ROLLA, Mo. – Fresh off a victory in its Great Lakes Valley Conference opener – as well as its first of the 2017 campaign -- Missouri S&T steps outside of conference play for a week as it will travel to Canton, Ohio to take on Malone University Saturday afternoon.
Saturday's game, which will take place at Tom Benson Stadium on the grounds of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will get underway at 3 p.m., Eastern time. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Miners and Pioneers, who play in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
The Miners moved to 1-2 on the season with their 27-11 win at Truman State, while Malone is seeking its first win of 2017 as it is 0-2 heading into its home opener Saturday.
ABOUT THE MINERS: Missouri S&T used a solid all-around effort to break into the win column for the first time Saturday, using good balance on offense and a strong defensive performance to get the win at Truman in a game delayed twice, once by weather and the second time when the stadium lights went out for 16 minutes during the third quarter.
S&T got a career-high 152 yards on the ground from Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central), including a 36-yard touchdown to stave off any hopes of a Truman rally in the fourth quarter, as it ran for a season-high 205 yards in the game. Jones is currently third in the GLVC in rushing with 253 yards after becoming the first Miners in the five-plus years of GLVC football to rush for at least 150 yards in a game.
The Miners still have two of the top offensive performers in NCAA Division II thus far in 2017 in quarterback Tyler Swart (Dickinson, TX/Dickinson) and wide receiver Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca). Swart ranks sixth nationally in passing yards with a league-high 947 as he has completed 61.8 percent of his throws on the year; he is also tied for the GLVC lead with five touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, Graham has caught a league-high 20 passes for 390 yards and three touchdowns and also had a rushing touchdown in Saturday's win. Graham ranks eighth in Division II with his 390 yards and is also among the top 20 nationally with his 175.7 all-purpose yards per game.
S&T's defense held Truman to 236 yards in the win and kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone until the fourth quarter, as the unit forced two turnovers and ended five other Truman possessions on downs.
Landon Compton (Lamar, MO/Lamar) leads the Miners with 24 tackles on the season, while Tershawn Wharton (University City, MO/University City) has recorded 23 stops – the duo has combined for 6.5 sacks on the year as well – and Austin Truvillion (Kansas City, MO/Park Hill) and Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) have 22 tackles apiece. Ryan Kirkendall (Silsbee, TX/Silsbee), who had four pass breakups and one of S&T's two interceptions in the game, leads Division II with 2.7 passes defended per game as he has seven pass breakups and an interception.
Roderick Chapman (Los Angeles, CA/Jefferson) has the Miners' other interception in the game as the S&T defense held Truman to just 11 complete passes in 38 attempts.
ABOUT MALONE: The Pioneers saw their second half rally effort fall short Saturday, as Shaw handed Malone a 34-27 loss to drop it to 0-2 on the season.
The Pioneers, who finished their season opener against Taylor with -18 yards rushing, ran for 224 yards on Saturday on the strength of 74 yards from tailback Matt Blasiole. That included a 45-yard touchdown run and the Pioneers had three of their four scores on the ground last week, including two from Xavier Garland.
Quarterback Joe Iacucci has completed 52.2 percent of his throws this season for 560 yards and two scores, with Eian Elsass leading the receiving corps with 13 catches for 224 yards and Ashton Dulin hauling in 11 balls for 164 yards. The Pioneers have gained 73 percent of their offensive yardage through the air this season.
Linebacker Ryan Weber has a team-high 32 tackles, while Josh Correll has made 20 stops and has one of the two quarterback sacks recorded by the defensive unit. Malone's defense has allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game through its first two contests.