Missouri State Hits the Road with Trip to Western Illinois
Missouri State Bears (3-3, 1-2)
at Western Illinois (1-4, 0-2)
Oct. 17, 2009, 3:05 p.m.
Hanson Field (16,368), Macomb, Ill.Quick Links:RADIOBEARS LIVE (Live video)LIVE STATSWESTERN ILLINOIS GAME NOTESVALLEY FOOTBALL WEEKLY NOTESBEARWEAR FRIDAYS . BUY BEARWEAR
Today's Game: Missouri State embarks on a two-game road swing this week with a trip to familiar Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Western Illinois. MSU (3-3, 1-2) travels to Macomb, Ill., to take on the Leathernecks (1-4, 0-2) at Hanson Field (16,368) for a 3:05 p.m. start in WIU's homecoming game.
Last week, the Bears nearly erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit at Plaster Field against No. 19 South Dakota State. With 5:29 to play in the game, Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) capped a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with a five-yard pass to Jared Emery (Sr., WR, Mountain Grove, Mo.) to make it a 24-17 game. The Bears got the ball back with 3:41 to go and drove all the way to the SDSU six, before Kirby's potential game-tying pass into the endzone was picked off by MVFC Defensive Player of the Week General Parnell, his second interception of the day. Emery had a career-high seven receptions for 67 yards, while Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) posted six receptions for 53 yards, and Jermaine Saffold (So., WR, Grandview, Mo.) caught four passes for 101 yards.). Kirby was 29-for-46 for 288 yards, all career highs. His 29 completions was a Missouri State school record.
The Leathernecks are coming off a 31-21 loss at Youngstown State on Saturday. After falling behind 31-0 in the first half, Wil Lunt led Western back with three second-half touchdown drives of 77, 34, and 35 yards to make a game of it. Lunt completed 9-of-19 passes for 109 yards in his first career start, including five passes for 76 yards to Justin Rideau. Dre Gibbs, who rushed for 126 yards against the Bears in 2008, carried 27 times for 155 yards for WIU.
The Bears have followed their two previous losses this season with victories and have won four of their last six road games against NCAA Division I FCS opponents.
This season, the Bears are 3-3 overall, 2-2 at Plaster Field and 1-2 in MVFC play. Overall, Missouri State is 435-437-39 (.498) in 98 seasons all-time, including a 194-144-12 (.571) record in 68 seasons at Plaster Field, 65-88-1 (.425) mark in MVFC play, and 148-151-3 (.495) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level.
The Series: Western Illinois leads the all-time series 15-12-1. The teams has split the 14 previous match-ups in Macomb, and the Leathernecks have won five of the last seven meetings, including three in a row at Hanson Field.
Last year, WIU's Herb Donaldson ran all over the Bears to account for 273 yards on 41 carries and four touchdowns in a 33-21 win for the 21st-ranked Leathernecks. The game was 20-14 midway through the fourth quarter before a pair of eight-play touchdown drives by WIU put the game out of reach. Cody Kirby completed 20-of-34 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears, while Justin Fuselier caught five passes for 92 yards. Stephen Johnston carried twice for 73 yards to lead the Bears in rushing.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1979) is 110-83 (.570) overall in his 17th season as a head coach. Allen is 15-24 (.385) in his fourth season at Missouri State. He is also 87-47 (.649) in Missouri Valley Football Conference games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 8-3 all-time against Western Illinois and is 1-2 against the Leathernecks as Bears' head coach.
With the Bears, Allen is 10-11 at home, 5-13 away, 7-17 in conference play (4-9 at home), 8-7 in non-conference games (6-2 at home), 1-0 in overtime, 0-1 in shutouts, and 7-8 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Coach Allen spent 10 years as an assistant coach at UNI (1979-88) before taking over the head coaching duties there in 1989 where he spent the next eight seasons (1989-96). He was 72-26 at UNI and five-time MVFC Coach of the Year, taking the Panthers to the NCAA FCS playoffs seven straight years. He took over the head coaching duties at Kansas in 1997 and was 20-33 in five years with the Big 12 Jayhawks (1997-2001). Prior to coming to MSU, he spent four seasons (2002-05) as associate head coach at Iowa State.
Western Illinois acting head coach Mark Hendrickson coached the Leathernecks the first seven games of the 2008 season while head coach Don Patterson received treatments for tonsillar cancer. In 2008, the Leathernecks were 5-2 with Hendrickson at the helm and are 0-1 under Hendrickson this year.
First and Ten: Ten Missouri state quick hits relating to today's game:
Radio: All Missouri State Bears games can be heard on KTXR, Springfield (101.3 FM), the flagship station of the Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network. Play-by-play man Art Hains will provide the game description. Color commentary duties will be split this between third-year commentator Scott Opfer and KYTV Sports Director Ned Reynolds. After this week's game, Opfer's remaining game is the Oct. 24 game.
