Football Bears host Central Arkansas Saturday



The Missouri State football Bears are at Plaster Field to take on the University of Central Arkansas Bears Saturday (Sept. 22) at 6 p.m., in what will be the MSU Bears’ first home game in three weeks, their second home game of the season and one of just two home contests they face in a seven week period from the first of September into late October. 

  Missouri State, which got off to a quick 2-0 start in Thursday games, slipped to 2-1 for the season with last Saturday’s 61-10 road loss to the Kansas State Wildcats of the Big 12 Conference. The Bears had posted wins over Divison II Missouri-Rolla (62-17) and FCS 16th-ranked Tennessee-Martin (51-44) the previous two weeks.

  While Missouri State was losing for the first time last week, Central Arkansas won for the first time. UCA comes into this week’s game 1-2 after a 48-34 home win Saturday over Tennessee-Martin. UCA had lost earlier at Louisiana Tech (28-7) and Northwestern State (31-28).

  Bears’ second-year head coach Terry Allen will be bidding for his 100th career win as a head coach in the game. Allen enters the contest with a 99-69 record.

 The Bears open their 2007 season with four non-league games and then begin play in the 23rd year of the Gateway Football Conference Sept. 29 at Youngstown State.

  Missouri State has six home games in 2007, including three home league games. In contrast, however, to the last five years, the Bears have non-conference play after their league schedule begins. MSU closes its campaign at home Nov. 10 vs. Southeast Missouri State. That addition to the schedule came when Western Kentucky left the Gateway after the 2006 season to go to the Sun Belt Conference.

 The Bears are in a stretch of five of seven games on the road before finishing the season with three straight at home. After the game at home against UCA, the Bears have three of their next four away from home. The Bears come back from Youngstown State to host Illinois State at Plaster Oct. 6. This year marks the first time the Bears have played two Thursday games in a season. The Bears’ first four games this year are night games and the last seven are day games.

The Coaches: Terry Allen (UNI, ’76) is 4-10 with the Bears in his second year at Missouri State; 99-69 overall in his 15th year as a college head coach. He’s 0-1 vs. UCA. (Allen detailed bio and Missouri State and Gateway win lists attached).

Clint Conque (Nicholls State, ’83) is 53-31 in his eighth year at UCA and overall as a college head coach. He’s 1-0 vs. MSU.

Central Arkansas: After beating the Bears last year in Conway, Ark., Central Arkansas went on to an 8-3 season in the school’s first year in Division I FCS. This season is UCA’s first full year as a member of the Southland Conference. Central Arkansas was 11-3 and reached the NCAA Division II playoff quarterfinals in 2005.

  UCA QB Nathan Brown is hitting more than 70 percent of his passes with a stable full of solid receivers, while TB Brent Grimes has run for five touchdowns in three ballgames.

Series record: Central Arkansas leads, 3-2. The two teams split four games between 1937 and 1951 and the MSU Bears dropped a 16-14 defensive battle to the UCA Bears last year in Conway, Ark., in the first meeting between the two schools in over half a century. (scores attached).

Missouri State vs. FBS: The 2007 season was the 17th year in a row Missouri State has had a Division I FBS opponent, including three years (1990-92-98) in which MSU met two FBS foes. Missouri State has had 23 games against eight FBS foes since moving to FCS in 1982. The only MSU FBS win in that span was the 1990 season opener at UNLV. The Bears are 1-23 vs. FBS teams after alst week’s game at Kansas State.

Bears vs. FBS foes:

1987 Northern Illinois 27, Missouri State 21

1988 Northern Illinois 17, Missouri State 3

1990 Missouri State 31, UNLV 24

Tulsa 41, Missouri State 28

1991 Tulsa 34, Missouri State 13

1992 Pacific 48, Missouri State 14

Tulsa 17, Missouri State 14

1993 Oklahoma State 45, Missouri State 7

1994 Tulsa 38, Missouri State 28

1995 Oklahoma State 35, Missouri State 7

1996 Oklahoma State 23, Missouri State 20, ot

1997 Arkansas State 35, Missouri State 27

1998 Tulsa 49, Missouri State 14

Arkansas State 28, Missouri State 24

1999 Tulsa 45, Missouri State 21

2000 Arkansas 38, Missouri State 0

2001 Kansas 24, Missouri State 10

2002 Kansas 44, Missouri State 24

2003 Oklahoma State 42, Missouri State 3

2004 Tulsa 49, Missouri State 7

2005 Arkansas 49, Missouri State 17

2006 Oklahoma State 52, Missouri State 10

2007 Kansas State 61, Missouri State 10

Affiliation: Missouri State is in its 26th Division I FCS season and 22nd Gateway Football Conference year. MSU was in the NCAA College Division from 1956 until Division II was established in 1974. League affiliations have included the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1924-81), Mid-Continent (1981-84) and Gateway (1985-05). Missouri State has had winning seasons 11 of 25 FCS years, and reached FCS playoffs in 1989 and 1990. The 1989 and 1990 seasons included the Bears’ only league (Gateway) titles since moving to FCS. The 2005 season marks the 23rd year for Gateway competition in what has become the top FCS league in the country. The Gateway:

l Has had two or more teams in the FCS playoffs each of the last 12 years.

