Bulldogs Christen New Turf in Home Opener

The football team practices on the new turf in Stokes Stadium on Tuesday. The rest of the renovations are expected to be done by the home opener on Saturday against Missouri S&T. (Photo by Kennedy Martin/TMN)

Although the Truman State University football team fell to its opponents in the first two games of the season, the players are eager to start conference play on a strong note at the newly renovated Stokes Stadium.

The ‘Dogs fell 38-14 in their season opener to the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton, Michigan, two weeks ago. The ‘Dogs started strong, keeping pace with the Huskies — sophomore Jaden Barr tied the game up with a 75-yard dash to the end-zone — it would be the Bulldogs last score of the night.

Despite the rough start, Head Coach Gregg Nesbitt said the ‘Dogs came back and improved from the first game. They put up a better fight against the Morningside College Mustangs — ranked fourth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics — but ultimately lost 35-30, despite a comeback in the second half.

“We improved significantly from week one to week two,” Nesbitt said. “We particularly seemed to find our way as a team in the second half of our game last week versus Morningside.”

Nesbitt said the team was consistent across the board, including a balanced offensive attack, a strong defense, and an improved kicking and return game. He said the team focused better on the small details this time around.

Truman State Morningside
Total Yards 442 346

1st Downs

24 18
3rd Down Conversions 9-16 4-10
Return Yards 110 129

Senior defensive lineman Judkins said he is confident the team will translate a great week of practices into success in its first conference game Saturday.

Senior defensive back Ben Chaney said anything can happen on any given night. He said this will be true against Missouri University of Science and Technology based on the game against the Miners last season.

“Last year, S&T was a very competitive game, especially in the first half,” Chaney said. “They have a solid [quarterback] and a good receiving core that will challenge our secondary [defensive backs] on defense.”

The ‘Dogs will face off against Missouri S&T for their home opener at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at Stokes Stadium. The team expects a good turnout on Family Night. The ‘Dogs look to repeat last year’s win against the Miners at Rolla, Missouri.