Missouri State beats Western Illinois 30-24

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) — Jaden Johnson threw a touchdown pass and Jose Pizano kicked three field goals in the second half to help Missouri State beat Western Illinois 30-24 on Saturday.

Pizano’s 37-yard field goal tied it a 17 in the third quarter and his 43-yarder made it 20-17 early in the fourth.

Tony Tate had a 2-yard touchdown run to give Western Illinois a 24-20 lead. Johnson threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Smith, and Pizano made a 33-yard field goal with 3:48 remaining.

On the ensuing series, the Leathernecks drove to their 46, but the drive stalled when Kevin Ellis forced a Henry Ogala fumble and Eric Johnson recovered the ball to seal it for the Bears (1-3, 1-2 Missouri Valley).

Johnson was 18-of-28 passing for 278 yards but threw two interceptions. He also fumbled the ball with 6:50 left in the second quarter, and Greg Benton Jr. returned it 75 yards for a touchdown that tied it at 14.

Celdon Manning had a 5-yard touchdown run and Jeremiah Wilson an 11-yard TD run in the first quarter for Missouri State.

Connor Sampson was 34 of 46 for 281 yards passing with a TD and two interceptions for Western Illinois in its season opener.

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