Football Bears Host No. 3 UNI in Valley Opener Saturday
No. 3 Northern Iowa Panthers (2-1) at
Missouri State Bears (2-1)
Sept. 26, 2009, 1:00 p.m.
Plaster Field (16,300), Springfield, Mo.Quick Links:TICKETS . FAMILY PLAN . $5 GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETSRADIOTELEVISION (FOX College Sports) . BEARS LIVELIVE STATSNORTHERN IOWA GAME NOTESVALLEY FOOTBA GAME NOTESWHAT'S NEW AT PLASTERBEARWEAR FRIDAYS . BUY BEARWEARVISITOR'S GUIDE
Today's Game: The Missouri State Bears conclude a three-game home stand this Saturday when they welcome the No. 3 ranked Northern Iowa Panthers (2-1) to Plaster Field for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Family Weekend at Missouri State. It is the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams.
This will be 30th meeting between the two teams and 15th matchup at Plaster Field. The Panthers have won three in a row between the clubs and lead the series 24-5, including a 42-0 victory over the Bears on 11/8/08 in Cedar Falls. Missouri State's last victory in the series came on 10/8/05 with a 24-21 victory at Plaster Field which snapped a six-game losing streak to UNI. The two teams have split the last two meetings at Plaster Field.
The Panthers are off to a 2-1 start after a narrow 17-16 loss to Iowa in the season opener, followed by home wins over South Dakota (66-7) and St. Francis (30-0) the past two weeks. They have allowed their opponents into the red zone just three times all season and have ridden the arm of senior quarterback Pat Grace to victory in back-to-back games. Grace is averaging 294 yards per game through the air, but has only used eight targets all season, including a team-high 13 receptions by D.P. Eyman. Grace has been intercepted just once, passed for seven touchdowns, and has rushed for three more scores.
Missouri State is also coming off back-to-back home wins, including Saturday's dominant 35-10 win over Murray State. The Bears held the Racers to just 3.8 yards per play and scored two defensive touchdowns while compiling a season-high 392 yards total offense. Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the win while climbing to No. 3 on MSU's career passing list by becoming just the fourth Bears' passer to eclipse 4,000 career yards. Miguel Warren (Sr., TB, Raytown, Mo.) also had a great game, accounting for a team-high 146 all-purpose yards, including a 64-yard kickoff return, and a game-high and career-high 79 rushing yards.
Overall, Missouri State is 434-435-39 (.499) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 194-142-12 (.575) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 64-86-1 (.427) mark in MVFC play, and 147-149-3 (.497) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level.
The Series: The Panthers lead the all-time series 24-5 and have won three in a row and nine of the last 10 games in the series. Missouri State is 3-11 at home against the Panthers, including a 1-1 mark in the last two games at Plaster Field. There have been four shutouts in the series -- all by UNI -- but just one shutout (1991) at Plaster Field. Missouri State's last win over UNI came on 10/8/05 when the Bears earned a 24-21 victory over then-No. 6 UNI.
Last season in Cedar Falls, the Bears were held to just 81 total yards in a one-sided 42-0 loss to the fourth-ranked Panthers. Pat Grace threw for 141 yards, while Corey Lewis rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns for UNI. The Bears were shut out for the first time under Terry Allen and got 78 passing yards from Cody Kirby, while Clay Harbor and Chase Mejia shared team-high honors with four receptions.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 109-81 (.574) overall in his 17th season as a head coach. Allen is 14-22 (.389) in his fourth season at Missouri State. He is also 86-45 (.656) in Missouri Valley Football Conference games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 0-3 all-time against UNI.
With the Bears, Allen is 10-9 at home, 4-13 away, 6-15 in conference play (4-7 at home), 8-7 in non-conference games (6-2 at home), 1-0 in overtime, 0-1 in shutouts, and 6-7 in games decided by 10 points or less.
