Missouri S&T Athletics
John Kean, Sports Information Director
BOLIVAR – Missouri S&T opened its Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule in milestone fashion Saturday afternoon, as the Miners used a number of big plays to rewrite sections of the record book over the course of a 48-23 win over Southwest Baptist.
After being held under 200 yards on the offensive side of the ball for two straight weeks, the Miners (4-1, 1-0 GLVC) exploded on Saturday as they posted their third-highest yardage mark in a game in school history with 609 yards of total offense.
The bulk of the marks were recorded by quarterback Tyler Swart, as he had a career day with 448 yards passing and five touchdown passes – including one that made him the S&T career leader in touchdown throws. Swart threw the first three of those scores to Braxton Graham – marking the first time in his career that he had three scoring receptions in a game – including one covering 59 yards on the Miners’ third play from scrimmage to give S&T an early lead.
The defense was not left out of the fun, as Roderick Chapman tied a school record with three interceptions on a day when the Miner defense held the Bearcats (0-4, 0-2 GLVC) to just 179 yards of total offense and a total of eight first downs. Chapman became the first Miner since Nathan Williams to pick off three passes in a game; Williams achieved his three-pick game in 2004 at Emporia State.
SBU did score twice in the first half and did so with big plays that accounted for 120 of those 179 yards. The first came early in the second quarter – after S&T had increased its lead to 10-0 following Ben Styron’s 36-yard field goal – when Connor Ratcliff took a Bryse Salik pass down the sideline 54 yards for a touchdown.
However, the Miners answered right back, scoring just 1:12 later on another Swart-to-Graham connection that covered 60 yards as Graham got behind the SBU secondary for his second score of the day.
The Bearcats got within three again when Salik hit Mario Lanier on a third down pass that turned into a 66-yard touchdown reception, but the Miners were able to regain their 10-point lead before halftime. Swart hit Logan Armontrout for a 35-yard gain to the SBU 16-yard line with a little over 90 seconds remaining in the half, then a pass interference penalty in the end zone on the Bearcats led to Deshawn Jones’ two-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds to play before halftime.
S&T got the ball to start the second half as well and broke the game open as it scored on four straight possessions. The first scoring drive was started and ended by Graham, as he took the snap from the wildcat formation on the first play for a 42-yard gain, then caught an eight-yard touchdown pass to complete the drive.
That touchdown pass by Swart was the 60thof his career, which broke the S&T career record that was held by Evan Gray. He added to that total about three minutes later, as he followed up a 48-yard completion to Josh Brown by connecting with him again on a 23-yard scoring pass that gave the Miners a 38-14 lead.
SBU responded with a big kickoff return following a throw back across the field; a subsequent penalty on S&T allowed the Bearcats to set up shop at the Miners’ 28. The Bearcats were then aided by two S&T penalties that eventually led to a two-yard touchdown run by Eric Knight, but S&T’s Ryan Kirkendall intercepted the pass on the two-point attempt to keep the S&T lead at 18.
Styron, who tallied 12 points in the kicking game Saturday to tie the S&T career record for a kicker with 187, added a 25-yard field goal late in the third quarter, then Swart threw his fifth scoring pass of the day when he hit Justin Vaughn for 49 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter to close the S&T scoring.
Swart became the first Miner to throw at least five touchdown passes in a game since Brad Guidry’s seven-touchdown performance in the Miners’ 2008 win over SBU and the first to throw for at least 400 yards since Jason Schlueter did so in 2009 against Saint Francis (Ind.). His 448 yards were the sixth-most in a game by a Miner in history.
Over the course of the day, the Miners recorded 10 plays from scrimmage of 20 yards or more and seven of them covered at least 30 yards in reaching the third-highest offensive output in program history. Graham finished the day with 209 all-purpose yards, including 179 in receptions – the third-most in a game in his S&T career – on his seven catches.
S&T’s defense had two sacks on the day, which came from Ben Straatmann and Kirkendall and held the Bearcats to a net minus two yards rushing. The Miners recorded nine tackles for a loss in the contest as they posted their second outing of holding an opponent under 200 yards of offense.
Landon Compton had nine tackles to pace the S&T defense, while Straatmann and Justin Onwugbufor had six apiece.
Missouri S&T will return to Allgood-Bailey Stadium next Saturday to host a showdown with defending GLVC champion Indianapolis at 7 p.m.