Jackrabbits mauled by Bears

 

 If SDSU’s football team wanted to prove that the three game losing streak they had earlier in the season was nothing more than an aberration, then the Oct. 19 trip to Missouri State would be a must win in many ways. 

But the Jackrabbits didn’t play like a team who had their season on the line. They looked uninspired in the first half, falling behind 20-0 and when SDSU finally clawed back into the game at 27-21, the previously one-win Bears to pulled away victorious, 35-21 at Plaster Field Saturday in Springfield, Mo. 

SDSU drops to 4-4 on the season with four games left, including a home battle with the likewise struggling Northern Iowa Panthers at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. The winner remains in the playoff chase; the loser will be out. 

It was a big play Saturday for the Bears, capped by a 69-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Ashton Glaser in the fourth quarter. The two point conversion followed, stretching the lead from six to 14 with a two point conversion and 4:30 remaining in the game. That play – on 3rd and 4 at the Missouri State 31 – effectively ended the game for the Jacks. 

“We weren’t ready to play,” SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier said afterward to reporters. “We didn’t execute much of anything. I will give a lot of credit to Missouri State. … But the fact that we weren’t ready to play is mind boggling with what we have to play for.”

That followed a first half where Missouri State took control of the game on the big play, first with Glazer hooking up with wideout Julian Burton for a 56-yard touchdown pass on a blown coverage a little more than four minutes into the game. Late in the first quarter, running back Ryan Heaston broke a 83-yard run to the Jacks 4 and Mikael Cooper-Falls scored on the next play. He would add a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Missouri State a 20-0 lead at half. 

The Jacks would work their way back, with a Brandon Hubert 9-yard touchdown catch from Austin Sumner midway through the third quarter and a Zach Zenner touchdown run to open the fourth quarter, cutting the margin to 27-14. After a fumble recovery by R.C. Kilgore, the Jacks cut the lead to six when Jason Schneider made a nifty touchdown catch on a five-yard pass from Sumner. 

On the next drive, Glaser got loose, lifting MSU to a homecoming win. 

“We’ve always got to make it difficult on ourselves,” Bears coach Terry Allen said. “We went into this game and harped and harped all week about not wanting to turn the football over. We did that throughout the course of the first half, and then obviously the turnovers in the second half gave them an opportunity to get back in the game.”