ROLLA, Mo. – Missouri S&T's football team heads to the road for the final time in the 2017 season Saturday with a chance to complete a perfect season away from home, but in order to do that, it will have to end a perfect season of its foe on the opposite sideline.
The Miners have gone 5-0 away from Allgood-Bailey Stadium, but to make it 6-0 – and extend a road winning to seven for the first time in nearly four decades – it will have to knock off an Indianapolis squad that is currently ranked fifth in the American Football Coaches Association rankings and sporting the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division II at 13 games.
Missouri S&T is 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the GLVC heading into Saturday's game with the 9-0 Greyhounds, who clinched at least a share of the conference title with their win last week. The two teams rank among the best on both sides of the football in the GLVC, as both rank among the top three in the league in total offense and total defense.
ABOUT THE MINERS: Missouri S&T overcame a 21-point deficit late in the first half to defeat Southwest Baptist 41-38 on Homecoming at Allgood-Bailey Stadium, assuring itself of a winning season in the process. The Miners trailed 31-10 with less than three minutes to play in the opening half, but beginning with an 89-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Swart (Dickinson, TX/Dickinson) to Justin Vaughn – tying the third-longest pass play in school history – S&T outscored the Bearcats 31-7 over the balance of the contest.
Swart was named as the GLVC's offensive player of the week for his performance, as he threw for 225 of his 352 yards in the second half. For the season, Swart has completed 61.8 percent of his passes for 2,661 yards and 18 touchdowns; he ranks fifth in NCAA Division II in passing yards entering play this week.
Meanwhile, Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) cleared the 100-yard mark for a school record seventh consecutive game with 155 yards, including an 82-yard scoring run that started the Miner scoring. Jones is currently fourth in NCAA Division II in rushing with a league-high 1,277 on the season and needs just 37 to reach Terry Ryan's single-season school record.
The Miner receiving corps is led by Braxton Graham (Seneca, MO/Seneca) with 36 receptions for 603 yards, while Vaughn has 20 catches for 525 yards. S&T has five receivers with at least 23 catches, as Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia) has caught 29 balls, Josh Brown has 27 catches and Jones has caught 23.
Placekicker Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville) made two field goals Saturday to tie the S&T single season record of 13 in a year and has made of 13-of-17 attempts this year.
The Miner defense continues to rank at the top of the GLVC, allowing just 283.9 yards per game after holding SBU to 240 last week. Austin Truvillion (Kansas City, MO/Park Hill) leads the way with 77 tackles, while Landon Compton (Lamar, MO/Lamar) has been in on 63 stops and Tershawn Wharton (University City, MO/University City) has made 60.
Wharton, the GLVC defensive player of the week, had eight tackles in Saturday's win with four of them behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks to go along with a forced fumble. Wharton leads the GLVC in both tackles for a loss with 18 – one shy of the S&T single-season record – and 10.5 quarterback sacks.
In addition, Ryan Kirkendall (Silsbee, TX/Silsbee) ranks second in the league with 13 pass breakups and is 11th in the nation in passes defended this season.
ABOUT INDIANAPOLIS: The Greyhounds won their school record 13th consecutive game Saturday when they routed William Jewell 42-3 in Liberty, Mo., as quarterback Jake Purichia went 19-of-22 for 210 yards and three scores. Purichia has the best quarterback rating in NCAA Division II of 193.9 and has been good on 71.1 percent of his passes on the year for 1,995 yards and a GLVC-best 20 touchdowns.
UIndy's offense ranks second to the Miners in the GLVC with a balanced attack, as it is averaging a league-high 211.1 yards a game on the ground to go with 223.7 per game in the air. The ground attack is led by freshman Al McKeller, who is second in the league to S&T's Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) with 889 yards; he had a 206-yard performance in his UIndy debut when the Greyhounds beat then No. 2-ranked Grand Valley State.
Garrett Willis is the top Greyhound receiver with 41 catches for 710 yards and six touchdowns, while Malik Wiggins has a league-high seven scoring receptions among his 25 receptions.
Freshman linebacker Joe Lambright leads the Greyhounds on the defensive side with 84 tackles, while defensive end Jacob Schmatz has team highs in tackles for a loss with 10 and sacks with six. UIndy has allowed 345.7 yards per game but has forced its opponents into 16 turnovers, three of which were interceptions by cornerback Mike Hamilton.