Coach Stec Post-game | Player Post-game
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –
Western Illinois put the clamps on Missouri State's offense, holding the Bears to 283 yards of offense in a 31-14 decision for the Leathernecks Saturday afternoon at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.
WIU (3-4, 2-2 MVFC) permitted just one offensive touchdown, while limiting the MSU offense to a season-low 68 rushing yards on 24 attempts. The Leatherneck offense turned in its best showing of the season as well, totaling 565 yards of offense, including 238 total yards from Steve McShane.
Quarterback Sean McGuire teamed up with McShane on a game-clinching 71-yard scoring toss late in the game and finished the day 19-of-32 for 305 yards and three touchdowns. The critical component of the Leathernecks' big day was their ability to convert third-down opportunities, going 11-of-18 for the game. WIU's defense, meanwhile, held the Bears to 1-of-10 third-down conversions and just 1-of-3 on fourth down.
paced the Missouri State (4-3, 2-2 MVFC) defense with a game-high 12 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for losses and two key fourth-down stops.
WIU took advantage of a Peyton Huslig
interception and corresponding 22-yard return by Justin Fitzpatrick with just over two minutes left in the first half to seize a 10-7 lead at intermission. Sam Crosa booted a 31-yard field goal with just four seconds to play, capping a first half dominated by the defenses.
The Leathernecks limited the Bears to 151 yards of offense over the game's first 30 minutes, picking off two passes and sacking Huslig twice. The Bears' lone scoring drive of the half came late in the first period, as Huslig completed 4-of-5 passes for 69 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Murray
that knotted the score at 7-7 with 0:30 left on the clock.
That drive answered a methodical, 19-play, 95-yard march by the Leathernecks on their initial drive of the game, after Brendan Withrow
had pinned the visitors on their own 5 with a 47-yard punt. WIU converted three different third-down tries, as well as a fourth-and-five from the MSU 35 when McGuire found Isaiah Lesure for a six-yard completion. The Leatherneck's senior QB then found John Brunner in the end zone from 13 yards out for the game's first score to cap a drive that spanned more than nine minutes.
The visitors stretched their lead to double digits with another 90-plus yard drive midway through the third period, this time needing just five plays to find the end zone. McGuire's 52-yard pass to Clint Ratkovich punctuated the drive, handing the Leathernecks a 17-7 lead with 4:39 to play in the quarter.
McShane added to the margin early in the fourth with a 37-yard run, then put the finishing touches on the victory when he took a shovel pass from McGuire and sprinted through the MSU secondary for another score.
MSU's lone touchdown in the second half followed McShane's first scoring run, as Jeremiah Wilson
fielded the Leatherneck kickoff at his own 8, and beat a host of defenders to the end zone to momentarily pull the Bears back within 10 points.
Huslig finished 15-of-31 for 203 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Currie
led the Bears with five catches for 63 yards. Garbutt recorded his third-straight double-digit tackle effort, while McNeece Egbim
added 11 stops and an interception for the MSU defense.
Missouri State concludes its two-game home swing with a 2 p.m. contest against Southern Illinois next Saturday (Oct. 27).
Saturday's announced attendance of 12,109 marked the second-straight home crowd of more than 12,000 for the Bears…MSU dropped to 26-22 on Homecoming (since 1971) and 17-18-1 all-time versus Western Illinois…Antwan Woods
hooked up with Huslig on a 12-yard pass in the second quarter for his first collegiate completion…Egbim's 11 tackles marked his third straight double-digit effort and his fourth of the season overall…Wilson's kickoff return for a touchdown represented the first of his MSU career and the first by a Bear since Deion Holliman
brought back a 91-yard return vs. Southwestern on Sept. 1, 2016.