Coach Allen spent 10 years as an assistant coach at UNI (1979-88) before taking over the head coaching duties there in 1989 where he spent the next eight seasons (1989-96). He was 72-26 at UNI and five-time MVFC Coach of the Year, taking the Panthers to the NCAA FCS playoffs seven straight years. He took over the head coaching duties at Kansas in 1997 and was 20-33 in five years with the Big 12 Jayhawks (1997-2001). Prior to coming to MSU, he spent four seasons (2002-05) as associate head coach at Iowa State.
UNI head coach Mark Farley (UNI, 1987) is 77-29 in his ninth season at UNI and overall as a head coach. He is 8-1 all-time against the Bears and 3-1 at Plaster Field.
First and Ten: Ten Missouri state quick hits relating to today's game:
Radio: All Missouri State Bears games can be heard on KTXR, Springfield (101.3 FM), the flagship station of the Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network. Play-by-play man Art Hains will provide the game description. Color commentary duties will be split this between third-year commentator Scott Opfer and KYTV Sports Director Ned Reynolds. Opfer will handle seven dates, while Reynolds will work the Sept. 5, Sept. 12, Oct. 3 and Oct. 24 games.
Hains first began calling Bears' action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 30th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called Bears games from 1977-81 and returned to that post in 1985. The UNI game is Art's 313th MSU football broadcast.
MSU football can also be heard on the seven-station, Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network on the following affiliates: Ava - KKOZ (92.1 FM/1430 AM); Jefferson City - KJMO (97.5); Kansas City - KCWJ (1030 AM); Monett - KKBL (95.9 FM); Poplar Bluff - KLID (1340 AM); St. Louis - KFNS (100.7 FM); and Springfield - KTXR (101.3 FM) (flagship).
On-Line: Select games this season will be shown on Missouri State's on-line video channel -- Bears Live! Bears Live is a premium, broadband video destination for exclusive live and on-demand Missouri State streaming video & audio. This broadband video channel is the ultimate place for Bears fans on the web and can be accessed through www.MissouriStateBears.com, the official web site of Missouri State Athletics. The UNI game is part of the BearsLive! package.
Links to live game stats, and the free audio stream (through www.RadioSpringfield.com) can be found on this week's game notes page on www.MissouriStateBears.com or at the Fan Central link on the home page.
Television: Today's game will be shown nationally on FOX College Sports (FCS) and locally on Mediacom Connections (Channel 22). The game will also be shown on FOX Sports Midwest on a tape-delayed basis at 1 a.m (Central). Scott Warman will handle play-by-play duties, while Danan Hughes will provide color commentary.
Last Game: Behind a pair of defensive touchdowns and 392 yards of total offense, Missouri State turned back Murray State, 35-10, in the Bears' final non-conference game of the season.
Playing in wet conditions most of the day, Missouri State retaliated from an early 3-0 deficit with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) hit Cadarrius Dotson (Fr., WR, Memphis, Tenn.) on the team's first drive of the game and never looked back with 35 unanswered points.
Later in the first quarter, Kirby connected with Jermaine Saffold (So., WR, Grandview, Mo.) for a 26-yard touchdown strike to make it 14-3. Kirby had 140 passing yards in the first half.
In the second quarter, Missouri State's defense rose up with a series of sensational plays. The first momentum builder came on a 55-yard fumble recovery and return by Skylar Smith (Jr., S, Springfield, Mo.). Later in the quarter, Travis Ribbing (So., LB, Farmington, Mo.) sacked Murray State QB Jeff Ehrhardt, forcing the ball loose. Waylon Richardet (Jr., DT, Perryville, Mo.) jumped on the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to increase the Bears' lead to 28-3.
On their their third possession of the third quarter, Missouri State drove 76 yards on just five plays for their final score of the day as Kirby hit tight end Wes Miller (Jr., TE, St. Joseph, Mo.) from 27 yards out to make it 35-3 with 1:03 to play in the period.
