In their first-ever nationally-televised game, the Missouri State Bears got out of the gate slowly and never caught the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a 57-13 loss Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.
The Cowboys (3-0) amassed 572 yards total offense, including 492 on the ground, and scored the game’s first 22 points. The rainy conditions came into play early as the Bears’ Kingjack Washington, a native of Owasso, Okla., fumbled on the first play of the game, turning the ball over at the Missouri State 14 and setting up OSU’ first score of the afternoon five plays later – a one-yard run by quarterback Zac Robinson.
"We missed a lot of tackles today," said MSU Head Coach Terry Allen. "Their running game is very good and very hard to stop, but we didn’t help ourselves in the first half."
Robinson used his passing arm infrequently, but totaled 82 yards on two-of-four passing. The Cowboys, however, were brutal on the ground with three players tallying over 100 yards — Keith Toston (148), Beau Johnson (138) and Kendall Hunter (132) combined for 418 yards and five rushing touchdowns.
Bears’ senior kicker Matt Hottelman broke up OSU’s shutout with 17 seconds left in the first quarter on a career-long 49-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 22-3 going into the second period. Hotellman added a 29-yarder just before the half that capped a 17-play, 59 yard drive that consumed nearly 8 minutes. On that drive reserves Tyler Horner and Miguel Warren marched the Bears inside the 15 before the drive stalled. Warren had 31 rushing yards on the drive and finished with 43 for the game.
The Cowboys struck twice more in the third quarter to build their lead to 50-6, before Cody Kirby hit tight end Clay Harbor from 15 yards out to make it 50-13. The score capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive. It marked the 13th straight game Harbor has had at least one reception, and the third game in a row with at least one touchdown pass for Kirby who finished 3-for-15 for just 25 yards.
"The last thing we wanted to do was extend the game," Allen said. "I thought we did a decent job of running the ball today, but we had a lot of drops, and it was difficult passing against them."
Washington bounced back from a pair of early fumbles, one of which the Bears recovered on the team’s second drive of the game. He led the Bears with 76 yards on 15 carries.
OSU added another touchdown just before the end of the third quarter to make the final score 57-13 on a 17-yard run by Johnson. Neither team scored in the final period.
Defensively, sophomore Skylar Smith led the Bears with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Tony Randolph added 7 stops, and Chris Farrar had six for Missouri State (0-2).
The Bears wrap up the nonconference schedule next Saturday at Southeast Missouri State for a 6 p.m. kickoff in Cape Girardeau. It will be the 74th meeting between the two schools. The Bears own a 45-28 series lead in the series.
Courtesy: Missouri State Athletic Department