SPRINGFIELD–You wanna talk about needing a pick-me-up? Well after last Saturday’s controversial, heartbreaking loss to Illinois State, Ryan Beard’s team sat at 3-6 entering their final home game of the season. And he said in the postgame presser “We’re playing for pride at this point.” Well folks, let me tell you, the Bears heard that message loud and clear.

Ah, but Coach Beard and company were all smiles before the game this afternoon, as the team celebrated Senior Day at Plaster Stadium. Honoring 10 upperclassmen prior to their showdown with 15th-ranked Northern Iowa, who boasted the second best record in Valley play at 5-1.

But the mile wide grins didn’t last long for Mo State because on their opening drive, Jordan Pachot gets sacked, fumbles the football, and the Panthers pounce on it taking over possession.

However, fifth play of NIU’S drive, MSU’s defense springs into action like PJ Hall does right here!

The diving interception gets the ball back in the hands of the offense, although the Bears would punt following the pick.

But mercifully on Mo State’s third drive of the 1st quarter, Pachot dial’s up a 19-yard dime to Jmariayae Robinson. Bears jump on the board first with the pretty touchdown pass. Bears led 7-3 after one.

But check this out. At the end of the 1st, KOLR10 anchor Jesse Inman and his fiance, FOX49 anchor Lauren Barnas accepted a football for our stations coverage and support of MSU athletics. We do love our Bears. Ok back to the action.

Early 2nd quarter, MSU in the redzone, Pachot swings it to Raylen Sharpe and my goodness Sharpe made that Panther defender look flat out silly. Make it a two-score Mo-State lead.

Following a second pick by the Bears defense, Pachot gets all day in the pocket to hit Gary Clinton in the endzone for his third td pass of the half! Missouri State took a 21-3 advantage into halftime.

Ahead to the 4th, where the Bears led 21-9, Pachot goes back to the well, aka Raylen Sharpe, who scores his second td of the game. He set a career high with 11 catches for 160 yards. This kid is special.

But here’s a sight you don’t want to see. With 10 minutes to go, running back Jacardia Wright on the cart. He injured his arm getting tackled and left game. He likely won’t suit up for the season finale next week. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Following Wright’s injury, Jayden Becks hits paydirt to sew things up. Missouri State upsets Northern Iowa 35-16. Sending their seniors off in style with a statement win.

“Ya, I don’t know if I have really words for it to be honest,” said Bears Head Coach Ryan Beard. “That’s a special group of seniors. And we made it a point to the team that you’re in the transfer portal era and if you don’t sit there and be a part of that locker room and visably see what’s happening at this university and this football program you got your eyes shut. All you gotta do is turn that tape on and watch the heart that they played with. We’re going in the right direction.”