The Bears tallied seven sacks in the game, including 1.5 sacks by Richardet. MSU used its balanced rushing attack to account for 169 yards on 44 carries, including Miguel Warren's (Sr., TB, Raytown, Mo.) career-high 79 yards on six carries. Kirby was 17-for-28 through the air for 223 yards and three touchdowns. It was Kirby's first three-touchdown effort since Oct. 4, 2008 against Western Illinois and his first 200-yard passing effort in four games.
Team Captains: Missouri State will have five co-captains for the 2009 season, including a pair of seniors and three juniors. The Bears' 2009 captains include tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.), cornerback Cedric Alvis (Sr., Columbia, Mo.), guard David Arkin (Jr., Wichita, Kan.), quarterback Cody Kirby (Jr., Rogers, Ark.), and safety Skylar Smith (Jr., Springfield, Mo.). Kirby was also a co-captain in 2008, which made him just the third MSU sophomore captain since 1953 (joining Corky Martin, 1999, and Kevin Sears, 2005).
Scouting UNI: The Panthers are off to a 2-1 start after a narrow 17-16 loss to Iowa in the season opener, followed by home wins over South Dakota (66-7) and St. Francis (30-0) the past two weeks.
UNI has allowed its opponents into the red zone just three times all season and have ridden the arm of senior quarterback Pat Grace to victory in back-to-back games. Grace is averaging 294 yards per game through the air, but has only used eight targets all season, including a team-high 13 receptions by D.P. Eyman. Grace has been intercepted just once, passed for seven touchdowns, and has rushed for three more scores.
On the ground, UNI relies on Derrick Law to do its heavy lifting. Law is averaging 87.0 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry, while Carlos Anderson gets 56.3 yards per game.
About Missouri State: Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri's future, making Missouri's future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior. With an enrollment of 21,688, MSU is the second-largest institution for higher learning in Missouri, and its identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs. This mission requires a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship. Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution.
Missouri State competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference with affiliate membership in the Mid-American Conference for field hockey and men's swimming and diving.
Notable Missouri State alums include: Ryan Howard (first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies), John Goodman (actor), Kathleen Turner (actress), David Glass (owner, Kansas City Royals), John Q. Hammons (businessman, hotel developer), Bob Holden (43rd governor of Missouri), Bill Mueller (2003 American League batting champ), Jackie Stiles (NCAA Division I women's basketball career scoring leader), and Blake Ahearn (NBA D-League MVP and All-Star Game co-MVP).
Streaks and Milestones: Tyler Horner needs 2 passing yards for 1,000 in his career ... Cody Kirby needs 46 rushing yards for 500 in his career ... Byron Hightower needs 8 tackles for 100 in his career.
Starting to Become a Habit: Four Bears have started at least 10 consecutive games. Leading the list is Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) with 26 straight starts, followed by David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) 25, Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.), 22, and Cedric Alvis (Sr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) 14.
Overall, MSU returns five offensive starters from last season -- Harbor, Arkin, Kirby, Brent Chojnacki (Jr., OC, Olathe, Kan.) and Justin Fuselier (Jr., WR, Tulsa, Okla.). The Bears also return four regular defensive starters -- Alvis, Waylon Richardet (Jr., DT, Perryville, Mo.), Byron Hightower (Jr., LB, Raytown, Mo.), and Skylar Smith (Jr., S, Springfield, Mo.).
Kirby Home Demonstration: Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) has enjoyed great success at Plaster Field during his time at MSU. In 13 career home games, including 12 starts, Kirby has thrown for 2,541 yards (195.5) and 20 touchdown passes, including eight 200-yard performances. The Bears are 7-5 in Kirby starts at home and 10-12 in his 22 starts overall. He has been the MSU quarterback in 230 of the team's 243 plays this season.
Honors Continue for Tight End Harbor: Bears' tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.) continues to collect preseason All-America honors from various publications and organizations.
During the 2009 preseason, he has been named to All-America teams by The Sports Network, College Sporting News, Consensus Draft Services, and Lindy's College Football Preview.
After collecting 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008, Harbor earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors. Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list, including a third-team honor in 2007. He was also named to the Sports Network Fab 50.
