After a long week of celebration and activities, the Truman State University football team will take the field against the Missouri University of Science and Technology for Homecoming’s main event.
The Bulldogs enter this weekend’s afternoon game with an overall record of 5-1 after last week’s heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Lindenwood University. With just one minute and 20 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs were up by 10, on their way to their sixth win and continuing their undefeated season. With one minute and 16 seconds to go the Lions scored a touchdown, leaving Truman just three points ahead. On the ensuing onside kickoff the Lions recovered the ball and proceeded to drive down the field and score as the clock expired. This loss dropped the Bulldogs to 2-1 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
Despite dropping their first game of the season last week, head coach Gregg Nesbitt and the Bulldogs are treating this weekend’s Homecoming game like business as usual.
“Winning or losing does not affect how good teams go about the business of their weekly preparation,” Nesbitt said. “We will simply attempt to learn, both coaches and players, from last week’s setback.”
As the Bulldogs continue to prepare as they do every week, the Bulldogs injured secondary unit will need to improve upon last week’s performance for the team to win its second Homecoming game in a row. Last week the secondary missing starters Lawrence Woods and Wyatt Fishel allowed Lindenwood to pass for 329 yards, the largest total the Bulldogs have allowed all season. Prior to last week, Truman had not allowed more than 260 yards through the air. In addition to allowing the most yards this season, the Bulldogs secondary gave up all four of the Lion touchdowns through the air. However, Nesbitt said the Bulldogs will rely on verteran leadership and the team culture to make up for the loss of experience on defense.
Now 5-1 and entering the back half of their schedule, the Bulldogs are focusing their attention on Missouri S&T. The Miners enter the game with a record of 5-1 overall and 2-0 in GLVC play. They will kickoff with the best record of any Bulldog opponent to this point in the season. The Bulldogs have lost the last two games against Missouri S&T, including last season’s emotional loss which eliminated the Bulldogs from bowl game contention.
While the coaching staff said there will be no changes made to their approach for the Miners, they will be counting on the crowd at Stokes Stadium to support a team trying to bounce back at home. With a win this weekend the Bulldogs would move up to third place in the GLVC, and would be one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.
Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 with a pep rally and tailgate starting at 12 p.m.