After getting off to a record-setting start in Missouri Valley Football Conference play, the Missouri State football team lost its first conference road game of the Bobby Petrino era 41-33 to Youngstown State. 

The Bears did not look like they had on either side of the ball in the loss. The offense had a lot of turnovers and miscommunications and the defense didn’t play up to its billing in the second half.

Here are three reasons why Missouri State lost the game.

Costly Mistakes

So far this season, senior quarterback Jason Shelley has been efficient and has taken care of the ball. However, that was not the case against YSU.

Shelley’s first pass of the game was intercepted, and YSU found its way to the endzone shortly after.

A few drives later, junior receiver Tyrone Scott was fighting for extra yards when the ball was stripped and recovered by YSU.

“I feel like we beat ourselves,” Petrino said in a postgame interview on 101.3 KWTO. “We turned it over early and gave (YSU) the opportunity to have the lead, hold the ball and move the ball.”

After junior kicker Jose Pizano nailed a field goal to cut the YSU lead to six, MSU was in position to take the lead with a touchdown.

On the second play of the drive, Shelley underthrew senior receiver Jordan Murray, and the pass was intercepted. YSU took advantage and redshirt freshman quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw threw his second touchdown of the game to put YSU up 17-3 with just seconds left in the half. 

On a third-down attempt in YSU territory in the third quarter, senior running back Tobias Little committed MSU’s fourth turnover of the day.

Besides the turnovers, the Bears committed costly penalties on offense to kill drives and on defense to extend YSU drives.

Unusual second-half defense

The Bear defense hadn’t allowed a score in the second half over its last two games, but that wasn’t the case today.

YSU was working with short fields due to turnovers in the first half — which makes it easier to score.

The second half was a much different story.

YSU’s run game  started to get to work in the second half. Crenshaw and senior running back Jaleel McLaughlin were running the read-option very well. Crenshaw was toting the rock effectively on designed quarterback power runs as well.

“The second-half defense wasn't what we’re used to and what we need to be able to win,” Petrino said. 

The Bear defense allowed rushing scores of 22, 60 and 73 yards in the fourth quarter alone and allowed 297 rushing yards throughout the game.

Lack Of Balance

Even with improvements at the quarterback and receiver positions in the offseason, Petrino has expressed a want to have a balanced attack on offense.

He’s said multiple times that he’d like to be 50% run and 50% pass on first downs. 

Just last week the Bears had 194 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, but only had 131 yards and no touchdowns on Saturday.

The YSU defense gave MSU weak box looks quite frequently, but MSU didn’t seem to take advantage and continued to pass the ball in advantageous running situations. 

MSU is at its best when it can run the ball well and use play-action to get big gains through the air. MSU found an offensive rhythm on a couple of drives, but couldn’t sustain it throughout the entire game.

The Bears are back in Plaster on Saturday, Oct. 16 to take on Indiana State at 2 p.m. for homecoming.

Follow TJ Scott on Twitter, @iamtjs_

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