QUINCY, Ill. – Missouri S&T’s defense rose to the occasion in the second half Saturday night, as it recovered a fumble with 23 seconds to play and escaped with a 20-13 Great Lakes Valley Conference win over Quincy.
Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) recovered an Andrew Rund fumble at the Miner nine-yard line as the Hawks were threatening to score in the final moments, clinching the win for the Miners as they improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the GLVC.
The Hawks (2-6, 1-3 GLVC) ran 54 plays against the S&T defense in the second half, but an intentional grounding call on Rund on second down backed the Hawks up. On third down, Rund scrambled out of the pocket, but lost the ball in a crowd and Brooks came up with the loose ball.
The Miners, who never trailed in the game, missed an early scoring opportunity as they reached the Hawks’ one-yard line following a 27-yard completion to Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia)and a subsequent run to the one by Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central). However, the drive stalled and Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville) pushed a 21-yard field goal attempt wide to the right.
But moments later, Ryan Kirkendall (Silsbee, TX/Silsbee) stepped in front of a Rund pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to put the Miners on the scoreboard.
S&T extended its lead in the second quarter when Styron drilled a 45-yard field goal, a kick that broke the Miner career record with the 34th in his career. The kick was also the eighth field goal of 40 or more yards for Styron as a Miner, which also tied Jim Zacny’s program record in that department.
Styron kicked another field goal nearly four minutes later, this from 27 yards away, to add to the S&T lead.
The first half, though, was a frustrating one for the S&T offense, as it committed three turnovers and missed the scoring chance from the one. The Miners did outgain the Hawks by a 182-52 margin over the first 30 minutes of play.
Quincy had a field goal blocked by Brooks at the end of the first half, but got a 42-yard field goal from Michael Klotz on its opening drive of the second half – aided by a roughing the kicker penalty to keep the drive going --- to get on the scoreboard early in the second half.
S&T had to punt the ball back to the Hawks after a three-and-out and Quincy embarked on a 13-play, 85-yard drive to reach the end zone for the first time, scoring on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rund to Adam Hillis. Then on the ensuing kickoff, a short kick bounced into the hands of QU’s Shane Barrett at the S&T 38-yard line.
But after the Miners got a sack to stall that Quincy drive, the Miners embarked on a 91-yard scoring drive to push their lead back to 10. A 37-yard run by Jones got S&T into Hawk territory, then on a third-and-two play from the Quincy 16, Swart connected with Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca)in the front corner of the end zone to get the Miners their first offensive touchdown of the evening.
Quincy trimmed the lead to a one-possession game on a 30-yard field goal by Klotz – after the Hawks converted a fourth down play to keep the drive alive – then the Miners were unable to get a first down and had to give the ball back to Quincy with 2:47 remaining.
The Miners finished with 294 yards of total offense, 137 of them coming from Jones on the ground as he cleared the 100-yard mark for the 13th time in his career. Swart threw for 147 yards, with Armontrout catching four of his 14 completions for 65 yards. Quincy finished with 316 yards of offense.
Landon Compton (Lamar, MO/Lamar) finished with a game-high 16 tackles for the Miners, including 3.5 for a loss as the Miners finished with 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. S&T forced three turnovers in the contest, with Kirkendall adding a second interception to the one he returned for a score in the first quarter.
Missouri S&T will return home next Saturday to host Lincoln (3-5, 2-3 GLVC) at 7 p.m. on Miner Athletic Hall of Fame Night at Allgood-Bailey Stadium.