Hains first began calling Bears' action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 30th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called Bears games from 1977-81 and returned to that post in 1985. The Western Illinois game is Art's 316th MSU football broadcast.
MSU football can also be heard on the seven-station, Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network on the following affiliates: Ava - KKOZ (92.1 FM/1430 AM); Jefferson City - KJMO (97.5); Kansas City - KCWJ (1030 AM); Monett - KKBL (95.9 FM); Poplar Bluff - KLID (1340 AM); St. Louis - KFNS (100.7 FM); and Springfield - KTXR (101.3 FM) (flagship).
On-Line: Select games this season will be shown on Missouri State's on-line video channel, Bears Live! Bears Live is a premium, broadband video destination for exclusive live and on-demand Missouri State streaming video & audio. This broadband video channel is the ultimate place for Bears fans on the web and can be accessed through www.MissouriStateBears.com, the official web site of Missouri State Athletics. Links to live game stats, and the free audio stream (through www.RadioSpringfield.com) can be found on this week's game notes page on www.MissouriStateBears.com or at the Fan Central link on the home page.
Television: Today's game will not be televised.
Last Game: A fourth-quarter rally by Missouri State against No. 19 South Dakota State fell just short here Saturday afternoon as the Bears drove to the six-yard line before a key interception by the Jackrabbits in the end zone with 38 seconds to play gave SDSU a 24-17 win in Missouri Valley Football Conference play.
The fourth-quarter rally came on the heels of a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive by the Bears with 5:29 to play in the game to cut South Dakota State's lead to 24-17. A five-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby to Jared Emery capped the impressive march down the field that consumed more than six minutes. MSU converted two fourth-down plays and one third-down on the drive.
After the score, the Bears' defense forced SDSU into a three-and-out punt from its own 43. Dean Priddy's punt pinned the Bears in at their own 18 with 3:41 left in the game. Kirby connected with Cadarrius Dotson for 13 yards on fourth down at the MSU 24, then when deep to Jermaine Saffold for 17 yards to midfield on a third-and-14 play.
Kirby then reeled off three spectacular completions in a row to get the ball to the six. A 19-yard completion to Jermaine Saffold to the SDSU 31 set up a nine-yard completion to Clay Harbor on the next play to the 22. A sensational 16-yard grab by Emery then took the ball to the six. That's where General Parnell intercepted a Kirby pass in the corner of the end zone on the next play and returned it 63 yards to the MSU 37 before the Jackrabbits ran out the clock. It was Parnell's second interception of the game.
Kirby finished 29-for-46 for 288 yards -- all career highs -- but was intercepted three times. Ten different Bears caught passes, including a game-high seven by Emery who finished with 67 yards, while Harbor caught six balls for 53 yards.
Team Captains: Missouri State will have five co-captains for the 2009 season, including a pair of seniors and three juniors. The Bears' 2009 captains include tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.), cornerback Cedric Alvis (Sr., Columbia, Mo.), guard David Arkin (Jr., Wichita, Kan.), quarterback Cody Kirby (Jr., Rogers, Ark.), and safety Skylar Smith (Jr., Springfield, Mo.). Kirby was also a co-captain in 2008, which made him just the third MSU sophomore captain since 1953 (joining Corky Martin, 1999, and Kevin Sears, 2005).
Scouting WIU: After an impressive 35-28 win at Sam Houston State on opening day, the Leathernecks have dropped four straight and come into this week's game looking for their first home win of the season.
Behind the efforts of junior Todd Speight, Western leads the league in punt returns (22.00) and ranks third nationally in that category. Individually, Speight is second in the nation in punt returns and is 17th nationally in all-purpose yards.
Quarterback Matt Barr, who missed last week's game at YSU, is second in the league in total offense (230.3), while his favorite target Lito Senatus ranks 12th nationally and first in the MVFC in receiving yards per game (91.20).
WIU gives up 3.6 sacks per game and has allowed 34.0 points and 182.8 rushing yards per game.
About Missouri State: Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri's future, making Missouri's future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior. With a record enrollment of 22,938 in 2009-10, MSU is the second-largest institution for higher learning in Missouri, and its identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs. This mission requires a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship. Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution.
Missouri State competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference with affiliate membership in the Mid-American Conference for field hockey and men's swimming and diving.
Notable Missouri State alums include: Ryan Howard (first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies), John Goodman (actor), Kathleen Turner (actress), David Glass (owner, Kansas City Royals), John Q. Hammons (businessman, hotel developer), Bob Holden (43rd governor of Missouri), Bill Mueller (2003 American League batting champ), Jackie Stiles (Division I career scoring leader), and Blake Ahearn (NBA D-League MVP and All-Star Game co-MVP).
