Bear seniors go out on winning note, 55-17
The youthful Missouri State football Bears made a rousing success of the final career game for the 10 seniors on the MSU squad with a 55-17 non-conference run past Southeast Missouri State Saturday at Plaster Field. The win moved Missouri State to 6-5 for the Bears’ first winning season since 2004 and this year’s Bears of second-year head coach Terry Allen became the top scoring team in MSU grid history for an 11-game season.
The Bears’ four-win improvement from last year’s 2-9 season marked the biggest gain for a Missouri State squad in 18 years. The 1989 squad improved five wins over the 5-5 season from 1988. Missouri State’s 2007 season total of 399 points was the third highest ever at MSU but was the highest for an 11-game season. The 36.3 points per game were the most for the Bears since the 1922 team averaged 44.0 a game in a 7-0 season.
Senior TB Gerald Davis put his name in the record book in his final outing on the field for Missouri State as he ran for three touchdowns. It was Davis’s fourth multiple-touchdown game of the season and ran his 2007 total to 19 rushing touchdowns for a new Bears’ season mark, breaking the record of 18 from DeAndre Smith from 1990. Davis finished the season with 114 points, eclipsing the Bears’ previous season mark of 110 points from Mark Daniels in 1979.
QB Cody Kirby finished out MSU’s most prolific freshman passing season ever with a razor-sharp 18-of-21 afternoon for 255 yards and two touchdowns. Kirby closed out his rookie campaign with 1,742 yards, .606 completion percentage of 149-of-246 throwing and 11 touchdowns. TE Clay Harbor was Kirby’s favorite target with six catches for 76 yards while senior WRs Jeremy Nicholson and Tamarkus McElvane caught four throws each.
The Bears punted on their first possession but marched on long drives to score the next two times they had the football and converted a deep fumble recovery into a 19-3 lead midway in the second period. Kirby sandwiched a 34-yard TD throw to WR Brandon Oliver and a 15-yarder to WR Jordan Eversley around the first G. Davis touchdown, a seven-yard run. Davis tallied again from 13 yards out two minutes before halftime to give the Bears a 27-3 halftime lead.
TB Kingjack Washington set sail on a 37-yard TD run a minute into the third quarter but the Redhawks got that score back as they took advantage of a fumble for another short field touchdown.
G. Davis got his third TD with four minutes left in the third quarter to make it 41-10. Scoring in the game was closed out with three more touchdowns in the first two minutes of the final period. SEMO’s Victor Anderson intercepted an errant pitch and returned it 45 yards to paydirt only to have Bears’ FB Waylon Richardet return the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to score. The Bears got the ball right back on a pass interception and QB Matt Krapfl hit Nicholson on a 22-yard scoring throw with 13:19 to play.
The Bears’ defense was all over the field with four sacks, interceptions from CB Cedric Alvis and CB Chris Geisz and 10 passes broken up in the contest. LBs Tony Randolph and Jeremy Dawson had eight tackles each and Dawson and S Derek Miller came up with fumble recoveries.