Missouri State opened their season on a down note, losing to Northern Arizona 37-23 Thursday night in Flagstaff, Arizona.
The game was close until midway through the second quarter, with Northern Arizona making two field goals and Missouri State making one and missing one, when the Lumberjacks pulled a play from their bag of tricks.
Northern Arizona called the flea flicker, with quarterback Case Cookus tossing to running back Brandon Porter, who hit a streaking Stacy Chukwumezie for a 55 yard touchdown.
At halftime Northern Arizona held a 20-6 lead.
Missouri State never seriously threatened in the second half. Northern Arizona extended their lead to 27-9 after a 62 yard touchdown pass from Cookus to Porter. They added another touchdown to lead 34-9 before Missouri State could manage their first touchdown.
The Northern Arizona defense held Missouri State to 40 yards rushing on 32 carries, and only allowed four conversions on 16 third-down plays.
Missouri State coach Dave Steckel told Bears broadcaster Art Hains the team gave away the game “on a silver platter” and that the team had a number of things to work on before their next game. He cited the team’s excessive number of penalties (11) and their execution on third down.
The loss had the Bears fall to 51-54-3 all time in season openers.