John Kean, Sports Information Director
ROLLA – Behind one of its best offensive showings in program history, Missouri S&T’s football team broke into the win column in impressive fashion Saturday night as it belted Azusa Pacific 51-17 at Allgood-Bailey Stadium.
The Miners rolled up 670 yards of total offense – the second-most in a game in school history – and ran out to a 37-3 lead by halftime to knock off the pre-season favorites in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and an NCAA Division II playoff participant in 2018. The offensive show for S&T began right off the bat, as it marched 78 yards on the opening drive of the contest to take the lead.
Quarterback Brennan Simms ( Punta Gorda, FL/Charlotte) went over from the one 3:24 into play to put S&T in front, then the Miner defense forced a turnover on the Cougars’ first possession to take over at the APU 48-yard line. Nine plays later, the Miners were in the end zone again when Payton McAlister (Decatur, TX/Decatur) scored on a two-yard run.
Missouri S&T (1-1) racked up 215 yards of total offense in the first quarter alone – running 30 plays from scrimmage to just seven for the Cougars (0-2) — and added to its lead when Ben Styron (Harrisonville, MO/Harrisonville) connected on a 26-yard field goal to begin the second quarter of play. Moments after the Styron field goal, the S&T defense got in on the scoring when linebacker Dontay White (Florissant, MO/Hazelwood Central) picked off a Tyrone Williams pass and returned it 19 yards to make it 23-0.
Azusa Pacific got on the scoreboard on its next drive as a 79-yard pass from Williams to Jasiah Richard-Lewis led to a 27-yard field goal by Ramzee Jaridly, but the Miners produced two more touchdown drives before the half ended, as Simms threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to McAlister and of eight yards to Logan Armontrout (Centralia, MO/Centralia) in the final minute prior to the intermission.
S&T posted 348 yards of total offense in the first half and after the Cougars scored on their first two possessions of the second half to cut into the margin, the Miners got their offense rolling again with some big plays to put the contest away.
Simms connected with Josh Brown (Gainesville, FL/North Marion HS) on passes of 20 and 36 yards to get the Miners inside the APU five-yard line to set up a four-yard scoring pass to Cameron Clemons (St. Louis, MO/Lutheran North), then in the fourth quarter – after being backed up at its own one-yard line following a punt – reserve quarterback Staton King (Bixby, OK/Bixby) hit Breon Michel (Colorado Springs, CO/Vista Ridge) for a 97-yard touchdown pass on a third down play to close the scoring.
The final touchdown pass was the longest pass play in school history and capped off a night in which the Miners racked up 374 yards through the air to go along with 296 on the ground. McAlister finished with 101 yards rushing, while Aaron Moya (Canutillo, TX/Canutillo) added 79 and Deshawn Jones (Olympia Fields, IL/Rich Central) tacked on 63.
Simms completed 17-of-30 passes for 277 yards and the three scores, with Brown hauling in six of those throws for 135 yards. The Miners’ 670-yard effort Saturday was exceeded only by a 697-yard showing in a 2008 win over Kentucky Wesleyan.
Defensively, Stefan Camplin (Raytown, MO/Raytown) led the way with six tackles and Bryce Stevenson (Pearland, TX/Dawson) finished with five, while Jake Larson (O’Fallon, MO/St. Dominic) also had an interception to go along with the pick-six by White, a return that extended a streak for the Miners as they have now had at least one return for a score in a school record 15 consecutive years.
Azusa Pacific finished with 412 yards of offense, giving the two teams a combined total of 1,082 yards on the night.
Missouri S&T will play at Allgood-Bailey Stadium again next Saturday as it hosts Miles at 7 p.m. The Golden Bears improved to 2-0 on the year Saturday night with a 38-13 win over Morehouse.