l Has had a playoff semifinalist eight of the last 11 years.

l Is the only FCS league in which every league member has had at least one playoff appearance.

l Owns national titles from Youngstown State (1997) and Western Kentucky (2002).

l Became the first FCS league to put four teams in the playoffs the same year (2003).

l Had both the I-AA National Coach of the Year (Jerry Kill of SIU) and the I-AA National Player of the Year (Boomer Grigsby of Illinois State) in 2004.

 Missouri State All-Time: Missouri State is in its 96th football season with a mark of 422-421-40 (.5001) for 883 games. The Bears first played in 1909 and have had a team all but three years since. MSU has had 45 winning seasons, 47 losing seasons and three .500 years. The longest MSU string of consecutive winning seasons is five, done three times (1947-51, ’62-66, ’89-93). The Bears’ most recent winning seasons were 2001 and 2004.

Missouri State in 2006: In their first year under head coach Terry Allen, the Bears finished with a 2-9 season record and were 1-6 in Gateway Football Conference play. Missouri State beat Southwest Baptist in its home opener and clipped GFC foe Western Illinois in the home season finale for the team’s only wins. Missouri State lost four games by a touchdown or less and dropped another contest by 10 points. Two seniors--free safety Mike Radon and offensive tackle Justin Williamson--shared the football Coors Player of the Year honor. Radon led the team in interceptions and was third in total tackles while Williamson was the line’s top graded blocker throughout the campaign. The Bears began the year with an entirely new quarterback corps and had injuries at that position to compound the inexperience. Matt Krapfl and Tyler Horner, both redshirt freshmen in 2006, wound up starting four games each as the team’s signal-caller. Missouri State had 25 seniors on its ballclub in 2006.

NFL Bears: Missouri State has two players on current NFL rosters, including OL Jason Whittle (Bills) and LS/TE Brad St. Louis (Bengals). Whittle spent four years with the Giants, including an appearance in the 2002 Super Bowl. He spent a year with Tampa Bay and two more with the Giants before moving to Minnesota last year and Buffalo this year. St. Louis is in his eighth year with the Bengals.

Personnel: The Bears are young. Half the 90 squad members hadn’t played in a Missouri State game before UMR, and 29 of the Bears who played vs. UMR were in their first game for Missouri State, including 24 freshmen. Of the rookies, 14 were redshirt freshmen and 10 were true freshmen. There are 26 lettermen back from last season. QB Matt Krapfl, QB Tyler Horner, OC David Tillman, WR Jeremy Nicholson, WR Chris Geisz, FB Jeff Sargent and WR Eric Davis on offense and LB Jeron Poole and CB Marcus Colbert on defense are returning regulars from last year. Geisz has moved from wide receiver to the defensive secondary this year.

Captains: The Bears’ 2007 captains include LB Jeron Poole, CB Marcus Colbert, TB Gerald Davis and OC David Tillman. All are seniors.


 l The Bears’ Sept. 15 game at Kansas State was played before a crowd of 46,825 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. That marks the third largest crowd ever to watch a Bears’ football game, topped only by Missouri State’s visits to Arkansas in 2001 and 2005. The Bears’ top 15 and 18 of their top 21 all-time crowds have come against FBS teams.

 l With their 2-0 start, the Bears are getting support in FCS polls for the first time in many years, ranking between 25th and 34th in four FCS lists last week. This week, their points have them between 29th and 39th in the various rankings.

 l The Bears started 2-0 with a lot of offense on Thursdays. The Bears’ win over No. 16 Tennessee-Martin was their first win over a ranked FCS team since a home win over Northern Iowa in 2005. It was also the Bears’ first road win since Oct. 16, 2004, and ended a string of 11 straight Missouri State losses away from Springfield. The Bears were also 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 2004, and the Bears owned the longest active win streak in the Gateway at three before losing Saturday at Kansas State.

 l In climbing to 2-0 and matching the season win total of the 2-9 Missouri State team in 2006, the Bears dispatched the defending Ohio Valley Conference champs, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff team last year.

