The No. 25 Central Missouri Mules tallied the game’s final three touchdowns to come back from an eight point deficit and grab a 39-28 season-opening win on Thursday night against the Bearcats of Southwest Baptist.The Mules (1-0) made it 18 wins in a row over the Bearcats (0-1), dating back to 1991.
Central Missouri junior quarterback Eric Czerniewski, accounted for five of the Mules six touchdowns (4 passing, 1 rushing). He threw for 354 yards, his third best effort ever, and went 29-of-41 for the second most single-game completions in school history.
Junior running back Anthony Stewart caught a screen pass and took it 70 yards for a score on the Mules first play of their first possession. A missed extra point made it only a 6-0 lead.
UCM made it 13-0 on its next possession, thanks to a 9-play, 60-yard drive. Czerniewski converted a fourth-and-eight with a 25-yard touchdown strike to junior All-American tight end DeMarco Cosby.
The Bearcats answered late in the first quarter with a 51-yard rush by Thaddeus Everson, and then took the lead in the second on a 30-yard rush by Justin Duhaney, 14-13.
Central Missouri came back on the next drive after a 37-yard kick return by senior Bobby Guillory. The Mules went 56 yards in nine plays, capped by a one-yard TD plunge from Czerniewski but the Bearcats had the last strike before the break.
A 56-yard completion from Steve Gachette to Johnnie King with 1:01 left was the difference, making it 21-20 at halftime.
The Bearcats got some luck to start the second half, scoring on a 35-yard touchdown pass that bounced off an SBU receiver and fell into tight end Jameson Manuma’s hands for an easy coast into the end zone, making it 28-20 with 7:05 left in the third. That would be the last score for the Bearcats though, as the Mule defense put the clamps down.
The Mules finished the game with four sacks, six quarterback hurries, and nine tackles for loss, but the biggest play came after the Mules got a 30-yard touchdown reception from junior running back Tywon Hubbard to make it 28-26 (failed two-point conversion). Freshman defensive back Brett Ginn forced a fumble and recovered it on the SBU 35.
The Mules punched it in on a 5-yard hookup to Cosby early in the fourth quarter to give the Mules a lead for good, 32-28. The score tied a school record for TD’s in a game by a tight end with two.
The game-killer came later in the quarter though. SBU was stuffed on a fake punt back at their own 39, and they Mules then took six minutes off the clock before stuffing it in the endzone on 1-yard rush from Stewart with 2:14 left.
Story courtesy of Central Missouri athletics .