Missouri State scored 21 unanswered points in the second and third quarters and parlayed that momentum shift into a 21-10 victory over visiting Youngstown State here Saturday, clinching a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title for the Bears. No. 15-ranked Missouri State improved to 5-1 in the MVFC and secured at least a share of the MVFC title for the first time since 1990.
Helping lead the comeback was backup quarterback Jaden Johnson who came into the game late in the second quarter after starter Matt Struck went down with an injury. Johnson engineered three consecutive touchdown drives finishing 6-for-12 passing for 73 yards and a pair of touchdowns and carrying 11 times for 56 yards. Though Struck had been the MSU starter the previous two games, MSU head coach Bobby Petrino said Johnson stayed mentally and physically ready for an opportunity.
“It shows a lot of character on Jaden’s part,” said Petrino. “He kept practicing hard, coming to meetings with a great attitude and kept his focus on being a leader when the opportunity came.”
As a result of North Dakota State’s win at Northern Iowa on Saturday, the Bears will not earn the MVFC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs, but as league co-champions are still very much in consideration for a playoff berth. The Bears will learn their postseason fate next Sunday (April 18) with the FCS playoff selection announcement. This year’s NCAA championship field will include just 16 teams – instead of the traditional 24 – with only six at-large bids up for grabs.
Story: MSU Athletics