Bears Set to Open Home Slate Against Murray State Saturday
Tevan Ferguson
Tevan Ferguson

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader  |  Flip Card

Missouri State Bears (0-2) vs. Murray State Racers (0-2)
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Plaster Field (16,300)
TV: Mediacom MC-22 (Don West, Mike McClure
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Ned Reynolds)
Live Stats:
Live Video: Bears All-Access
Tickets: MissouriStateTix.comand (417) 836-7678 or (888)476-7849

First and Ten
♦ The Bears are 4-2 in home openers under head coach Terry Allen and 10-2 overall in their last 12 openers at Plaster Field. MSU lost to UNI, 42-7, in its 2011 home debut (Oct. 1).
Caleb Schaffitzel (So., S, Fair Grove, Mo.) posted a career best 17 tackles Saturday at Louisville, marking Missouri State's highest individual tackle output since 2010 and the most tackles by an MVFC player this season. He currently ranks 17th nationally in the same category.
♦ Saturday's 7:05 p.m. kickoff will mark Missouri State's first night home game since 2008. The Bears had a scheduled night game in 2010, but were forced to postpone their home opener against Eastern Kentucky until the following day when lightning and thunderstorms prevented the game from getting underway.
♦ The Racers have won six of the previous seven meetings in the series, holding the Bears to 21 points or less in five of those victories. The two clubs have split their two prior meetings at Plaster Field, with the Bears claiming a 35-10 win on Sept. 9, 2009.
♦ Punter Chris Sullens (Fr., Camdenton, Mo.) ranks sixth in NCAA FCS in punting average (44.8), while kicker Austin Witmer (Jr., Grand Island, Neb.) is tied for 15th in field goals per game (1.5).
Cadarrius Dotson (Sr., WR, Memphis, Tenn.) has caught at least one pass in 31 of his first 35 career games as a Bear and became the 17th MSU player to top the 1,000 receiving yardage mark for his career Sept. 1 at Kansas State. Dotson moved up to 13th on the Bears' career receiving yardage chart Saturday at No. 23 Louisville, surpassing Jeremy Nicholson (1,076) and needs 170 more yards to catch Kaya Farris for the 12th spot on the list. Additionally, Dotson needs just two more receptions to reach 100 career receptions.
Matt Thayer (Sr., TE, Bellevue, Neb.) brings a string of 14 consecutive starts at tight end into Saturday's game. Five additional Bears have started 13 straight games, including Mike Crutcher (So., S, Wentzville, Mo.) on the defensive side of the ball, and Zack Cooley (So., OL, Lee's Summit, Mo.), Kurt Kutter (Jr., OL, O'Fallon, Mo.), Harrison Menke (Sr., OL, Joplin, Mo.) and Randy Richards (Sr., OL, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) on the offensive side.
♦ The Bears will be looking to end an eight-game September losing streak Saturday. MSU's last win in September came in its 2010 season opener vs. Eastern Kentucky (Sept. 3).
♦ Missouri State enters the weekend tied for 10th among all FCS teams in sacks allowed
♦ After Saturday's contest, MSU will have faced at least one Ohio Valley Conference team in each of the last six seasons. The Bears bring a 66-48-1 all-time mark against the current membership of the OVC into the game.

Missouri State turned the ball over on three straight possessions in the fourth quarter to open the door for homestanding Murray State to secure a high-scoring 72-59 non-conference win over the Bears on October 9, 2010. The two clubs combined for an NCAA Division I FCS record 1,423 yards.

Missouri State jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game and eventually built a 38-31 lead at the half with 779 combined yards by the teams in the first 30 minutes of football.

The second half started much the same way with the Bears building a 52-38 advantage with 2:22 to go in the third on a 10-yard run by Chris Douglas, his second score of the game. Douglas would finish with 191 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns to lead the Bears who tallied 436 ground yards on the afternoon. His 97-yard touchdown run from scrimmage in the first quarter matched the second-longest run in school history. After the Bears built the 14-point lead with just over 17 minutes to play, Murray State scored five of the game's last six touchdowns from there. Four of those scores were set up by Missouri State mistakes, starting with a Murray State on-sides kick, followed by a Bears fumble at their own 20 on the second possession of the fourth quarter, and capped by two mishandled kickoff returns after that that led to Racers touchdown drives of 30 and 36 yards.

Casey Brockman broke a Murray State single-game record and Missouri State opponent record with 570 passing yards, completing 32 of 41 passes with no interceptions and seven touchdowns. He was sacked just twice. Nine of his completions were to Marcus Harris who finished with 213 yards and five touchdowns.

