CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The 2012 season finale for the Missouri State football Bears started slowly before a late rally made the score respectable late. A 38-13 loss at Northern Iowa in Missouri Valley Conference play on Saturday night ended the Bears’ season at 3-8 overall and 3-5 in the MVFC.
After allowing the first 38 points of the game, the Bears rallied late and put together a pair of impressive fourth-quarter drives of 92 and 87 yards.
With 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bears scored first on a six-yard touchdown run by Mikael Cooper-Falls. The carry capped a 13-play scoring drive that saw the Bears eat up a season-high 92 yards on the drive. A 38-yard completion from Kierra Harris to Cadarrius Dotson set up the score by Cooper-Falls who finished with a team-high 33 ground yards on 11 carries.
Harris finished 29-for-39 through the air for 230 yards. Dotson had 101 yards receiving in his final career effort, while Dorian Buford caught 9 passes for 73 yards. Buford’s final catch of the day was a seven-yard TD pass from Harris to cap an 87-yard scoring drive that took 12 plays. Buford’s catch came with just 18 seconds left in the game and gave the Bears a respectable 324 yards of total offense.
UNI signal caller Sawyer Kollmorgen was 20-for-25 for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns as UNI produced 460 total yards and 20 first downs.
The Panthers (5-6, 4-4 MVFC) wasted no time jumping on the visitors early as David Johnson took the first play from scrimmage 77 yards to paydirt to put Northern Iowa ahead 7-0 at the 12:55 mark.
MSU then fell behind 10-0 less than four minutes later after its second straight three-and-out with a 36-yard field goal by Tyler Sievertsen that capped a 39-yard scoring drive at the 9:14 mark. Early in the fourth quarter, the Panthers tacked on seven more points on a trick play with 14:53 left in the half. Johnson took a second-down handoff, rolled right and then threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brett LeMaster to make it 17-0.
The Bears responded with their first substantial drive of the half. Mikael Cooper-Falls entered the game and helped get the Bears into UNI territory with a solid effort in the backfield. A pair of third-down completions from Harris to Dotson kept the drive alive to the UNI 34 before a personal-foul penalty and a Harris interception killed the threat.
Just before the intermission, UNI scored another touchdown to go ahead 24-0 at the break. The Panthers capped an 80-yard, 12-play drive with an eight-yard TD pass from Kollmorgen to Terrell Sinkfield on a laser-like strike over the middle.
The Bears were outgained in the first 30 minutes, 295-106, despite converting 4-of-9 third down opportunities and controlling 14:09 of the clock.
In the third quarter, the Bears’ first legitimate threat of the day was snuffed out at the UNI 16 with just under nine minutes to go in the period. The Bears faked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Austin Witmer when holder Ashton Glaser took the snap and rolled left. He bobbled what looked to be a pitch intended to Witmer, and the Panthers recovered at their own 19 to end the drive and keep it a 24-0 game at the time.
Five plays later, Kollmorgen, completed a 43-yard pass to LeMaster to the MSU 28. The Panthers then punched it into the end zone three plays later on a three-yard TD carry by Johnson that made it 31-0 at the 4:44 mark of the third period. The drive covered 81 yards in just 8 plays and took just over four minutes.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kollmorgen threw a 60-yard TD pass to Carlos Anderson to add insult to injury and make it 38-0.
MSU finishes season 3-8
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