Kirby Home Demonstration: Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) has enjoyed great success at Plaster Field during his time at MSU. In 15 career home games, including 14 starts, Kirby has thrown for 2,945 yards (196.3) and 22 touchdown passes, including nine 200-yard performances. The Bears are 7-7 in Kirby starts at home and 11-14 in his 25 starts overall. He has been the MSU quarterback in 435 of the team's 448 plays this season.
Milestones: Jonathan Davis (Jr., TB, Tampa, Fla.) needs 34 rushing yards for 500 in his career ... Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) needs 2 rushing TDs for 20 ... Kirby needs 144 passing yards for 5,000 ... Kirby needs 25 plays (rushes or pass attempts) for 1,000 in his career ... Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) needs 20 receiving yards for 1,500 career and 2 touchdowns for 10 ... Matt Hottelman needs 4 PAT's for 50 in his career ... Hottelman needs 10 kickoffs for 200 in his career ... Byron Hightower (Jr., LB, Raytown, Mo.) needs 5 tackles for 100 career ... Terian Washington (Jr., LB, Pine Bluff, Ga.) needs 9 tackles for 100 career.
Conseuctive starts: Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) 29; David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) 28; Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.); Cedric Alvis (Sr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) 17; Derek Miller (Jr., S, Olathe, Kan.) 7.
Honors Continue for Tight End Harbor: Bears' tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.) continues to collect preseason All-America honors from various publications and organizations.
During the 2009 preseason, he was named to All-America teams by The Sports Network, College Sporting News, Consensus Draft Services, and Lindy's College Football Preview. He was MSU Player of the Week on 10/3/09 for his 101-yard effort in the Bears' 17-7 win at Youngstown State.
After collecting 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008, Harbor earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors. Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list, including a third-team honor in 2007. He was also named to the Sports Network Fab 50.
Harbor is also ranked as the No. 12 overall player -- and top tight end -- in the NCAA FCS, according to the ranking source for Phil Steele. The top 20 players are: 1. QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State, Sr.; 2. WR/RS Andre' Roberts, The Citadel, Sr.; 3. QB Cameron Higgins, Weber State, Jr.; 4. WR Terrell Hudgins, Elon, Sr.; 5. FS Mark LeGree, Appalachian State, Jr.; 6. DE Larry Hart, Central Arkansas, Sr.; 7. QB Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, Sr.; 8. RS Leroy Vann, Florida A&M, Sr.; 9. RB Trevyn Smith, Weber State, Sr.; 10. OT James Williams, Harvard, Sr.; 11. DE James Ruffin, Northern Iowa, Sr.; 12. TE Clay Harbor, Missouri State, Sr.; 13. OG Matthew McCracken, Richmond, Sr.; 14. WR/RS Marc Mariani, Montana, Sr.; 15. TE Scott Sicko, New Hampshire, Sr.; 16. RS Scotty McGee, James Madison, Sr.; 17. OT Vladimir Ducasse, UMass., Sr.; 18. RB William Ford, South Carolina State, Sr.; 19. DE Austen Lane, Murray State, Sr.; 20. DT Mychal Savage, Youngstown State, Sr.
MSU Player of the Week: Wide receiver Jared Emery (Sr., Mountain Grove, Mo.) is this week's Missouri State Player of the Week for his performance in the South Dakota State game on Oct. 10. Emery more than doubled his season reception total in the game, pulling in a game and career-high seven catches for 67 yards and his first touchdown of the season. His diving 16-yard reception to the six-yard line in the final minute kept the Bears' final drive alive in the heart-breaking defeat at the hands of the Jackrabbits.
In 2008, Cody Kirby (QB, Rogers, Ark.) was named 2008 Missouri State Coors Player of the Year after earning second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Honors and throwing for 2,014 yards and 15 touchdowns, finishing second in the league in total offense and 53rd nationally. He led the Bears to three fourth-quarter go-ahead or tying scores in 2008. Coors is no longer sponsoring the MSU Player of the Week and Player of the Year awards.
MVFC Preseason All-Conference Team: The Missouri Valley Football Conference released its preseason all-conference team on July 20 at its annual Media Day festivities in St. Louis.
Three Bears were named to the Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team, including Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.), David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) and honorable mention selection Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.).
Harbor, a preseason All-America pick by several agencies, snagged 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008 for the Bears, both tops on the squad, and earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors. Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list.
Arkin was named a preseason Third-Team All-America pick at offensive guard by the Sports Network. He graded out at 86 percent during the 2008 season, starting all 11 games at offensive guard. He was named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Week four times in 2008, also gaining the squad's Offensive Player of the Week distinction twice. He was a 2008 All-Valley preseason selection in addition to being named to the league's All-Newcomer Team and Second-Team All-Conference squads the past two seasons.
