After struggling to get their offense untracked during the first half, the Missouri S&T football team rode the play of its defense and sophomore running back Zenel Hudson to pick up its first win of the 2013 season Saturday by topping Wisconsin-LaCrosse 27-14 at Allgood-Bailey Stadium.
Despite outgaining the Eagles 206-124 in the first half, the Miners found themselves down 14-3 as the result of a blocked punt that led to the first UW-LaCrosse touchdown and an interception returned for a score. But at the start of the second half, the Miner defense rose up by securing the team's first two turnovers of the season to spark the offense.
Chris Horn intercepted a pass on a third-and-11 play and returned it into UWL territory, starting a four-play drive that drew S&T to within four. The touchdown came after quarterback Reed Brown had bobbled the snap, then rolled out to his right and hit Josh Corbid in the front corner of the end zone for a 26-yard scoring pass.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Sean Martin picked off an Andy Sires pass and was brought down at the Eagles' 40-yard line. On third down, Brown connected with Ben Matthews for 12 yards and a first down, then S&T stayed on the ground for the duration of the drive that culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Hudson that put the Miners ahead 17-14.
The Miners scored again before the quarter ended when Adam Peden kicked a 21-yard field goal to conclude a period in which the Miners held the Eagles to one first down and 24 yards of offense.
But after being held in check for much of the second half, the Eagles got a 42-yard run by Jude Williams to get to the S&T 22-yard line with under five minutes to play. A false start penalty, followed by two incompletions and a loss of a yard on a third down running play led the Eagles to punt to try and pin the Miners deep in their own territory.
The Miners started at their own seven with 3:45 to go and on third-and-one, Hudson ran an off-tackle play and after getting past the initial line of defense, raced 84 yards down the sideline for a game-clinching touchdown.
The scoring run tied the fifth-longest in school history and longest ever by a Miner at Allgood-Bailey Stadium, while also putting him over the 200-yard mark in the contest. Hudson would finish with 222 yards on 35 carries – making him just the fourth running back in school history to reach the 200-yard plateau in a game – and ended up with the second-most rushing yards in a game in the 120-year history of the program.
Earlier in the contest, the Miners had fallen behind after Eric Rabas blocked a punt by Austin Dussold, giving the Greyhounds the ball at the Miner four-yard line. Ben Hertrampf scored two plays later to give the Eagles the lead.
Page 2 of 3 - Later in the quarter with the Miners backed up in their own territory on third down, Zach Wall intercepted a deflected pass at the S&T three and took it into the end zone to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead.
Peden kicked a career-best 47-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to get the Miners on the scoreboard.
The Miners outgained the Eagles by a 503-to-232 margin, as the Eagles had only 108 yards of offense in the second half.
Besides Hudson's 222 rushing yards, the Miners also got 48 from freshman tailback DeSoto Dickson. Brown completed 18-of-40 passes for 216 yards and had five completions to Melvin Stovall for 47 yards.
Chris Emesih led the Miner defense with 10 tackles while fellow linebacker Zach Melber finished with eight.
The Miners, who improved to 1-2 with the win, will head to the road for their next three contests. The first will be their last non-conference game of the year next Saturday against Lindenwood in a 6 p.m. game in St. Charles, Mo.; the Lions lost 47-28 Saturday at Central Missouri to fall to 2-1 on the year.
S&T 27, Wisconsin-LaCrosse 14
First downs: UWL 11, S&T 24
Yards rushing: UWL 115, S&T 287
Yards passing: UWL 117, S&T 216
Total yards: UWL 232, S&T 503
Passing: UWL 8-21, S&T 18-40
Int. thrown: UWL 2, S&T 1
Fumbles lost: UWL 0, S&T 0
Penalties: UWL 1 for 5, S&T 4 for 17
Punting: UWL 9-32.9, S&T 5-29.8
The score by periods:
S&T 0 3 17 7-27
Wis.-LaCrosse 14 0 0 0-14
The scoring plays:
Wis.-LaCrosse: Hertrampf 1-yard run, Van Druten kick (9:52).
Wis.-LaCrosse: Wall 3-yard interception return, Van Druten kick (5:13).
S&T: Peden 47-yard field goal (6:07).
S&T: Corbid 26-yard pass from Brown, Peden kick (11:17).
S&T: Hudson 2-yard run, Peden kick (6:05).
S&T: Peden 21-yard field goal (1:16).
S&T: Hudson 84-yard run, Peden kick (2:01).
Rushing: S&T - Brown 3 for 17, Hudson 35 for 222, Dickson 10 for 48. Wis.-LaCrosse - Stan 3 for 8, Sires 5 for 6, Lepp 1 for 3, Williquette 1 for minus-10, Hertrampf 22 for 55, Williams 7 for 50, Dobson 4 for 3.
Passing: S&T - Brown 18-40-216-1. Wis.-LaCrosse - Sires 8-21-117-2.
Page 3 of 3 - Receiving: S&T - Moody 3 for 24, Stovall 5 for 47, Taylor 3 for 41, Corbid 3 for 55, Matthews 1 for 12, Hudson 2 for 30, Pischak 1 for 7. Wis.-LaCrosse - Montgomery 1 for 8, Favre 3 for 46, Lepp 1 for 25, Haffemann 2 for 36, Hertrampf 1 for 2.
Interceptions: S&T - Martin 1 for 3, Horn 1 for 12. Wis.-LaCrosse - Wall 1 for 3.
Sacks: S&T - Masters 1 for 11. Wis.-LaCrosse - ½ for 5, Kleven ½ for 5.
Tackle leaders: S&T - Emesih 6 (solo)-4 (assists), Melber 6-2, Correnti 4-2. Wis.-LaCrosse - Perner 7-4, Rockweiler 3-7, Nicholson 4-4.