Bears Look to Rebound in Road Test With South Dakota State
Julian Burton
Julian Burton

Sept. 24, 2012

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (0-4, 0-1 MVFC) at No. 25 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (3-1, 1-0 MVFC)
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Kickoff: 6:04 p.m. (Central)
Location: Brookings, S.D.
Site: Coughlin-Alumni Stadium (15,000)
TV: Mediacom MC-22/MVFC TV (Tom Ackerman, Richard Baldinger)
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Mike Kolling)
Live Stats:
Live Video:
Tickets: and 1-866-GO-JACKS

♦ Missouri State brings a two-game MVFC road win streak into Saturday's game. The Bears defeated Western Illinois, 31-17 (Oct. 22, 2011) and Youngstown State, 37-34 (Nov. 19, 2011) in their final two road games last season to thwart a 12-game road losing streak.
♦ Through four games, Caleb Schaffitzel (So., S, Fair Grove, Mo.) ranks 21st nationally in tackles per game (11.00). The redshirt sophomore, who rates fourth among all MVFC defenders in the same category, has accounted for 39 tackles over the Bears' last three outings.
♦ In addition to Schaffitzel's standing among the nation's top tacklers, the Bears' defense also features a pair of players listed among FCS's sack leaders. Martin Montgomery (Jr., DE, Pine Bluff, Ark.) is 33rd (0.75/game), while Nate Davis (Sr., OLB, Liberal, Kan.) enters Saturday's game 70th in sacks per game.
♦ Missouri State's defense has limited the opposition to an average of 298.5 yards of total offense per game and forced 21 punts over the last two weeks.
♦ The Bears outgained Murray State and Southern Illinois by an average of 103 yards per game (401.5 to 298.5) over the last two weeks, but posted a -5 turnover margin in the two losses.
Dorian Buford (Jr., WR, Florissant, Mo.) leads the MVFC and ranks 20th nationally in receptions per game (6.57 rpg). He also rates third in the conference and 40th in the FCS ranks in receiving yardage (75.5 ypg).
Ryan Heaston (Fr., RB, Cordova, Tenn.) leads the Bears in rushing with 229 yards on 44 carries through four games. The redshirt freshman has recorded a combined 190 yards on the ground in MSU's last two games alone.
Austin Witmer (Jr., Grand Island, Neb.) is tied for 11th among all Division I FCS kickers in field goals per game (1.50).
♦ Missouri State dropped its eighth-consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference opener last weekend against Southern Illinois and fell to 12-16 in MVFC openers since joining the league in 1985.
♦ The Bears are 0-4 for the second straight year after winning at least one of their first four games in each of the previous 16 seasons. Additionally, MSU has dropped 10 straight September games dating back to Sept. 11, 2010.

October 29, 2011 -- Missouri State racked up a season-high 451 yards, but came up just short in a 43-36 double-overtime loss to South Dakota State at Plaster Field in the two clubs' last meeting.

The Jackrabbits spoiled the Bears' homecoming with a two-yard touchdown run by Zach Zenner, who finished with a team-high 77 rushing yards, in the second overtime to secure the come-from-behind win. The Bears could not answer on their second overtime possession and turned the ball over on downs four plays later, three yards shy of the first-down marker at the 15.

The Bears had a chance to go ahead late in regulation as they marched to the SDSU 15 with less than two minutes to play. However, an Austin Witmer 32-yard field goal sailed wide right to end the 10-play scoring threat, and the Jackrabbits ran out the clock to settle for a chance in overtime with the game tied 29-29.

In the extra period, the Bears took command quickly, covering the 25 yards in just four plays to go ahead 36-29 on a one-yard run by Trevor Wooden. South Dakota State retaliated on the very next play with a 25-yard strike from Austin Sumner to Dale Moss to knot the score at 36.

It took Sumner just four plays to put SDSU ahead for good in the second overtime.

Sumner finished 20-for-31 for 377 yards and four touchdowns, including two TD strikes to Moss who had seven catches for 178 yards. Aaron Rollin had a game-high eight receptions for SDSU for 163 yards.

Wooden led MSU's charge with 338 yards of total offense, including a game-high and career-high 107 rushing yards on 24 carries. He also passes for 231 yards, going 22-for-31 with a career-best four touchdowns. He became the first MSU signal caller to throw for four scores since Cody Kirby on Oct. 6, 2007 against Illinois State.

