SPRINGFIELD–The difference between winning and losing can be a mile wide or as thin as a coat of paint. It’s why every play truly matters when you’re keeping score. Well on Saturday, two plays made the difference between a Bears victory or a Bears loss.
Missouri state back at Plaster Stadium for the first of their final two home games this season. Ryan Beard and company taking on Illinois State, who sit just above the bears at 3-2 in Valley play. Redbirds opened with possession, and on the 12th play of the drive, Daniel Sobkowicz catches this pass and drags avery powell nearly 20 yards before crossing the goal line for a touchdown. Grown man strength on display. Ensuing MSU possession, Jordan Pachot's marched the bears inside the SIU 10 and on the run throws a strike to Raylen Sharpe who makes an incredible catch for the tying touchdown. He's only 5'9 170 but he's a great talent. Midway through the second quarter, Jacardia Wright powers across the plane for his 5th touchdown on the season. That tied it at 14. But the Redbirds led by 3 at the half. Ahead to the third, where Wright does the heavy lifting again. 2nd time this season he's scored two rushing touchdowns. 21-17 Bears in front. Early in the 4th, Pachot throws his 2nd td pass to guess who, it's Sharpe for the 2nd time as well. Sharpe had 7 grabs for 105 yards. 5th game this season he's gone over the century mark. It's now 28-2o Missouri State. But here's the 1st of those 2 key plays I mentioned earlier. With 2 minutes to go, Redbirds trail 35-28, facing 4th and 5 from their own 42, Lemondre Joe appears to have stopped Camo Nelson short of the first down to give the ball back to MSU. But they reviewed the spot and said nelson actually got the first down. Tough call, but we play on. That overturned call turned into this rushing touchdown by Wenkers Wright. So now the Redbirds need to kick an extra point and we'd go to overtime. Nope they go for two cuz they're on the road and that's what any good coach would do, but Wright drops the ball! The two point try is no good! Or was it. They review the play and ruled he had possession so the two point conversion is good, Ryan Beard rightfully blows a gasquet and Missouri State couldn't recover. Losing a heartbreaker 36-35.
“How did they look? They looked frustrated. They looked hurt becuase they’re competitors,” said Bears Head Coach Ryan Beard. “When you play the game and you pour yourself out like that it’s gonna hurt. I’m hurt. They’re hurt. The staff’s hurt. I’m sure there are people in this room who root for the bears are hurt. That’s why you play the game man. You play for that feeling of laying it down for your team. Doing the very best you can and sometimes it doesn’t go your way, but i promise you, if we keep playing like that, if we keep fighting like that, things are gonna change at missouri state football.”