A fast start by North Dakota proved too much for visiting Missouri State to overcome Saturday as the Fighting Hawks scored on their first four possessions of the game and cruised to a 44-10 win over the Bears in the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs. The Bears were making their first NCAA playoff appearance since 1990.

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Missouri State fell behind 27-3 at the intermission, and the Bears secured their only touchdown of the game with 12:20 to play as quarterback Jaden Johnson ran eight yards for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 46-yard scoring drive. The Bears were held to 185 total yards on 66 plays with 11 first downs, but second-half production was even for both teams at 135 yards each way.

“Offensively, we couldn’t move the ball consistently,” said Bears head coach Bobby Petrino. “You have to take your hat off to North Dakota. They out-executed us and outplayed us. We have to take today’s game, learn from it, and use it to be better moving forward. I told our players not to let this one game take away from what they achieved this season.”

The defeat snapped Missouri State’s four-game winning streak but not before the Bears turned the attention of the nation to Springfield for football this spring. MSU’s 5-1 conference record not only earned the Bears a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title for the first time since 1990, but also matched a program record for conference wins. MSU also returned to the FCS Top 25 and achieved a No. 12 national ranking in the process.

Story: MSU Athletics