INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Missouri S&T went into the locker room at halftime with a lead Saturday night against fifth-ranked Indianapolis, but two turnovers led to touchdowns that put the Miners into a deficit it couldn't overcome late as the Greyhounds held on for a 43-34 victory.
The win clinched the outright Great Lakes Valley Conference title for UIndy, now 10-0 on the season and 7-0 in the GLVC. S&T would have drawn even with the Greyhounds in the loss column in conference play with a win, but instead dropped to 6-4 and 4-2 in the GLVC after losing on the road for the first time this year.
On a night where two significant school records fell, the Miners played a virtually flawless first half on the offensive side of the ball, answering two UIndy scores with touchdowns when they got the ball back and building a 28-17 lead at the intermission.
After the Greyhounds punted to the Miners on their opening possession, the Miners put together an impressive 15-play, 89-yard drive that culminated in a 19-yard scoring pass from Tyler Swart(Dickinson, TX/Dickinson) to Justin Vaughn. Swart completed a third down pass to Austin Griffin(West Palm Beach, FL/Oxbridge Academy) early in the drive to get S&T out of trouble and later, the Miners were aided by a pass interference penalty on another third down play.
UIndy tied the game when Al McKeller ran for a 12-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, but the Miners responded quickly, as a 48-yard run by Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) set up a another connection between Swart and Vaughn for a touchdown, this one covering 24 yards to put S&T back into the lead.
Jake Purichia's two-yard run capped a 12-play scoring drive that allowed the Greyhounds to even the game at 14, but the Miners again answered back as Swart completed five straight passes to allow S&T to reach the UIndy 34-yard line. On the next play, former Miner quarterback Lamar Wilkes(Maryland Heights, MO/Pattonville) – now playing at wide receiver – threw a touchdown pass to Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia) to give the Miners a 21-14 lead.
UIndy cut into the lead when Brad Schickel connected on a 45-yard field goal, but the Miners scored late in the half when Swart threw his third scoring pass of the game of six yards to Austin Griffin (West Palm Beach, FL/Oxbridge Academy) to give the Miners an 11-point halftime lead.
However, the Greyhounds came out flying to start the second half, taking advantage of S&T's first turnover of the game and a short field to score on Purichia's five-yard scoring pass to Daveon Bell, then taking their first lead after the defense got a three-and-out on S&T when Purichia hit Malik Higgins on a 25-yard scoring pass.
Moments later, another S&T fumble led to another Greyhound touchdown, which came on a 17-yard pass from Purichia to Garrett Willis to make it 38-28. Then after the Miners were forced to punt on their next possession, the snap sailed over the head of punter Nolan Mannino (Waterloo, IL/Waterloo)and out of the end zone for a safety.
UIndy outscored the Miners 23-0 in the third quarter, but S&T drew closer about four minutes into the second half when Swart threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Griffin. However, a missed extra point turned into a critical miss when Schickel booted a 33-yard field goal with 4:20 remaining to give UIndy a two-possession lead at the eventual final score of 43-34.
S&T did drive back down the field and got inside the UIndy 25 with under two minutes to play, but following a dropped pass in the end zone with 1:25 remaining, the Greyhounds sacked Swart on the next two plays to snuff out the Miners' late rally hopes.
Swart and Jones both broke school records in the contest, Swart with his 333 passing yards to move his career total to 5.689, breaking the mark of 5,597 that was held by Evan Gray and Jones surpassing Terry Ryan's single-season rushing record that had stood for 40 years. Jones had 111 yards on 21 carries to increase his total for the year to 1,388 yards; Ryan's old mark was 1,314 set in 1977.
Swart completed 27-of-36 passes for the 333 yards and the four scores, with Vaughn catching seven of those passes for 131 yards. Armontrout added six receptions for 82 yards, while Jones cleared the 100-yard mark on the ground for the eighth consecutive game with his 111 yards.
The Greyhounds had a slight advantage in the yardage department – 405 to S&T's 402 – and had 168 of them on the ground behind 101 from McKeller. Purichia threw for 237 yards and three scores, with most of the damage done by Willis and Higgins as they combined for 15 receptions and 202 yards.
Bo Brooks (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) led the Miner defense with nine tackles and Landon Compton(Lamar, MO/Lamar) finished with eight.
Missouri S&T will wrap up its 2017 campaign next Saturday when it hosts Quincy at 1 p.m. at Allgood-Bailey Stadium. Next week's game will be Military Appreciation Day and in addition, the Miner seniors will be honored prior to the contest.