Jermaine Saffold had seven receptions for 74 yards and became MSU's career leader in receiving yardage. The senior from Grandview, Mo., now has 2,062 yards on 113 career catches.

Matt Thayer added three catches for 50 yards for MSU with a pair of touchdowns, while Chris Douglas tallied 76 rushing yards on 21 touches.

Ryan Heaston (Fr., RB, Cordova, Tenn.) became the first MSU freshman to rush for 100 yards since 2007 when he notched his first career 100-yard effort against SIU last Saturday. Heaston finished with 22 attempts for 126 yards (5.7), making him the first Bears running back since 2010 to eclipse the century mark (QB Trevor Wooden did it twice in 2011). Heaston also racked up 153 all-purpose yards, the most by an MSU player this season.

Heaston was named MSU Player of the Week by the Bears' media for the second consecutive week. The redshirt freshman recorded 138 all-purpose yards against Murray State (Sept. 15), including three pass receptions for 74 yards and 11 rushing attempts for 64 yards. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry on the ground, including a team season-high 37-yard outburst, and also notched a 67-yard pass reception from Ashton Glaser (Jr., QB, Springdale, Ark.) in the contest, the squad's second-longest passing play of the campaign.

MSU co-captain Matt Thayer (Sr., TE, Bellevue, Neb.) is coming off a career effort with eight receptions for 72 yards against Southern Illinois, both career highs. The All-America candidate combined with Dorian Buford (Jr., WR, Florissant, Mo.) to collect 17 of the Bears' 26 pass receptions on the afternoon and put together 137 receiving yards between them.

The Bears' 198 yards allowed against Southern Illinois on Saturday was the fewest yards gained by a Missouri State opponent since Nov. 20, 2010, when the Bears kept North Dakota State in check with just 120 total yards. The MSU defense limited the opposition to an average of 298.5 yards of total offense per game and forced 21 punts over the last two weeks to help the Bears outgain Murray State and Southern Illinois by 103 yards per game (401.5 to 298.5).

Leading the charge against the Salukis was Anthony Grady (Jr., DE, Texarkana, Ark.), who registered five total stops, two tackles for losses and the Bears' only sack in just his second career start. Grady was part of an MSU defensive front that held the Salukis without a third-down conversion in 13 tries and surrendered just 11 first downs on the afternoon.

MSU junior receiver Dorian Buford (Jr., WR, Florissant, Mo.) continued a string of standout early-season performances Saturday vs. Southern Illinois, hauling in a game-high nine receptions for 65 yards. That effort marked the third time in four outings this season he has matched or exceeded his career high for receptions in a game.

Since 2004, only Buford and Jermaine Saffold (2010) have posted multiple 100-yard receiving games in their junior season. Buford posted seven receptions for 114 yards in the 2012 season opener at Kansas State and entered the week as one of only four MVFC receivers to top the century mark this season.

In his fourth career start with the Bears, Buford pulled in a 56-yard pass from Kierra Harris (So., QB, Texarkana, Ark.) in the second quarter against K-State (Sept. 1) and became only the fourth different MSU player since 2007 to reach the century mark in receiving yards (since 2007 - Clay Harbor 5, Saffold 9, Cadarrius Dotson 1). It was also the most receiving yards by a Bear against an FBS opponent since 1997. Buford topped the century mark in receiving yards for the second time Sept. 15 against Murray State with a career-best nine receptions for a game-high 112 yards. His 69-yard reception from Ashton Glaser (Jr., QB, Springdale, Ark.) in the first quarter represented the Bears' longest play from scrimmage this season.

Two Bears have career milestones in their sights entering MVFC play. Julian Burton (So., WR, Cordova, Tenn.) enters Saturday's game 20 all-purpose yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for his MSU career. Andrew Beisel (So., LB, Fenton, Mo.) brings 95 career tackles into the weekend, just five away from becoming the Bears' fourth active member of the 100-tackle club. Nick Canavan (Jr., LB, Norman, Okla.) is MSU's active leader with 121 career tackles and needs just 10 more stops to crack the Bears' top 15 for career tackles.



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