#15 South Dakota State Loses at Missouri State 35-21
What started out as a season of promise for South Dakota State and now become a year of disappointment, as SDSU lost for the fourth time in five games, falling 35-21 at Missouri State Saturday.
Early on, the Bears made the most of their opportunities, the Jackrabbits did not.
After a SDSU punt on their first possession, MSU put it in the end zone on their sixth play, as Ashton Glaser hit Julian Burton for a 56 yards score to make it 7-0.
The Jacks did string together 14 plays on their next drive, but stalled out on the Bears 21. That's when the woes of the SDSU kicking game continued, as Justin Syrovatka hooked a 38-yard field goal attempt. It was Syrovatka's fifth miss in his last nine kicks after snapping a streak of 15 makes in-a-row.
Missouri State continued their big strike offensive attack on their third possession when Ryan Heaston ran for 83 yards on the second play from scrimmage setting up a Mikal Cooper-Falls 4 yard touchdown run. 14-0.
The Jacks offense put together another drive inside the Bears 35 on the next possession, but on 4th and three from the 31, Austin Sumner pass for Trevor Tiefenthaler was incomplete, and again SDSU was kept of the scoreboard.
When the Bears got it back , they were at it again when Cooper-Falls went 66 yards on the first play, and he later finished the drive with a two yard run into the end zone.
About the only thing that went right for SDSU in the first half came when Doug Peete blocked the extra point to keep it 20-0 Missouri State at the half.
Coming into the game, the Bears averaged 153 yards rushing per, in just the first half Saturday they picked up 222.
In the second half, the defense tried to right the ship, holding MSU to a 3-and-out on the first possession, and this time the SDSU offense found the end zone when Sumner hit Brandon Huber for a 9-yard score to move to within 20-7.
The Bears were unfazed on their next possession and, with the help of a SDSU 15 yard personal foul penalty, put together nine plays and 70 yards capped by Glaser to Gannon Sinclair 10 yards for a touchdown and a 27-7 lead after three quarters.
The Jackrabbit offense had an answer as the fourth quarter began - their best drive of the day - nine plays, 82 yards, capped by Zach Zenner's 15th touchdown on the season to cut the Bears lead to 27-14.
All season long, South Dakota State has been one of the best teams in the nation in forcing turnovers (+13 coming into the game), and they finally separated the Bears from the ball moments later when Jack Sherlock forced a Cooper-Falls fumble, recovered by RC Kilgore at midfield.
But it turned into another missed opportunity, when SDSU turned it over on downs at the MSU 11.
Moments later the defense got it back again when Glaser was sacked and fumbled right into the arms of Doug Peete at the Bears 15.
This time the Jacks offense converted the turnover into points, when Jason Schneider made a nifty one handed grab of a Sumner pass in the end zone for a 5-yard score, and the MSU lead was down to 27-21 with 6:04 left.
But Missouri State's offense wasn't out of big plays and on 3rd and 4 from their own 31, Glaser called his own number on the option and took it don the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown to push the lead to 35-21 after a two-point conversion.
With the loss, South Dakota State falls to 4-4 on the year, 1-3 in Missouri Valley play.
Sumner finished 18 of 43 for 232 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Schneider had 5 catches, all in the second half, for 103 yards. Zenner ran for 138 yards.
Missouri State finished with 478 yards of total offense, 352 on the ground, as Heaston and Cooper-Falls both topped 100 yards for the day.
South Dakota State hosts Northern Iowa next Saturday at 2:00pm.