SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Zach Adkins' 51-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter snapped a tie to lift Northwestern State to a 23-17 victory over Missouri State Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.
Adkins was 24-for-37 for 233 yards and rushed for a touchdown late in the third quarter to tie the score at 17. Shakeir Ryan's game-winning TD catch from Adkins was one of his six receptions in the contest.
Demons' coach Jay Thomas made a good first impression in his debut, leading the Southland Conference school to its first road-win since 2011.
The Bears' Kierra Harris rushed for a touchdown early in the third quarter to give the Missouri Valley Conference representative the lead. Austin Witmer's 42-yard field goal stretched the Bears' advantage to 17-10, but it would be their last score.
This is the first time the Demons and Bears have played each other in 24 years.