Harbor is also ranked as the No. 12 overall player -- and top tight end -- in the NCAA FCS, according to the ranking source for Phil Steele. The top 20 players are: 1. QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State, Sr.; 2. WR/RS Andre' Roberts, The Citadel, Sr.; 3. QB Cameron Higgins, Weber State, Jr.; 4. WR Terrell Hudgins, Elon, Sr.; 5. FS Mark LeGree, Appalachian State, Jr.; 6. DE Larry Hart, Central Arkansas, Sr.; 7. QB Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, Sr.; 8. RS Leroy Vann, Florida A&M, Sr.; 9. RB Trevyn Smith, Weber State, Sr.; 10. OT James Williams, Harvard, Sr.; 11. DE James Ruffin, Northern Iowa, Sr.; 12. TE Clay Harbor, Missouri State, Sr.; 13. OG Matthew McCracken, Richmond, Sr.; 14. WR/RS Marc Mariani, Montana, Sr.; 15. TE Scott Sicko, New Hampshire, Sr.; 16. RS Scotty McGee, James Madison, Sr.; 17. OT Vladimir Ducasse, UMASS, Sr.; 18. RB William Ford, South Carolina State, Sr.; 19. DE Austen Lane, Murray State, Sr.; 20. DT Mychal Savage, Youngstown State, Sr.
MSU Player of the Week: Defensive end Waylon Richardet (Jr., Perryville, Mo.) has been named as the MSU Player of the Week for his role in the Bears' 35-10 win over Murray State last Saturday. Richardet recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, was in on two sacks, and recorded 2.5 tackles for loss as part of his six total tackles. He ran two plays at fullback and also was an integral part of the MSU kickoff return game as the Bears averaged 39.0 yards per return. Anchored by Richardet's efforts, the Bears' defensive unit held a second straight opponent under 20 points for the first time since the 2006 season. Richardet was also named Valley Football Defensive Player of the Week this week.
In 2008, Cody Kirby (QB, Rogers, Ark.) was named 2008 Missouri State Coors Player of the Year after earning second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Honors and throwing for 2,014 yards and 15 touchdowns, finishing second in the league in total offense and 53rd nationally. He led the Bears to three fourth-quarter go-ahead or tying scores in 2008. Coors is no longer sponsoring the MSU Player of the Week and Player of the Year awards.
MVFC Preseason All-Conference Team: The Missouri Valley Football Conference released its preseason all-conference team on July 20 at its annual Media Day festivities in St. Louis.
Three Bears were named to the Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team, including Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.), David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) and honorable mention selection Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.).
Harbor, a preseason All-America pick by several agencies, snagged 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008 for the Bears, both tops on the squad, and earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors. Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list.
Arkin was named a preseason Third-Team All-America pick at offensive guard by the Sports Network. He graded out at 86 percent during the 2008 season, starting all 11 games at offensive guard. He was named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Week four times in 2008, also gaining the squad's Offensive Player of the Week distinction twice. He was a 2008 All-Valley preseason selection in addition to being named to the league's All-Newcomer Team and Second-Team All-Conference squads the past two seasons.
Kirby, who found a spot on the MVFC Preseason Team as an honorable mention pick, earned All-Valley second-team honors as a sophomore in 2008 after throwing for 2,104 yards and 15 touchdowns while posting 2,227 yards of total offense and scoring nine touchdowns. At 183.1 yards per game, he is the league's top returning passer and No. 2 returnee in total offense (202.5 ypg). Kirby was the league's preseason All-Valley quarterback in 2008 and was the 2007 MVFC Freshman of the Year.
Individual Statistical Leaders: The following active Missouri State players rank among the Missouri Valley Football Conference's top 10 individual performers in the categories indicated:
Valley All-Time Football Team: As a part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference Silver Anniversary Celebration, fans are invited to participate in the selection of the Valley's All-Time Football Team. The ballots are accessible through the the Missouri Valley Football Conference web site or at www.Valley-Football25.org. (one ballot per site visit).
