The Bulldog defense help propel the squad to a 10-0 lead and Truman finished off Southern Arkansas 34-21 in the season opener played in Liberty, Mo. The defense had three interceptions, one fumble recovery and a blocked punt in the victory.
Jason Thier scored the first points of the season after picking off the Mulerider quarterback Quintin Porter’s pass and taking it 14 yards to the endzone. Mickey Masucci added the extra point and Truman led 7-0 at the 9:23 mark of the first quarter.
The ‘Dogs then blocked a punt on the next Southern Arkansas possession however the offense couldn’t punch it in the endzone. Masucci connected from 20 yards out and a 10-0 lead.
The Muleriders got on the scoreboard in the second quarter after a 10-play 92-yard drive that was capped off by Ian Roseborough’s 11-yard run.
Masucci hit from 41 yards at the 4:13 mark of the half to put Truman up 13-7.
Josh McLeod had the second interception of the day and set up the next Truman score. Matt Ticich found Kendrick Blue for 16 yards on third down to move the ball to the Mulerider 20.
Ticich hit Phil Kenney for a 17-yard pass that brought it to the goal line and two plays later the senior quarterback dove over the top with :25 seconds left in the half for the 20-7 lead.
Two more touchdowns in the third quarter seemed to put the game out of reach. Ryan King plunged in from one-yard out and Ticich found Donald Harvey on an eight yard pass play and a 34-7 lead.
The Muleriders would get a pair of touchdowns, one being a 66-yard pass from Ryan McCombie to Isaac Marrufo in the fourth quarter to make things interesting. After that reception, Southern Arkansas nearly secured an onside kick but a member of the kicking team was offsides.
Truman had just 265 yards of total offense as Ticich struggled going 9-of-26 for 146 yards passing. Harvey was the leading rusher with 33 yards on 13 carries, while Kenney led the receiving corps with four catches and 41 yards. Albert Coker had 72 yards receiving with a game high 49-yard reception.
Thier led the defense with 14 total tackles, a forced fumble and the interception for a touchdown. Truman surrendered just 325 yards of total offense, with 136 coming on the ground.
The Muleriders were led by Quintin Porter’s 76 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving by Marrufo.
Truman will open up MIAA play against the University of Central Missouri next Saturday at Stokes Stadium. Kick-off will be at 7:00 p.m.
Story courtesy Truman State athletic department