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Beating Northern Iowa in another thriller, MSU ‘Cardiac Bears’ live up to their nickname

Jason Shelley flexes after a rushing TD
Missouri State Athletics Communications
Jason Shelley flexes after a rushing TD

The Bears pulled off their sixth conference win of the season Saturday, defeating the Northern Iowa Panthers 34-27. Things got rocky in the fourth quarter when MSU saw its lead disappear after the Bears went three and out and UNI blocked the following punt, recovering it deep in Bears territory. The Panthers tied the game up a couple of plays later, giving the ball back to MSU with a little over two minutes remaining.

After a big third down conversion by Tyrone Scott, Bears quarterback Jason Shelley hit wide receiver Naveon Mitchell over the middle for a massive 55 yard touchdown to give Missouri State the lead back with under a minute remaining. The rest is history.

MSU head coach Bobby Petrino walked into the postgame press conference with a deep sigh, then a smile. “We keep it interesting,” he joked with reporters. The Bears coined the nickname "Cardiac Bears" earlier in the season after a streak of down-to-the-wire, heart-pounding victories.

Quarterback Jason Shelley also broke Missouri State’s single season passing record during the game, bringing his total to 2,817 yards so far this season.

“It’s an honor to be able to showcase my talent especially [being] at school here. But the work’s not finished, we got another two games because I know we’re going to the playoffs. After that, just keep grinding,” Shelley said.

Missouri State now stands at 7-3 and will finish out the regular season at Dixie State next weekend ahead of the November 21 announcements of the selections for the FCS playoffs, where the Bears will almost certainly be heading.