Wins haven’t come easily for the Missouri State Bears this season.
So Saturday’s outcome, with MSU falling to Illinois State on a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion by Redbirds running back Wenkers Wright at Plaster Stadium in Springfield, had to be particularly dissatisfying.
The Bears (3-6) led late thanks to Celdon Manning’s 28-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left to play. But their advantage was gone when Illinois State put together what would prove to be the winning drive.
The teams exchanged blow all afternoon. Jacardia Wright finished a 90-yard MSU drive with a 1-yard touchdown run — he had two TDs Saturday — and it was 14-all midway through the second quarter. ISU added a field goal to make it 17-14 at halftime.
In other Saturday games:
Missouri Western 31, Pittsburg State 30: In a heavyweight battle at Missouri Western, the host Griffons handed the Gorillas their first loss of the season on Senior Day at Spratt Stadium in St. Joseph. Armani Edden’s fourth-quarter TD pass to Jonah Bennett was the eventual game-winner for Missouri Western (8-2). Chad Dodson Jr. hit Cleo Chandler Jr for a TD that drew PSU (9-1) within 1 soon after, but the Griffons blocked the PAT.
Central Missouri 47, Fort Hays State 28: Zach Zebrowski threw for five touchdowns, completing 36 of 52 passes for 459 yards, as the eighth-ranked Mules held off the Tigers at Walton Stadium in Warrensburg. UCM (9-1) trailed 28-24 at halftime, but Zebrowski tossed three second-half TDs to help the Mules put it away. FHSU, which saw a 5-game winning streak snapped, fell to 7-3.
Emporia State 63, Missouri Southern 28: DeAndre Thomas Jr. rushed for 15 yards and five touchdowns and Braden Gleason was a sharp 42 of 46 for 485 yards and four TD passes as the Hornets lapped their guests at Francis G. Welch Stadium in Emporia, Kan. ESU improved to 7-3, while MSSU, which got 3 TDs and 315 yards through the air from QB Luke Sampson, dropped to 4-6.
Southwest Baptist 71, William Jewell 3: The Cardinals (2-7) were no match for Southwest Baptist (4-6). Things went off the rails in the second quarter, as the visitors turned a 7-0 lead into a 41-0 halftime advantage that only grew from there.
Nebraska-Kearney 38, Lincoln 6: The hosts cruised in Kearney, Nebraska, where TJ Davis passed for three touchdowns. The Lopers improved to 3-7, while the Blue Tigers fell to 0-10.
Benedictine 34, Missouri Baptist 16: Jackson Dooley was 17 of 29 for 369 yards and four touchdowns as the Ravens rolled their hosts in St. Louis. TiwJaun Griffin was his favorite target, hauling in five passes for 175 yards and two TDs. Benedictine improved to 8-2; Missouri Baptist dropped to 1-8.
MidAmerica Nazarene 28, Missouri Valley College 24: At Marshall, Mo., Adrian Parsons threw for three touchdowns, completing 28 of 44 passes for 303 yards with one interception, as the Pioneers improved to 8-2. Missouri Valley fell to 5-5.
Ottawa 27, Kansas Wesleyan 24 (OT): The host Braves earned their sixth win of the season on Wynton Ruth’s 4-yard TD run in overtime. It was a tight one throughout — 14-14 at halftime and through the third quarter. Billy Maples passed for two TDs for Ottawa (6-4), while Mark Benjamin rushed for 133 yards a two TDs for Kansas Wesleyan (7-3).
Avila 41, Sterling 10: The Eagles soared on Senior Day at The Z as Jahkese Watkins rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns and Eli Williams passed for two TDs. Avila improved to 3-7; Sterling fell to 2-8.
Baker 58, Central Methodist 7: The Wildcats had a banner day in Fayette, Mo., improving to 7-2 with 534 yards of total offense to their hosts’ 167. Truman Juelsgaard passed for three TDs and Kirby Grigsby rushed for two for Baker. Central Methodist fell to 1-9.
Saint Mary 40, Tabor 31: At Atchison, Kan., Jartavious Martin rushed for three touchdowns and 168 yards on 28 carries as the Spires collected their third win of the season. Saint Mary improved to 3-7, while Tabor dropped to 2-8.