Calen Crowder stiff arms a Chadron State defender during the Bears home opener

Calen Crowder stiff arms a Chadron State defender during the Bears home opener

Story courtesy: Missouri State

Missouri State rode a career-best rushing day from Calan Crowder a gritty defensive performance to nip Chadron State by a 21-13 score and hand Dave Steckel his first victory as head coach before a sellout crowd of 17,835 Saturday afternoon at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.


Crowder racked up 164 rushing yards on 23 carries to lead a Bears offense that totaled 279 yards on the ground. Breck Ruddick also delivered in his first home start as MSU’s quarterback, gaining 197 yards of total offense, including the game-clinching 55-yard scoring scamper late in the third period.

MSU’s defense repeatedly shut down CSC at critical times, stopping the Eagles on 13 of their 17 combined third and fourth down tries. The Bears secondary came up with two second-half interceptions deep in their own territory to wipe out prime scoring opportunities as well. Dylan Cole paced the Bears defense for the second straight week, totaling 11 tackles, while MSU’s starting quartet on the defensive line—James Barnes, Cecil Bratton, Colby Isbell and Brad Pryor—combined for 24 stops, including 2.5 for losses.

“I was really, very impressed with our defense today. They did a great job with their backs to the wall. The defense also did a great job on key downs,” said Steckel. “Yes, we gave up some up some yards but if you really sit back and analyze it, we only gave up two big plays. We were in zero coverage and both times we missed the tackle. However, what I think it showed was great effort from our players.”

Ruddick completed a career-high 19 passes in 34 attempts for 128 yards and one touchdown, including five completions to Malik Earl. Eric Christophel hauled in an 11-yard scoring pass to put the Bears on top for good and finished with four catches for 26 yards.


Missouri State returns to the road next Saturday (Sept. 19) for a 6 p.m. non-conference game against Arkansas State at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.