Missouri State Offense Dominates Spring Game

by Missouri State Athletics

Missouri State’s offense outscored the defense, 38-22, here Thursday in the club’s annual Maroon and White Spring Football Game at Plaster Stadium.

With a weighted scoring system, the offense scored three touchdowns and a field goal while converting six third downs and a pair of fourth downs to rack up 38 total points.

The defense accounted for 11 third-down stops, but could not secure any takeaways or defensive scores to limit the white-clad squad to 22 points.

“We’re always going to emphasize key downs, which are our third down plays, on both sides of the ball,” said head coach Dave Steckel. “That’s why we put so much emphasis on that today. I thought both sides made big plays. We have a ways to go, but we saw a lot of good things today.”

The offense took a 22-10 lead into the intermission thanks to a 37-yard field goal by Parker Lacina and an 11-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Granato to Ja’Ron Burks.

Lacina’s kick capped an 11-play, 40-yard drive by a Peyton Huslig-led offense. Huslig’s 20-yard pass to Lorenzo Thomas highlighted the possession and got the maroon side within striking distance to set up the score.

Granato’s TD pass to Burks, a redshirt freshman, was set up by a 22-yard fourth-down run by Lonell Boyd Jr. to the 11-yard line. Three plays later, Granato hit Burks on a fade into the corner of the end zone for the only touchdown of the first half.

In the second half, a muffed punt set up a 21-yard touchdown run by Donovan Daniels on the very next play with 2:28 left in the third.

Granato and Burks then connected again midway through the fourth quarter to cap a six-play, 70-yard scoring drive. After redshirt freshman D.J. Frost converted a third-and-one, Granato connected with a wide open Burks for a 43-yard score with just 4:22 left in the game.

The offense racked up a 370 total yards on the day with Daniels leading a trio of standout rushers with 63 yards on 13 carries. Frost and Boyd had identical rushing totals, each carrying 11 times for 55 yards.

Granato was an efficient 10-for-12 through the air for 102 yards, while Huslig completed 8-of-15 passes for 88 yards.

McNeece Egbim recorded 10 total tackles to lead the defense with Jordan Wilkes tacking on nine stops and a forced fumble. Kevin Ellis also brought down eight ball carriers for the Missouri State defense.

The Bears will open the 2019 campaign at Northern Arizona on Aug. 29 in Flagstaff with the home opener set for Sept. 21 against Kennesaw State.