Kirby, who found a spot on the MVFC Preseason Team as an honorable mention pick, earned All-Valley second-team honors as a sophomore in 2008 after throwing for 2,104 yards and 15 touchdowns while posting 2,227 yards of total offense and scoring nine touchdowns. At 183.1 yards per game, he is the league's top returning passer and No. 2 returnee in total offense (202.5 ypg). Kirby was the league's preseason All-Valley quarterback in 2008 and was the 2007 MVFC Freshman of the Year.
Individual Statistical Leaders: The following active Missouri State players rank among the Missouri Valley Football Conference's top 10 individual performers in the categories indicated:
As a team, the Bears rank second in the Valley in kickoff returns (22.75) and net punting (37.28).
Valley All-Time Football Team: As a part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference Silver Anniversary Celebration, fans are invited to participate in the selection of the Valley's All-Time Football Team. The ballots are accessible through the the Missouri Valley Football Conference web site or at www.Valley-Football25.org. (one ballot per site visit).
There are 14 Bears on the ballot, including: DeAndre Smith (QB, 1987-90), Clay Harbor (TE, 2006-present), Brad St. Louis (TE, 1996-99), Mark Christensen (OL, 1986-89), Matt Irvin (OL, 1989-92), Wayne Boyer (PK ,1993-96), Travis Brawner (PK, 1997-99), Jon Scifres (PK, 2002-05), Michael Fox (DL, 1989-90), Bill Waler (DL, 1988-91), DeLaun Fowler (LB, 1992-95), Matt Soraghan (LB, 1985-87), Adrion Smith (DB, 1989-91), and Marcus Shipp (DB, 1989-91).
MVFC All-Select NFL Team: Former Missouri State football Bears Brad St. Louis and Jason Whittle have been named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference "All-Select NFL Team," the league announced Monday (July 20) in St. Louis.
Whittle, most recently an offensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills, finished his 11th season in the NFL in 2008. He signed a free agent contract in the 2003 off-season with the New York Giants. He later moved to the Minnesota Vikings for the 2006 campaign before joining the Bills in 2007. An offensive and defensive line standout at Missouri State from 1994-97, Whittle signed with the Giants in 1998 and was a regular lineman and deep snapper for the team. His play in the 2001 Super Bowl was the first time an MSU product had played in the NFL title game.
St. Louis is entering his 10th year with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, making him the longest-tenured player on the Bengals' roster. He starred for MSU at tight end from 1996-99 and played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl after his senior MSU season prior to signing with Cincinnati. He has operated as the Bengals' regular deep snapper each of the past six seasons with additional work at tight end.
The team includes 35 players from current and former MVFC schools. The team includes four NFL MVPs, 15 Pro-Bowl selections and other 23 Super Bowl appearances by 12 players. Sixteen former league players are active in the NFL.
National Leaders: Bears ranking among the nation's top 50 players in this week's NCAA Division I FCS statistics are: Jordan Chiles (So., P, Hillsboro, Ill.) is 23rd in punting (40.83), Derek Miller (Jr., S, Olathe, Kan.) is tied for 31st in interceptions per game (0.50), Miguel Warren (Sr., TB, Raytown, Mo.) is 46th in kickoff returns (23.38), and Mike Daniels (Sr., DT, Pine Bluff, Ark.) is tied for 47th in sacks (0.60). As a team, the Bears rank in the national top 25 in two categories: 12th in net punting (37.28) and 23rd in kickoff returns (22.75). MSU is also among the top 50 teams in rush defense (44th/126.0) and sacks (46th/2.17).
Postseason History: The Bears have appeared in three postseason games during their NCAA Division I era (1982-present).
In 1989, the Bears were ranked No. 9 in the FCS poll when they hosted Maine at Plaster Field on 11/25/89. A 33-yard field goal by Chris Potthast with eight seconds left sent MSU to the national quarterfinals at Stephen F. Austin with a 38-35 win.
The Bears gave up 613 yards in total offense at SFA and fell 55-25, despite trailing just 23-10 at the half. MSU finished the year 10-3.
In 1990, MSU hosted No. 13 Idaho at Plaster Field in the first round of the playoffs. After a field goal by Richard Grote on the first play of the fourth quarter tied the game, 35-35, the Bears gave up field goals of 29 and 50 yards later in the quarter, and the potential game-winning drive stalled at the Idaho 45 with 30 seconds remaining in a 41-35 defeat.
Prior to their Division I days, the Bears appeared in three bowl games, falling 34-20 to Emporia State in the 1948 Mo-Kan Bowl, dropping a 21-14 decision to Northern Illinois in the 1963 Mineral Water Bowl, and coming up short, 14-8, to Adams State in the 1966 Mineral Water Bowl.
Including its three bowl games, Missouri State is 1-5 all-time in postseason.
Up Next: The Bears conclude the two-game road swing next week in their first-ever trip to North Dakota State for a 6 p.m. start in Fargo.