Bears Set to Take on No. 22 Kansas State in Season Opener
Bears, Wildcats Will Meet for Third Time in Manhattan Saturday at 6 p.m.
Aug. 27, 2012
Missouri State Game Notes
Kansas State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (0-0) at No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats (0-0)
Dates: Saturday, September 1, 2012
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Site: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000)
Live Video: K-StateHD.TV
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Ned Reynolds)
Live Stats: K-StateSports.com
First and Ten
♦For the second consecutive season, Kierra Harris (So., Texarkana, Ark.) is expected to open the season as the Bears' starting quarterback. Harris, who went 8-of-14 for 70 yards and a touchdown in last year's opener at Arkansas, completed a strong preaseason camp, while Missouri transfer Ashton Glaser (Jr., Springdale, Ark.) could also see time calling the signals after joining the MSU program over the summer.
♦The Bears are 0-2 all-time against the Wildcats in football, with both previous meetings coming under head coach Terry Allen - a 61-10 defeat on Sept. 15, 2007, and a 48-24 setback on Sept. 11, 2010. Allen also went 0-5 vs. KSU as head coach of Kansas (1997-2001), and 1-0 vs. the Wildcats as UNI's mentor, with a 10-8 win in Manhattan in 1989, his first year as a head coach.
♦Since moving to Division I status in 1982, Missouri State is 1-26 all-time against FBS programs, including an 0-10 mark against the current membership of the Big 12 Conference. The Bears' sole FBS win came at UNLV (31-24) in 1990.
♦Two of the Bears' top seven total attendance figures have come in the series with Kansas State. The Wildcats' victory in Manhattan two years ago drew 48,672 fans to rank sixth on MSU's all-time list, while KSU's 2007 win netted 46,825 spectators to place seventh. Additionally, 10 of MSU's top 15 football crowds have come on the road in Big 12 venues.
♦MSU will earn a $375,000 guarantee from Saturday's game. The team's budget will be further suplemented with a $500,000 guarantee from Louisville next weekend.
♦Cadarrius Dotson (Sr., Memphis, Tenn.) has caught at least one pass in 29 of his first 33 career games as a Bear and begins his senior season tied for 13th on MSU's career receptions list. He needs just 47 receiving yards to become the 17th Bear to top the 1,000 career receiving yardage plateau.
♦Matt Thayer (Sr., Bellevue, Neb.) brings a string of 12 consecutive starts at tight end into the 2012 season. Six additional Bears have started 11 straight games, including Mike Crutcher (So., Wentzville, Mo.) and Rodney Kelly (Sr., Lee's Summit, Mo.) on the defensive side of the ball, and Zack Cooley (So., Lee's Summit, Mo.), Kurt Kutter (Jr., O'Fallon, Mo.), Harrison Menke (Sr., Joplin, Mo.) and Randy Richards (Sr., Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) on the offensive side.
♦The last Missouri State player to rush for 100 yards against an FBS opponent was Maurice Daniels at Arkansas State on 9/19/98. His 162 yards in that game is the highest total of any of the Bears' seven 100-yard efforts against FBS clubs.
♦Missouri State brings a six-game losing streak against teams from the state of Kansas into Saturday's game, with its last win coming at home vs. Washburn on Sept. 12, 1992. The Bears have not won a game in the Sunflower State since defeating Pittsburg State 44-16 on Sept. 16, 1978.
♦The Bears enter the 2012 season with back-to-back wins on the road for the first time since 2009. MSU snapped a 12-game road losing streak at Western Illinois (31-17) on Oct. 22, 2011, then closed out the season with a 38-34 win at Youngstown State (Nov. 19).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
For the second straight year, the Bears will open the season with a pair of road games against an FBS opponent. In fact MSU will take on a second BCS conference foe in Louisville next week before opening its home slate Sept. 15 against Murray State. Missouri State is one of three FCS teams with a pair of Top 25 FBS teams on its schedule, joining Savannah State (Oklahoma State, Florida State) and Jacksonville State (Arkansas, Florida) on that list.
Coupled with four FCS preseason Top 25 opponents, MSU can once again make a valid claim as having one of the toughest schedules in the Division I FCS ranks. Last year, the Bears kicked off their season with road games against nationally-ranked Arkansas (L, 51-7) and Oregon (L, 56-7), making them the only FCS school in the country to tackle two different Top 20 FBS schools in 2011.
THE VALLEY AGAINST FBS TEAMS
Since 1985, members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference have defeated 30 Division I FBS programs in football, including a 31-24 win at UNLV by the 1990 Bears under head coach Jesse Branch.
Since 2000, the MVFC has notched 10 victories, including wins over BCS league members Iowa State (UNI), Kansas (NDSU), Minnesota (NDSU) and Indiana (SIU). Last year, North Dakota State defeated Minnesota (37-24) before ultimately claiming the FCS national title, and Indiana State knocked off former league foe Western Kentucky by a decisive 44-16 score in Bowling Green. MVFC schools have won games against FBS opponents in back-to-back seasons on seven different occasions, including each of the last two years.
