After losing their first game of the season just a week earlier, Missouri Western bounced back with stellar defense to stomp the Truman State Bulldogs 38-14 last Saturday.
The Griffons showed that they can respond to adversity after dropping their first loss to Northwest and coming back with a vengeance.
“After the last game it was easy to bounce back because we really wanted to win a game,” junior offensive lineman Andy Gilmore said. “Obviously that was our first loss and our first time to see what a loss feels like. I think we wanted to get back on the winning track.”
According to head coach Jerry Partridge, the team’s ability to respond had a lot to do with leadership.
“We have a lot of leaders on the offensive line, we have a good quarterback who’s a leader, we have linebackers who are leaders and we have linemen who are leaders,” Partridge said. “I don’t think Truman was a great team, but we played well and took care of business, and that was pretty satisfying.”
Although the Griffons played a great game all around, Western’s defense gave a spectacular performance. The defense limited the Bulldogs to negative nine yards in the first half, sacked Truman’s quarterback five times and forced two turnovers. Most of the yardage that the Bulldogs did manage to gain came in the fourth quarter against the Griffon’s second and third string defenders.
“That was one of the best defensive performances we’ve ever had here,” Partridge said.
The defense took control in the first half and helped the Griffons to go into the locker room up 28-0. Touchdowns from Mike Hill, Thomas Hodges, Adam Clausen and a punt return from Cedric Houston gave the Griffons the advantage.
After another touchdown from Mike Hill to open up the second half put Western up 35-0, Truman outscored the Griffons the rest of the way 14-3. Brad Beckwith finished off the game with a 24 yard field goal to put Western up 38-14 and lead them to victory.
After this win, the Griffons improve to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the MIAA. This Saturday they will take on 14th ranked Central Missouri in Spratt Stadium at 1:30 p.m. for homecoming. Western is currently ranked 15th and tied with Central for second in the MIAA.
Missouri Western’s main goal is to limit their silly mistakes which should lead to success.
We can’t turn the football over again and we can’t give up big plays on defense,” Partridge said. “That’s kind of our problem.”
Quarterback Drew Newhart, who leads the MIAA in passing efficiency and finished Saturday completing 16 of 25 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, agreed that if the Griffons can limit their turnovers, they will be successful.
“We just need to work on the little things and take care of the football and I think we’ll be okay for Saturday,” Newhart said.