The Central Methodist University Eagle football team built a 17-0 lead with seven minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but gave up 27 unanswered points, falling to the Evangel Crusaders 27-17 Sept. 20.
Three of the Crusaders' scores came after Eagle turnovers, including a pair of touchdowns on interceptions.
After Evangel made the score 17-14 with 9:25 left in the game, the Crusaders got to the CMU 12-yard line, looking to take the lead.
Back-to-back Crusader penalties pushed Evangel back 20 yards, forcing the Crusaders to kick a field goal, which missed wide.
The Eagles took over with 4:28 left in the game, looking to eat some clock.
A fumble on the Eagles 14-yard line on second down gave the ball back to Evangel in scoring position.
The Crusaders took advantage and took their first lead of the game with a touchdown with 2:41 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, freshman running back Caleb Haynes (Higginsville, Mo.) returned the ball to the CMU 49-yard line.
On fourth-and-1 from the Evangel 42-yard line, the Crusaders got their second interception of the game, returning it 58 yards to seal the win.
The PAT was blocked by senior linebacker Trey Neal (Warrensburg, Mo.) to make the final score 27-17.
The Eagles got on the board quickly to open the game, driving 66 yards on four-of-four passing by junior quarterback Brock Brockmeier (Kansas City, Mo.). The drive was capped by a 45-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Alonso Spiller (Moberly, Mo.).
CMU made it 10-0 on the Eagles' next possession with a 20-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Tyler Padgett (Jefferson City, Mo.).
After a scoreless second quarter, the score at halftime remained 10-0 in favor of the Eagles.
The Eagles broke the scoring drought for both teams with a 2-yard run by senior running back Justin Gerald (Springfield), making the score 17-0 with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
Two big passes highlighted the 83-yard drive.
On first-and-10 from the CMU 37-yard line, Brockmeier lateralled to junior wide receiver Kevin Pike (Chula Vista, Calif.), who threw to Spiller. Spiller bobbled the ball, then made a spectacular diving catch at the Evangel 37-yard line. After a 12-yard run by Gerald to the Evangel 25, the drive stalled, before Brockmeier completed a 14-yard pass to Pike on third-and-10.
Evangel finally got on the scoreboard with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter with an interception returned 40 yards. The PAT bounced off the left upright, making the score 17-6.
The Crusaders then made it 17-14, capping a 94-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass. Evangel completed another pass to convert the 2-point conversion.
The Eagles finished with 317 yards passing on 36-of-56 passing for Brockmeier and the one complete pass from Pike to Spiller.
Spiller finished with 10 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown, while Pike had 11 catches for 80 yards.
Defensively, the Eagles were led by sophomore defensive back Antonio Brown (St. Louis) with five tackles. Senior linebacker Ryan Boyer (Warsaw, Mo.), junior defensive back Andrew Claxton (Rolla), senior defensive back AH Marshall (Charleston, Mo.) and senior linebacker Mickey Pitman (Branson) each had four tackles for CMU.
As a team, CMU finished with 322 yards of total offense, compared to 221 for Evangel. The Eagles had 20 first downs, to just 15 for the Crusaders. For the first time this season, however, the CMU defense was unable to force a turnover, while the Eagle offense gave up two interceptions and two fumbles.
The loss dropped CMU to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Evangel moved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the HAAC.
The Eagles will travel to Cookeville, Tenn., this week to take on NCAA Div. 1 (FCS) Tennessee Tech University. Kickoff for the Sept. 25 game is set for 7 p.m.