Playing short-handed, the Missouri Cyclones lost on the Road Saturday against the Chicago Cardinals, 20-14.
The Cyclones (1-2) held the lead for most of the game before the Cardinals (3-0) went ahead for good early in the fourth quarter.
“We were missing right around 20 guys due to injuries or work-related conflicts. We’re pretty beat up right now,” said Cyclones Head Coach Troy Robertson. “Offensively, we were missing two starting linemen, two starting running backs and a starting receiver. We didn’t have two of our normal starters on defense. We had to move people around. A lot of guys were playing out of position. For what we traveled with, our guys showed me a lot. It was an exciting game.”
The Cyclones return home to play their next two games at Borgia. They take on the Missouri Valley Pitbulls Saturday at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, June 29, the Cyclones host the Nashville Storm at 7 p.m.
“We’re disappointed that we’ve lost two straight games and have a 1-2 league record,” Robertson said. “We’re in the process of rebuilding. We have 30 new players on the team this year. We still have eight games left to play this season, including back-to-back home games starting this week.”
There was good news for the Cyclones on the injury front as starting quarterback BJ Buckner returned from a hand injury and threw two touchdown passes against the Cardinals. He was 9-21 passing for 164 yards.
Buckner tossed a three-yard touchdown pass to Chad Stanley to give the Cyclones a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The two teams combined for three second-quarter touchdowns.
Leading 7-6, the Cyclones struck again on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Buckner to Mac Harris to increase their lead to 14-6.
The Cardinals returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to make the score 14-12.
Threatening to score again, the Cyclones got the ball to the Chicago three-yard line on a 45-yard reception by Stanley late in the second quarter.
But they could not score as a field goal attempt was blocked in the final seconds of the first half.
The first half ended with the Cyclones leading 14-12.
The lone touchdown of the second half came early in the fourth quarter by the Cardinals on an eight-yard quarterback keeper. They added the two-point conversion to grab a 20-14 advantage.
The Cyclones made one final push at the end of the game.
“We got the ball down to the 35-yard line and tried a Hail Mary on the last play of the game, but couldn’t make the play,” Robertson said.
Harris rushed for 32 yards on four carries for the Cyclones. Deon Morris carried the ball seven times for 24 yards. Tito Washington had 15 yards on two attempts.
Andy Mundwiller finished with five receptions for 81 yards. Stanley had two catches for 56 yards.
Defensively, Devi Greer led the Cyclones with nine tackles. Kayland Lyles added six stops. Marcus Clay had five tackles. Evan Brinker had four tackles.
“We had no turnovers in the game, which was a positive after having four turnovers last week. It was nice to have Buckner back at quarterback. Andy Mundwiller had a good game at receiver,” Robertson said. “There are still some issues on the offensive line. Hopefully we’ll get healthy and have better results in future games.”