Missouri S&T surges to win over Bearcats

Special to the News-DemocratNovember 9, 2013 

A run of 31 unanswered points lifted Missouri S&T past the McKendree Bearcats 31-21 on Saturday in a Great Lakes Valley Conference football contest in Rolla, Mo.

The visiting Bearcats battled back from a 31-7 deficit midway through the late stages of the third quarter to pull within 10 points, but could get no closer as the Miners held on for the win.

McKendree slips to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in GLVC play. The Bearcats will wrap up their 2013 season Saturday at home against Kentucky Wesleyan College. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Leemon Field.

Sophomore quarterback Isaac Fishemoved past older brother Austin to become the Bearcats' single-season leader in passing yards.

Fisher was 23-of-38 for 242 yards with three touchdowns at Missouri S& T, giving him 1,849 yards on the year.

Austin Fisher threw for 1,708 yards during the 2009 season. In addition, Issac Fisher also took over the top spot for most total yards in a campaign, moving his total to 1,908 yards.

After a scoreless first quarter, McKendree grabbed a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second period. Fisher threw the first of his three touchdown passes, a 23-yard strike to junior tight end Zac Dixon.

Freshman kicker Steven O'Block added the extra point for the Bearcats.

Missouri S&T (5-5, 4-2 GLVC) scored on its next possession to tie the game at 7-7, then used a 21-yard field goal from Adam Peden with 45 seconds left in the quarter to take a 10-7 lead at the intermission.

Sophomore running back Branden Walker gave McKendree a huge boost when he returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards down to the Miners' 7-yard line.

After three straight running plays, the Bearcats faced a fourth-and-goal at the 1. Fisher tried to score on a quarterback keeper, but was stopped just inches from the goal line as Missouri S&T maintained its lead.

The Miners then drove 99 yards in eight plays to stretch their lead to 17-7.

Fisher was sacked on the next McKendree drive, and the football was jarred out of his hands. Zach Melber scooped up the loose ball and rambled 43 yards for a touchdown in giving Missouri S&T a 24-7 lead.

The Miners completed their run scoring frenzy thanks to a 5-yard quarterback keeper from Peter Simpson with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.

"The momentum shift in the third quarter was huge," said McKendree coach Mike Babcock. "Branden provided a big play and we couldn't capitalize. We thought we could punch the ball in on the ground, but Missouri S & T came up with some big plays on the goal line.

"Then they scored and got the fumble return after that, which completely changed the game."

McKendree answered back quickly, needing less than two minutes to move 60 yards in four plays. Fisher threw his longest TD pass of the day, a 38-yard connection with senior wide receiver Nick Jones, to help trim the Bearcats' deficit to 31-14 with just over a minute left in the period.

With 8:41 remaining, Fisher found junior tight end Reuben Bowlby in the end zone for a 7-yard TD pass, and O'Block's point helped bring the Bearcats within 10 points.

After stopping Missouri S&T on two drives later in the fourth quarter, McKendree was able to march deep into Miners' territory one more time.

The Bearcats reached the 22-yard line, but a 39-yard field goal attempt by O'Block sailed wide right with 1:31 to play

Junior wide receiver Dewayne Gatti had a team-high seven catches for 73 yards for McKendree, while Jones added five receptions for 58 yards.

Senior defensive back Michael Romshek posted a team-high 11 tackles for the Bearcats, while junior linebacker Bryce Colvin contributed eight stops. Freshman defensive back Jabaree Winston added seven tackles and had McKendree's lone interception of the contest.

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