Individual Standouts Prevail in Bears' First Fall Scrimmage
Missouri State's offense rolled up 34 points and accounted for 361 yards, while its defense came up with a pair of interceptions, broke up five passes and tallied four sacks in the Bears' first intrasquad scrimmage of the 2009 season.
Cody Kirby completed seven of his first eight pass attempts, includng a 36-yard touchdown strike to All-America tight end Clay Harbor for the game's first scoring play. Kirby, who finished with 120 yards through the air, also tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Williams and ran for a two-yard score on the afternoon.
Harbor's three receptions for 59 yards led the Bears, while freshman Elliott Brown caught three passes for 54 yards.
The offense's other touchdown was a two-yard rushing play by freshman Mikael Cooper-Falls who had a game-high 10 carries. Jonathan Davis, who started the game at tailback, had nine carries for 29 yards to lead a cast of nine ball carriers.
"We know what we have in Miguel Warren and Jonathan Davis at running back," said head coach Terry Allen after Saturday's 91-play scrimmage. "Today gave us a good look at Chris Douglas and Cooper-Falls, and I think the next week-and-a-half will tell us a lot more. Right now we have a committee of four at that position."
From the receiver positions, 11 different players caught 22 passes Saturday. Two passes were intercepted -- the first by Jarrett Wright, followed by a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by freshman Rick Dansdill on the final play of the day.
"The picture at wide receiver and running back is really muddy right now," Allen said. "The next week is a critical week for us at those positions, as well as linebacker where we have some good competition going."
Standing out at linebacker on Saturday was Kolby Hurt, who had six total tackles to lead the Missouri State defense, while outside linebacker Travis Ribbing added five. Sophomore cornerback Colby Broadnax contributed to two blocked kicks, and linebacker Rodney Kelly broke up a pair of passes, along with redshirt freshman corner Andre Anderson.
"We had a lot of great individual efforts today," said defensive coordinator D.J. Vokolek. "We have to stop the big plays, but we are playing with a lot of intensity and making progress."
Vokolek's unit held the offense to just 2.2 yards per carry on the ground, including four sacks for 18 yards. The longest rushing plays of the afternoon were 10-yard gains by juco transfer Chris Douglas and Kirby.
The only big plays surrendered by the defense were through the air. Harbor's 36-yard touchdown grab 28 plays into the scrimmage was the day's longest, while fellow tight end Wes Miller caught a 28-yard pass, and Elliott Brown had two 22-yard passing plays. Despite being whistled for four pass interference penalties, the defensive secondary broke up five passes in addition to its two interceptions.
The Bears will take Sunday off before returning for two practices Monday at 8:05 a.m. and 4:05 p.m. The team will scrimmage again next Saturday at 10 a.m.
RUSHING (53-118): Jonathan Davis 9-29, Chris Douglas 8-20, Miguel Warren 5-20, Mikael Cooper-Falls 10-17, Cody Kirby 6-14, Trevor Wooden 5-14, Curtis Daley 5-4, Tim Williams 1-2, Tyler Horner 4-(-2).
PASSING (38-22-2, 243): Cody Kirby 18-11-0, 120; Tyler Horner 12-6-1, 67; Trevor Wooden 4-4-0, 46; Tim Williams 4-1-1, 10.
RECEIVING: Clay Harbor 3-59, Elliott Brown 3-54, Wes Miller 1-28, Jared Emery 3-25, Matt Swan 3-24, Cadarrius Dotson 2-16, Jermaine Saffold 2-14, Adrian Williams 2-10, Adrian Taylor 1-9, Chris Douglas 1-2, Mikael Cooper-Falls 1-2.
TACKLE LEADERS: Kolby Hurt 6, Travis Ribbing 5, Tevan Ferguson 5, Sam Block 3, David Ingram 3, Michael Keck 3, Sam Guillaume 3, Nick Detelich 3.
INTERCEPTIONS (2-41): Rick Dansdill 1-41, Jarrett Wright 1-0.