 l The offensive free-for-all at UTM took three and a half hours to complete and marked the fifth highest combined point total for two teams in a game in the 96-year, 882-game history of Missouri State football. It was the most points an MSU team has ever allowed in a victory, the most a UTM team has ever scored in a loss, and it was the highest point total for a Bear ballclub in a game since . . . 62 against Missouri-Rolla the previous week. It was the first time the Bears have put 50-point games back-to-back since 1978 and also the most points MSU has scored in consecutive games since 1978.

 l The two ballclubs amassed 987 total yards between them in the contest with UTM owning a 542-435 advantage for the night but the Bears got some key stops deep in their own territory, protected the football all night and were penalized nearly 100 fewer yards than UTM.

 l Bears’ senior K Nathan Stokes was named Gateway Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and MSU Coors Player of the Week for his performance at UTM. Stokes provided a record-tying 15 points on three field goals and six extra points against the Skyhawks. Stokes was perfect in his nine placement attempts as his 15 points tied a Missouri State single game kick scoring record set by Richard Grote in 1990 vs. Indiana State and tied by Wayne Boyer in 1996 vs. Tennessee-Martin. Stokes’s three field goals tied his career best in that department, matching the trio he kicked last year at Indiana State, and his 44-yarder in the final period was five yards longer than his previous career long. Stokes also had two punts for 31.5 yards and gained six yards for a first down on a fake punt.

 l Defensively at UTM, the Bears got nine solo stops among 13 tackles by LB Jeron Poole while CB Derek Miller had nine stops and LB Sam Block eight.

 l Gateway teams enjoyed a 5-2 mark Sept. 6-8, including winning two of three games against FBS teams. The league schools were 5-2 again on Sept. 15, and now have a 14-7 overall record.

 l In their first two games, the Bears had the football 27 times. They scored on 18 of those possessions (15 TDs, 3 field goals), punted twice, turned the ball over three times and had the ball when time expired at the end of a half four times.

 l  The UMR win was the first time since 2004 Missouri State had won its season opener. MSU is 12-14 in season openers in Division I FCS. In beating the Miners, the Bears won their home opener for the 10th year in a row and are 20-4-2 in home openers in FCS. The all-time Missouri State record in season openers is 48-45-3.

 l The UMR contest saw 29 Bears make their college playing debuts, including 24 freshmen. Ten of the rookies were true freshmen and the others were redshirts.

 l  Against Missouri-Rolla, the Bears rolled up their highest point total team since a 63-14 win over Drake in 2001.

 l TB Gerald Davis tied a Missouri State record shared by nine others with four rushing TDs in the UMR contest. He had 110 yards on 15 carries and also caught a pass to get selection as Missouri State Coors Player of the Week and the Gateway Offensive Player of the Week. With Jonathan Davis getting 113 yards on 19 carries, it was the first time two Bears had gained 100 or more yards on the ground in a contest in four seasons.

 l  WR Tamarkus McElvane had four catches for 139 yards vs. UMR for the most receiving yards for a Bear since 2005. It was also a career best for McElvane at Missouri State. WR Eric Davis had five receptions for 76 yards, matching his career best for receptions while setting a new best in receiving yards for a game.

 l  In the UMR game, the Bears scored touchdowns on nine of their 14 possessions. They turned the pigskin over three times and had the ball at the end of each half on the other five possessions. Missouri State did not punt in the contest.

 l For fans who like to get comfortable and watch offense, Bear games this year are the place to be. Last week at Kansas State, 71 points were scored by the two teams in a three-hour, 31-minute game. A week earlier at Tennessee-Martin, 95 points were scored in three hours, 25 minutes. And, the season opener vs. Missouri-Rolla saw 79 points scored in a speedy two hours, 50 minutes. MSU and its opponents have accounted for 41 scoring plays (31 TDs, 10 FGs), an average of 13.7 scores a game. In 2006, The Bears’ and their foes averaged 7.6 scoring plays over the 11-game season.

 l And, for all the offensive fireworks, the games haven’t been full of giveaways. In three games, the Bears have turned the ball over four times (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles) and their combined foes have surrendered it five times (2 interceptions, 3 fumbles)

 l  With 28 points in the first quarter vs. UMR, the Bears tied the MSU record for points in the first quarter of a game, set in 1992 vs. Washburn.

 l The Bears’ 690 total yards vs. UMR tied the third best single game total on record at MSU. The 35 first downs were within one of a single game team record.

 l Defensively, the Bears went three units deep with LB Sam Block and LB Dan Graham coming up with pass interceptions while CB Derek Miller recovered a fumble. LB Jeron Poole and Block led the way with six tackles each. UMR was held to 206 yards in offense.



Official Store

    Watch Video