Utah Tech Loses on the Road at Missouri State
Utah Tech lost its third game of the year on the road to Missouri State on Saturday.
Here's the press release from UT Athletics Media Relations: (Link to Full Article)
Utah Tech could not tame a high-powered Bears offense as the Trailblazers fell to 1-3 on the season after a 59-14 road loss at Missouri State on Saturday afternoon at Robert W. Plaster Stadium.
The game actually got off on a good start for the Utah Tech defense. After forcing a season-high five turnovers in last week's road victory at Northern Arizona, the Trailblazer defensive unit picked up right where it left off by forcing a pair of fumbles on the Bears' first two possessions of the game.
However, the Utah Tech offense was unable to capitalize on the miscues as the Bears defense limited the Blazers to just eight plays on two empty possessions.
Missouri State (1-2) quickly rebounded from its shaky start with the game's first two touchdowns, beginning with a Jacob Clark-to-Terique Owens 45-yard connection that capped a six-play, 80-yard drive midway through the opening quarter.
The Bears then picked up their second score on defense when on 2nd and 9 on the UT 10 yard line, Kobe Tracy's pass was deflected away from receiver Daniel Thomason and into the arms of Bear safety J.J. O'Neal, who housed the pick-6 from 10-yards out to put MSU up 14-0 with 6:34 to go in the first.
Utah Tech (1-3/0-0 UAC) was gifted fantastic field position when the Bears' ensuing kick off sailed out of bounds, which gave the Trailblazers the ball at midfield.
The Blazers took full advantage as Tracy found Keith Davis for a 43-yard completion down the right sideline to the MSU 7. Fifth-year back Ronnie Walker Jr. then took it the rest of the way as he scampered in for his second rushing touchdown of the season to cut the deficit in half at 14-7.
From there it was all Bears as Missouri State rattled off an 11-play, 75-yard drive that took just over six minutes off the clock and culminated with a 16-yard pass from Clark to Celdon Manning to extend the Bear lead to 21-7 with 19 seconds gone in the second.
Then after a quick UT three-and-out, MSU went 59 yards on three plays, ending with Clark's third TD pass to Hunter Wood from 8-yards out to make it a 28-7 game with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half.
Utah Tech got one of the those touchdowns back on its next drive when Tracy led the Trailblazers on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, which he finished with a 1-yard sneak over the goal line.
However, the Bears countered their third touchdown of the period, and Clark's fourth scoring toss of the half, and a late field goal to take a commanding 38-14 lead into the halftime break.
Unfortunately the intermission did not quell Missouri State's momentum as the Bears forced a turnover on Utah Tech's first play of the third quarter. MSU quickly turned the Blazer miscue into points when Clark notched his fifth TD pass of the game, and his second to Owens, to push the Bear lead to 45-14 with just 53 seconds gone in the frame.
Missouri State tacked on another touchdown with just under four minutes to play in the third and would coast home from there to earn its first win of the season.
Utah Tech was limited to an even 300 yards of total offense, with a season-high 127 of those yards coming on the ground. Junior Chris Street rushed for a season-best 62 yards on 10 carries, while Walker Jr. finished with 38 yards to go with his touchdown run.
Tracy finished with 167 yards on 17-of-41 passing, but he was hampered by four interceptions. Davis tallied a season-high 61 yards on two receptions.
Meanwhile Missouri State racked up 672 total yards of offense, the fourth-most given up to an opponent in Utah Tech's NCAA era and the second-most during the program's Division I FCS transition. The Bears threw for 462 of those yards, which was the second-most allowed to an opponent in UT history.
Clark completed 19 of his 26 passes for a career-best 414 yards and five touchdowns.
Utah Tech will wrap up its 2023 non-conference slate, and its current three-game road swing, next Saturday with a date at FBS opponent and Mountain West Conference member Colorado State. Kickoff inside Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins is set for 5 p.m.