LIBERTY, Mo. – With the Missouri S&T offense in a battle to put points on the scoreboard, the Miner defense took over matters in the second half and held William Jewell scoreless in the final 30 minutes as S&T rallied for a 27-17 Great Lakes Valley Conference win at Greene Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Miners trailed 17-14 at halftime and opened the second half with a turnover, but the S&T defense forced a punt and the offense worked its way down the field oved the next five minutes for the go-ahead score as they improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the GLVC for the first time since 2012.
After getting the lead, the Miner defense held the Cardinals in check – William Jewell had just 123 yards in the second half and 37 of them came on its final possession with the clock winding down – and also forced two key turnovers to tamp down any hopes of a comeback.
It was the second straight week in which the Miner defense has blanked an opponent in the second half and the unit has allowed only eight second half points during its current three-game winning streak.
The Miners got on the scoreboard first just past the midway point of the opening period as Tyler Swart(Dickinson, TX/Dickinson) connected with Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca) on a 10-yard scoring pass. However, the Cardinals answered back to tie the game, as moments after Brad Strauss completed a 28-yard pass to Wyatt Miller, he hit Trejuan Mask on a swing pass for the final 15 yards to knot the score at seven.
William Jewell then took advantage of the first of two S&T turnovers in the opening half, driving 72 yards for the go-ahead score that came on a 22-yard run by Chance Nelson.
Missouri S&T tied it back up with an 86-yard drive that saw Swart complete all five of his throws, including a 45-yard strike to Graham to draw even. The Miners then threatened to take the lead the next time they got the ball, getting deep in Cardinal territory following an acrobatic catch by Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia). But on a third down play, Justice Taylor picked off a pass in the back corner of the end zone to halt the drive.
The Cardinals got a 35-yard run from Mask right after the interception and a 25-yard pass from Strauss to Hayden Schmidt to set up a 29-yard field goal by Dalton Dye to take a 17-14 lead to the intermission.
Early in the second half, the defense got a stop of the Cardinals following S&T's third turnover of the game, then the offense rode Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) and Graham to get to the end zone. Graham caught a pass to get S&T to the 27 before a run by Jones put the Miners into the red zone.
Swart finished the drive with a quarterback sneak from the one to give the Miners the lead back at 21-17 with just over four minutes remaining in the period.
The Miners added to their lead near the mid-point of the fourth quarter on Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville)'s 30-yard field goal, then Roderick Chapman (Los Angeles, CA/Jefferson) picked off a Strauss pass on third down to give the ball back to S&T; Styron's 24-yard field goal a couple of minutes later extended the Miner lead to 27-17.
On Jewell's first play following the ensuing kickoff, Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) picked off another pass with 4:14 remaining and the Miners ran out most of the remaining time to lock up their third straight victory.
Swart, the GLVC leader in passing, completed 27-of-37 passes for 360 yards and the two touchdowns to Graham, who hauled in nine passes for 126 yards. Armontrout also had a career high with 120 yards on five receptions.
In the first half, Swart threw for 275 yards with 12 of his 18 completions going to Armontrout and Graham for a total of 226 yards.
Jones also went over the 100-yard mark on the ground for the third week in succession with 104 yards on 23 carries and finished with 155 all-purpose yards in the contest.
Missouri S&T outgained the Cardinals (0-5, 0-2 GLVC) 488-357 on the afternoon.
Linebacker Austin Truvillion (Kansas City, MO/Park Hill), playing just outside of his hometown of Kansas City, led the Miners with 10 tackles and Tershawn Wharton (University City, MO/University City) recorded seven, including being in on three stops behind the line of scrimmage. Ryan Kirkendall(Silsbee, TX/Silsbee) had three pass breakups in the secondary, including two key ones on third down plays in the second half.
The Miners will remain on the road next Saturday to play their final non-conference game of the season, as they will take on Saint Francis (Ill.) in a 1 p.m. game in Joliet, Ill.