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Griffons Open with Thrilling Win over Central Missouri

Travis Partridge's touchdown pass to Reggie Jordan earns Missouri Western a 26-23 win in Warrensburg.
(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) With a senior-to-senior connection, Missouri Western erased a sluggish start on offense and escaped Central Missouri with a 26-23 win to begin their MIAA Championship defense.

Senior quarterback Travis Partridge hit tight end Reggie Jordan from five yards out with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to seal it. MWSU was put in that position with the help of some Mule miscues.

Early on, it was the Griffons (1-0) who found miscues in the passing game. Central Missouri (0-1) amassed 225 yards to MWSU's 108 in the first half, thanks largely to dropped passes by receivers.

The Mules scored the first nine points of the night via a 42-yard Zach Gebhardt field goal and a 73-yard touchdown strike from Hayden Hawk to Anthon Kirkwood.

MWSU went to the ground on their first scoring drive as Raphael Spencer picked up 38 yards on back-to-back carries, the latter an 11-yard scoring strike. 

With Central Missouri leading 9-7 at halftime, it took until the 5:26 mark of the third quarter for another team to the end zone. Partridge tossed his lone interception of the night to Tevin Teamer, who found an open runway 30 yards to the end zone. 

Partridge responded with long touchdown throws and consecutive series. The first went to Stephon Weaver, a 55-yard completion to make it 16-13 late in the third quarter. The next, a 56-yarder to Derek Libby, gave MWSU it's first lead of the night, 20-16, on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Mules grabbed the advantage once more, orchestrating a 14-play, 53-yard drive that ended in Hawk finding Cullen Rosine for 15 yards and a 23-20 lead.

The Griffons were forced to punt with just under three minutes to go after the completely new offensive line allowed the third sack of the game. After forcing a three and out, MWSU got one final possession with no timeouts and 1:37 to go.

Pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties helped set up the Griffons for Jordan's go-ahead reception.

It's the 10th win for MWSU in their last 11 meetings with Central Missouri. 


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