Missouri S&T would strike first with an interception return for a touchdown early in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Two drives later, TSU would settle down as Devin Williams and Dominic Franklin went to work as Williams connected on back-to-back 23-yard receptions followed by Franklin’s 8-yard touchdown run with 8:25 left as the game was tied 7-7 midway through the first quarter.
The Miners converted three third downs on the ensuing drive as they would answer with a 32-yard field goal at the 4:19 mark to lead 10-7. TSU once again would respond to begin the second quarter as Franklin ran the ball to put the team into scoring position. However, the drive would stall as TSU settled for a 45-yard field goal from Richard Garcia III as the contest was tied at 10-all.
Freshman Ja’Corey Benjamin picked off a pass in the end zone on the next drive and TSU’s offense rewarded him for his efforts as Franklin rushed in from 1-yard out to lead a nine-play, 80-yard drive en route to 17-10 lead with 6:42 left in the half. The lead was short-lived though as Missouri S&T drove 75 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at 17-all after a 1-yard run by Brennan Simms.
The Miners opened the second half with a pair of field goals to extend its lead to 23-17. TSU returned back to the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter as they had to settle for another field goal by Garcia III despite driving to the Missouri S&T 2. The Tiger defense held its ground and forced the Miners to punt late in the fourth quarter which set up a dramatic final drive by TSU.
With the ball at its own 12 and 4:48 left, the Tigers marched downfield as a 50-yard reception to Donnie Corley from Williams moved the ball to the Miner 22. A pair of Malik Webb receptions moved the ball to the Miner 9 but a costly sack on the ensuing play moved the offense back to the Miner 17. TSU would get as far as the 12-yard line for the potential game-tying 30-yard field goal which went wide right unfortunately.
TSU outgained the Miners 446-397 in total offense as Franklin led TSU with 114 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Williams passed 273 yards and two touchdowns while Corley caught 10 receptions for 273 yards. Mene Khepera led the defense with 11 tackles.
The Tigers head to Dallas next weekend to face Southern in the 2nd annual State Fair Showdown at the Cotton Bowl. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.