears' Fourth-Quarter Comeback Attempt Falls Short Against SDSU
A fourth-quarter rally by Missouri State against No. 19 South Dakota State fell just short as the Bears drove to the six-yard line before a key interception by the Jackrabbits in the end zone with 38 seconds to play gave SDSU a 24-17 conference win.
The fourth-quarter rally came on the heels of a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive by the Bears with 5:29 to play in the game to cut South Dakota State's lead to 24-17. A five-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby to Jared Emery capped the impressive march down the field that consumed more than six minutes. MSU converted two fourth-down plays and one third-down on the drive.
After the score, the Bears' defense forced SDSU into a three-and-out punt from its own 43. Dean Priddy's ensuing kick pinned the Bears in at their own 18 with 3:41 left in the game. Kirby then went to work, first connecting with Cadarrius Dotson for 13 yards on fourth down at the MSU 24, then going deep to Jermaine Saffold for 17 yards to midfield on a third-and-14 play.
Kirby then reeled off three spectacular completions in a row to get the ball to the six. A 19-yard completion to Jermaine Saffold to the SDSU 31 set up a nine-yard completion to Clay Harbor on the next play to the 22. A sensational 16-yard grab by Emery then took the ball to the six. That's where General Parnell intercepted Kirby's pass in the corner of the end zone on the next play and returned it 63 yards to the MSU 37 before the Jackrabbits ran out the clock. It was Parnell's second interception of the game.
Kirby finished 29-for-46 for 288 yards -- all career highs -- but was intercepted three times. His 29 completions was an MSU record. Ten different Bears caught passes, including a game-high seven by Emery who finished with 67 yards, while Harbor caught six balls for 53 yards, and Saffold had four catches for a career-best 101 yards, making him the team's second 100-yard receiver in as many weeks.
Missouri State outgained South Dakota State by a 404 to 344 margin, marking the Bears' first 400-yard game of the season and the first time MSU had outgained an opponent in a loss since the 2008 opener against Washburn.
In the first half, coach Terry Allen's squad took their opening drive to the SDSU 32-yard line before a 49-yard field goal by Matt Hottelman gave Missouri State a 3-0 lead. Then after falling behind 14-3, the Bears rallied with a 19-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on the opening sequence of the second quarter. Miguel Warren capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown carry, the second of his career, to make it a 14-10 game. The drive consumed the most plays of any MSU scoring drive this season and took 7:37.
SDSU then tacked on a field goal with 1:39 to go in the first half, and a TD pass at the 2:31 mark of the third quarter to build a 24-10 lead before the late MSU rally.
In his first career start, O'Brien was 14-for-21 for 211 yards and two touchdowns. He was 9-for-12 in the first half.
The Bears rallied with a 19-play, 72-yard touchdown drive on the opening sequence of the second quarter. capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown carry, the second of his career, to make it a 14-10 game. The drive consumed the most plays of any MSU scoring drive this season and took 7:37.Miguel Warren
Kyle Minett carried 26 times for 105 yards for the Jackrabbits to lead their offense, while Fox caught seven passes for 87 yards.
The Bears (3-3, 1-2) travel to Western Illinois next Saturday at 3 p.m. as they continue league play. The Bears return home on Oct. 31 to take on Illinois State on Homecoming at Plaster Field.