There are 14 Bears on the ballot, including: DeAndre Smith (QB, 1987-90), Clay Harbor (TE, 2006-present), Brad St. Louis (TE, 1996-99), Mark Christensen (OL, 1986-89), Matt Irvin (OL, 1989-92), Wayne Boyer (PK ,1993-96), Travis Brawner (PK, 1997-99), Jon Scifres (PK, 2002-05), Michael Fox (DL, 1989-90), Bill Waler (DL, 1988-91), DeLaun Fowler (LB, 1992-95), Matt Soraghan (LB, 1985-87), Adrion Smith (DB, 1989-91), and Marcus Shipp (DB, 1989-91).
MVFC All-Select NFL Team: Former Missouri State football Bears Brad St. Louis and Jason Whittle have been named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference "All-Select NFL Team," the league announced Monday (July 20) in St. Louis.
Whittle, most recently an offensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills, is preparing for his 12th NFL year in 2009. He signed a free agent contract in the 2003 off-season with the New York Giants. He later moved to the Minnesota Vikings for the 2006 campaign before joining the Bills in 2007. An offensive and defensive line standout at Missouri State from 1994-97, Whittle signed with the Giants in 1998 and was a regular lineman and deep snapper for the team. His play in the 2001 Super Bowl was the first time an MSU product had played in the NFL title game.
St. Louis is entering his 10th year with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, making him the longest-tenured player on the Bengals' roster. He starred for MSU at tight end from 1996-99 and played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl after his senior MSU season prior to signing with Cincinnati. He has operated as the Bengals' regular deep snapper each of the past six seasons with additional work at tight end.
The team includes 35 players from current and former MVFC schools. The team includes four NFL MVPs, 15 Pro-Bowl selections and other 23 Super Bowl appearances by 12 players. Sixteen former league players are active in the NFL.
National Leaders: Bears ranking among the nation's top 50 players in this week's statistics are: Jermaine Saffold (So., WR, Grandview, Mo.) is tied for 15th in kickoff returns (29.5), while Miguel Warren (Sr., TB, Raytown, Mo.) is 17th (29.4). Jordan Chiles (So., P, Hillsboro, Ill.) is 33rd in punting (40.27), and Matt Hottelman (Sr., K, O'Fallon, Mo.) is tied for 50th in field goals (0.67). Derek Miller (Jr., S, Olathe, Kan.) is 33rd in interceptions per game (0.67). As a team, the Bears are 10th in kickoff returns (28.00), 22nd in sacks (2.67), 29th in rushing defense (99.33), 36th in net punting (35.36), and 45th in rushing offense (145.33).
Postseason History: The Bears have appeared in three postseason games during their NCAA Division I era (1982-present).
In 1989, the Bears were ranked No. 9 in the FCS poll when they hosted Maine at Plaster Field on November 25. A 33-yard field goal by Chris Potthast with eight seconds left gave MSU a 38-35 win and sent the Bears to the national quarterfinals at Stephen F. Austin.
The Bears gave up 613 yards in total offense at SFA and fell 55-25, despite trailing just 23-10 at the half. MSU finished the year with a 10-3 record, by far their best in the era.
In 1990, MSU hosted No. 13 Idaho at Plaster Field in the first round of the playoffs. After a field goal by Richard Grote on the first play of the fourth quarter tied the game, 35-35, the Bears gave up field goals of 29 and 50 yards later in the quarter, and the potential game-winning drive stalled at the Idaho 45 with 30 seconds remaining in a 41-35 defeat.
Prior to their Division I days, the Bears appeared in three bowl games, falling 34-20 to Emporia State in the 1948 Mo-Kan Bowl, dropping a 21-14 decision to Northern Illinois in the 1963 Mineral Water Bowl, and coming up short, 14-8, to Adams State in the 1966 Mineral Water Bowl.
MSU is 1-5 all-time in postseason.
Up Next: The Bears travel to Youngstown State next Saturday (Oct. 3) for a 5 p.m. kickoff against the Penguins at Stambaugh Stadium.