The Central Methodist University football team had its most productive day offensively and scored the most points NAIA No. 6 MidAmerica Nazarene University has allowed this season, but it was not enough as the Pioneers held on for a 27-24 win over CMU Oct. 11.
After falling behind 27-10, the Eagles rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. With just more than 10 minutes remaining in the game, senior running back Rashad Lee (Tyler, Texas) scored on a 26-yard touchdown carry. The PAT by sophomore kicker Tyler Padgett (Jefferson City) cut MidAmerica Nazarene's lead to 10.
Central Methodist scored again on a 75-yard pass from junior quarterback Brock Brockmeier (Kansas City) to senior wide receiver Seth Bauman (Warsaw, Mo.) with one minute, 27 seconds left in the game.
Padgett's PAT made the score 27-24, but the onside kick went out of bounds, allowing MidAmerica Nazarene to kneel three times to end the game.
The Eagles took just one play and 16 seconds to get on the scoreboard against MNU in the first half.
A 63-yard kickoff return by senior Justin Gerald (Springfield) to open the game put Central Methodist at the MNU 32-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, Brockmeier connected with freshman wide receiver Mitch Owenby (Warrenton) for a touchdown. The PAT by Padgett gave the Eagles a 7-0 advantage.
MNU scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, including one with two seconds left, to take a 21-7 control with a lead.
Central Methodist cut the lead to 21-10 at halftime with a 24-yard field goal by Padgett.
After the half, MidAmerica Nazarene added another touchdown, but had the extra-point attempt go off the right upright.
Both teams had missed opportunities to score.
The Eagles had the ball with first down from the 5-yard line early in the second quarter, but were unable to convert.
On their opening drive in the third quarter, the Pioneers had a field-goal attempt blocked by junior defensive back Kyler Crawford (Hopland, Calif.).
The Eagles produced a season-high 445 yards, while holding the No. 1 offense in the country to 415 yards, nearly 100 yards below MNU's average for the season.
Lee finished with 17 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown. Brockmeier was 28-of-52 passing for 337 yards and two touchdowns.
Bauman had two catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, while junior wide receiver Reggie Hatton (Columbia) finished with seven receptions for 73 yards.
Junior wide receivers Kevin Pike (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Maurice Morris (Lake Elsinore, Calif.) each had six catches for 67 and 47 yards, respectively.
Gerald finished with 135 yards on four kickoff returns for the Eagles. Defensively, sophomore defensive back Antonio Brown (St. Louis) and senior defensive back Tony Ward (Beaumont, Texas) led Central Methodist with 13 and 12 tackles, respectively.
Central Methodist will be on the road Oct. 18 for a 1 p.m. contest against Avila University, who sits at 2-4 on the season after a 19-6 loss at Evangel University. The next home game for CMU will be at 6 p.m. against Oct. 25 against Baker University.