Missouri State turned the ball over on three straight possessions in the fourth quarter to open the door for homestanding Murray State to secure a high-scoring 72-59 non-conference win over the Bears on Saturday.
Missouri State (2-3) jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and eventually built a 38-31 lead at the half with 779 combined yards by the teams in the first 30 minutes of football.
The second half started much the same way with the Bears building a 52-38 advantage with 2:22 to go in the third on a 10-yard run by Chris Douglas, his second score of the game.
Douglas would finish with 191 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns to lead the Bears who tallied 436 ground yards on the afternoon. His 97-yard touchdown run from scrimmage in the first quarter matched the second-longest run in school history.
After the Bears built the 14-point lead with just over 17 minutes to play, Murray State scored five of the game’s last six touchdowns from there. Four of those scores were set up by Missouri State mistakes, starting with a Murray State on-sides kick, followed by a Bears fumble at their own 20 on the second possession of the fourth quarter, and capped by two mishandled kickoff returns after that that led to Racers touchdown drives of 30 and 36 yards.
Despite the miscues, the Bears drove to the Murray State 13 with just over four minutes to go in the game. However, the Bears failed to cut into the 13-point deficit when a 12-yard sack on fourth-and-eight ended the threat at the Racers 25.
Mike Harris helped Murray State run out the clock with a key 57-yard carry on third-and-seven on the ensuing series. With no timeouts remaining, the Bears were helpless to stop the clock and watched their highest-scoring game in combined points since 1912 slip away.
Casey Brockman broke a Murray State single-game record and Missouri State opponent record with 570 passing yards, completing 32 of 41 passes with no interceptions and seven touchdowns. He was sacked just twice. Nine of his completions were to Marcus Harris who finished with 213 yards and five touchdowns.
Mike Harris also helped the Racers with 212 yards on 30 carries, including a pair of scores. Cody Kirby was the offensive star for the Bears, collecting four rushing touchdowns, a career high. He was an efficient 10-for-14 through the air for 171 yards and no interceptions to break the MSU career passing record (7,012) and become just the 10th passer in Missouri Valley Football Conference history to surpass 7,000 yards. His 252 yards of total offense was also a team-high.
Stephen Johnston carried 13 times for 164 yards and a touchdown for Missouri State. He and Douglas became the first Bears’ tandem to collect 100 yards in the same game since 2007. The Bears finished with 436 rushing yards on 36 carries to average 12.1 yards per attempt. It was the seventh-best, single-game rushing total in program history and most since 2001.
The teams combined for 1,423 yards of total offense, including 607 by the Bears, their most against a Division I foe since 2001. Missouri State (2-3, 1-1) will resume MVFC play next Saturday at Indiana State (3-2, 1-1) at 3 p.m. before returning to Plaster Field Oct. 23 against Western Illinois.
Story courtesy of Missouri State.