Missouri State is 1-26 all-time against FBS programs, coming up winless in each of its last 25 such contests. This year marks the second straight year in which MSU will play more than one FBS team in the same season. The Bears dropped games against nationally-ranked Arkansas and Oregon squads last fall, and split contests at Tulsa and UNLV in 1990.
BEARS 10TH IN PRESEASON POLL
Neither the return of 14 starters nor a pair of conference road wins to close the 2011 campaign could dissuade the Missouri Valley Football Conference pollsters from tabbing Missouri State for last place in the league's annual preseason poll.
After going 2-6 in league play for a seventh-place finish in the MVFC standings in 2011, the Bears were picked 10th in this year's conference preseason poll as selected by league coaches, media and sports information directors. It marks the second consecutive last-place prediction for the Bears, who had not been picked last since 1987 before last year's preseason poll.
Including eight seasons at UNI, this year marks just the second time in 14 MVFC seasons that a Terry Allen team has been picked last in the conference preseason poll. In those 14 years, his squads have never finished worse than predicted, with seven finishes higher than projected and seven as projected, including six years when UNI was picked to win the conference.
Just two MSU players picked up Preseason All-MVFC accolades in 2012. Tight end Matt Thayer (Sr., Bellevue, Neb.), who was an All-MVFC honorable mention choice last year after he caught 20 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, received honorable mention, as did linebacker Andrew Beisel (So., Fenton, Mo.) after garnering All-Newcomer Team recognition last year.
HEAD COACH Terry Allen
Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1979) is 120-100 (.545) in his 20th year as a head coach and 25-41 (.479) in his seventh year at Missouri State. Allen is 1-7 all-time against Kansas State, 40-66 in road games (9-25 at MSU), 54-36 in non-conference games (9-9 at MSU) and 13-35 against teams from the Big 12 (0-4 at MSU). Allen is a five-time MVFC Coach of the Year and has previous head coaching stints at Northern Iowa (1989-96) and Kansas (1997-2001).
The Missouri State players have elected five senior co-captains to represent them throughout the 2012 season. Seniors Nate Davis (OLB, Liberal, Kan.), Cadarrius Dotson (WR, Memphis, Tenn.), Tevan Ferguson (NT, Nashville, Tenn.), Randy Richards (OT, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Matt Thayer (TE, Bellevue, Neb.) will be calling the coin toss and leading the pregame handshakes for the Bears this fall.
Saturday's game will mark the reunion of some familiar foes on both sides of the field. Most notably, both Kansas State coordinators have ties to the Missouri State program, with co-offensive coordinator Del Miller having served as the Bears' head coach from 1995-98, compiling a 21-23 record. Additionally, KSU defensive coordinator Tom Hayes filled the same role on Terry Allen's staff at Kansas in 2001.
The Bears have nine players (all on the defensive side of the ball) from the state of Kansas on their 2012 roster, including Keenan Berry (So., S, Osawatomie, Kan.), Nate Davis (Sr., OLB, Liberal, Kan.); Anthony Lee (Sr., S, Bonner Springs, Kan.); Jeremiah Plowden (Jr., S, Wichita, Kan.); Zac Rasmussen (Jr., DB, Wichita, Kan.); Art Rucker (Jr., S, Shawnee, Kan.); Geoff Stanford (So., ILB, Wichita, Kan.); Jeremy Walker (Jr., ILB, Kansas City, Kan.); and Jonathan Walker (Jr., OLB, Kansas City, Kan.).
Cadarrius Dotson (Sr., Memphis, Tenn.) enters his final collegiate season as the Bears' top returning receiver with a chance to leave a lasting imprint on the MSU record book. The Memphis native has been the model of consistency among the Bears' receiving corps, registering at least one reception in 29 of his 33 games with MSU. Dotson's 88 career catches is good for a tie with Michael Sparks for 13th on the Bears' career list. Dotson also needs just 47 receiving yards to become the Bears' 17th 1,000-yard receiver.
The Bears went winless in non-conference play (0-4) for the first time since 1973 last fall, and bring a 9-13 (.409) overall mark in non-league games under Terry Allen into the 2012 season. The Bears' best showing came in 2007, when Allen guided them to four wins in five non-conference games.
Prior to last season, the Bears had enjoyed more than their share of success during the non-conference season, going 23-14 (.622) overall in such games since the start of the 2001 season.
THAYER NETS PRESEASON LAURELS
In addition to his selection to the Missouri Valley Football Conference's preaseon team, tight end Matt Thayer (Sr., Bellevue, Neb.) picked up a couple of national honors as well over the summer. Thayer was tabbed for the Valley's second team in Phil Steele's College Football Preview, as well as the CFPA Preseason Tight End Watch List.