MSU newcomer Chris Sullens(Fr., P, Camdenton, Mo.) averaged 42.0 yards on five punts against No. 23 Louisville last week, and now has a season punting average of 44.8 on 11 attempts. He already has four punts of 50 or more yards and has had four kicks downed inside the 20-yard line. He entered the week ranked fifth nationally in punting average and was second in the MVFC.

Through two games this season, the Bears have played before 97,560 fans and should easily eclipse the 100,000 mark in total season in week three -- the earliest ever for MSU. The Bears have played before 100,000 fans in each of the previous 23 seasons, including 234,314 last season. The team's 2011 season attendance total marked the first time MSU topped 200,000 in total season attendance.

Caleb Schaffitzel(So., S, Fair Grove, Mo.) was named MSU Player of the Week by the Bears' media after posting a game-high 17 total tackles against No. 23 Louisville on Saturday, marking Missouri State's highest individual tackle output since 2010 and the most tackles by an MVFC player this season. He notched 16 solo tackles against the Cardinals, had a tackle for loss and started his seventh consecutive ball game to lead the MSU defense.

The Bears trailed U of L 18-7 at the half and 25-7 at the end of the third quarter thanks to the defensive effort of Schaffitzel and company who held the Cards to just 131 rushing yards on 37 carries (3.5 ypc) a week after Louisville put together 219 rushing yards against Kentucky.

SNAP TO 1,000
Cadarrius Dotson(Sr., Memphis, Tenn.) eclipsed 1,000 career receiving yards in the season opener at K-State. His six receptions for 82 yards against the No. 22 Wildcats made him the 17th Bear to reach the yardage milestone. His efforts also put him just two catches away from 100 for his career, which would make him the 10th MSU player to reach the century mark in pass receptions. He now has 98 career snags for 1,085 yards, including receptions in 31 of his 35 career ball games.

Missouri State is one of only three FCS teams to play a pair of Top 25 FBS teams in 2012. The Bears, who trailed No. 23 Louisville 25-7 after three quarters and No. 22 Kansas state 16-9 headed into the final period, join Savannah State (Oklahoma State, Florida State) and Jacksonville State (Arkansas, Florida) on the elite list of FCS teams competing for the honor of toughest non-conference schedule. 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 and Oregon making them the only FCS school in the country to tackle two different Top 20 FBS schools in 2011.

Several Bears are nearing milestone in their Missouri State careers. In addition to Cadarrius Dotson (Sr., WR, Memphis, Tenn.) needing two catches for 100 career receptions, Julian Burton (So., WR, Cordova, Tenn.) enters Saturday's game 86 all-purpose yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark. On the defensive side of the ball, Caleb Schaffitzel (So., S, Fair Grove, Mo.), Andrew Beisel (So., LB, Fenton, Mo.) and Mike Crutcher(So., S, Wentzville, Mo.) are all within 10 tackles of the 100 career tackle plateau. Schaffitzel and Beisel enter the game with 92 tackles apiece, while Crutcher has 91 stops to his credit.

Saturday will mark a homecoming of sorts for Missouri State offensive coordinator Rob Christophel, who began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant on the Murray State staff from 1984-91.

Both clubs bring a strong Memphis flavor to the contest, with eight Racers hailing from the metropolitan area and seven Bears calling Memphis home. MSU's Julian Burton (So., WR, Cordova, Tenn.) is a product of White Station High, as are Racers' Fred Harvey and Anthony Hayes, while the Bears' Richard Darden(R-Fr., TE, Memphis, Tenn.) and Murray's Doug McWhorter were both members of the same Ridgeway High program.

Additionally, a pair of Racers from the St. Louis area teamed up with a trio of Bears at the prep level. Dorian Buford (Jr., WR, Florissant, Mo.) and Murray's Nevar Griffin were teammates at McCluer North High. Finally, Missouri State's Eric Brown (Jr., WR, St. Louis) and James Caine(Sr., CB, St. Louis) are products of the same Hazelwood East program as Murray's Walter Powell.

HEAD COACH Terry Allen
Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1979) is 120-102 (.541) in his 20th year as a head coach and 25-43 (.368) in his seventh year at Missouri State. Allen is 40-68 in road games (9-27 at MSU), 54-38 in non-conference games (9-15 at MSU) and 2-1 against Murray State and 6-2 vs. the OVC as the Bears' head coach. Allen is a five-time MVFC Coach of the Year and has previous head coaching stints at UNI (1989-96) and Kansas (1997-2001).



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