Bears Ready for MVFC Road Test with Indiana State
Dorian Buford
Dorian Buford

Oct. 1, 2012

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (0-5, 0-3 MVFC) at Indiana State Sycamores (3-2, 1-1 MVFC)
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Kickoff: 2:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: Terre Haute, Ind.
Site: Memorial Stadium (12,464)
TV: None
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Mike Kolling)
Live Stats:
Live Video:
Tickets: and 1-800-745-3000

♦ The Bears have allowed an average of 15.5 points in their first two MVFC games this season, marking their best defensive performance through two league games since 2000, when they gave up a combined total of 26 points to Youngstown State and Indiana State to open conference play.
♦ MSU's five takeaways Saturday at South Dakota State represented the Bears' best single-game showing since the 2008 season. Additionally, the Bears' three interceptions marked their first of the 2012 season, matching the clubs' total for the entire 2011 campaign.
♦ Through five games, Caleb Schaffitzel (So., S, Fair Grove, Mo.) ranks 15th nationally in tackles per game (11.00). The redshirt sophomore, who rates third among all MVFC defenders in the same category, has posted double-digit tackle totals in each of the Bears' last four outings for a total of 50 stops.
♦ 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.) and Nate Davis (Sr., OLB, Liberal, Kan.) enters Saturday's game tied for 56th in the country with matching averages of 0.60 sacks per game.
Ryan Heaston (Fr., RB, Cordova, Tenn.) accounted for game highs of 183 all-purpose yards and five receptions Saturday at South Dakota State. His 148 rushing yards represented the most ever by a MSU freshman in the Division I era and second-highest freshman single-game total in school history. He bacame just the fourth Bears' freshman runner to post multiple 100-yard games in a season and the second-ever to notch back-to-back 100-yard games.
♦ Heaston leads all FCS freshman in rushing yards per game (75.4) and has totaled 377 yards on 64 carries through five games. The redshirt freshman has 336 all-purpose yards in his last two outings and has recorded a combined 338 yards on the ground in MSU's last three games.
Sybhrian Berry (Jr., CB, Camden, Ark.) became just the fourth MSU player in the Terry Allen era to snag two interceptions in a single game and the first since Jimmie Strong in 2010, in Saturday's loss at No. 25 South Dakota State.
♦ The Bears fell to 18-68 all-time against ranked FCS opponents with Saturday's setback.
♦ MSU brings a 16-10 overall advantage in its series with Indiana State into Saturday's game, but the Sycamores have won seven of 13 previous meetings in Terre Haute and have taken two straight from the Bears for just the second time in the 26-year history of the series.
Andrew Beisel (So., ILB, Fenton, Mo.) enters Saturday's game one tackle shy of 100 for his Missouri State career. He would become the fourth active Bear to reach the century club, joining Shaffitzel, Nick Canavan and Mike Crutcher.

November 12, 2011 -- Indiana State's Shakir Bell rushed 39 times for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the No. 23 Sycamores past Missouri State, 28-20, in the two teams' last meeting in Springfield.

Bell put the Sycamores ahead 14-0 with a pair of first-half touchdowns. The leading rusher in the Division I FCS ranks scored on a 23-yard TD carry at the 3:05 mark of the opening quarter put the visitors on top 7-0 to cap a 12-play, 73-yard scoring effort. He later made it 14-0 early in the second quarter with a two-yard score at the 10:46 mark, capping an 11-play drive with his 13th touchdown carry of the year.

Missouri State converted a pair of second-quarter field goals to cut into the early deficit and make it a 14-6 game at the break. In the final 4:09 of the first half, sophomore Austin Witmer knocked through a 22-yard chip shot to cap a 60-yard drive, and then tacked on a career-long 44-yarder as time expired to bring the Bears back within eight at the intermission.

In the second half, the Bears forced a fumble on ISU's first play of the third quarter and turned it into a touchdown three plays later. Nate Davis jumped on the Bell fumble at the ISU four-yard line to give the Bears new life, and Trevor Wooden found senior Chris Douglas in the flat for a five-yard TD pass to make it a 14-13 game on the third play of the possession.

MSU forced the visitors into punts on their next two possessions, but Indiana State rallied late in the third quarter. After the Bears were forced to punt from their own 15, the Sycamores got a 28-yard punt return from Donald Spencer to set up shop at the MSU 30. Two plays later, Spencer was on the receiving end of a 36-yard touchdown pass from Ronnie Fouch to make it a 21-13 game.

Still in the game, the Bears came up with a huge opportunity early in the fourth quarter when Martin Montgomery forced another Bell fumble, which Sybhrian Berry recovered at the Indiana State 14-yard line. With a short field in front of them, the Bears had a gift on their doorstep, but could not convert a first down on third-and-one at the Sycamore five. MSU settled for a 23-yard field goal attempt by Witmer into the wind, but the kick sailed wide right.

Two possessions later, the Sycamores pulled ahead by 15 on a one-yard run by Ben Obaseki to put the exclamation point on a nine-play, 82-yard touchdown drive to make it a 28-13 game.

With 3:50 left in the game, MSU began to hustle and worked its way 69 yards to paydirt in just seven plays to keep it close. Wooden connected with Jermaine Saffold from 12 yards out to make it a 28-20 game with 99 seconds remaining. However, the ensuing on-side kick was recovered by the visitors to hand the Bears their fourth loss this season by eight points or less.

Indiana State outgained the Bears by a 339-270 margin, but MSU had one more take-away to keep things interesting. Fouch finished 8-for-18 for 90 yards for ISU.

The Bears have split the last six meetings with the Sycamores at Memorial Stadium, including three games decided in overtime. MSU claimed a 23-20 overtime win in 2002, then escaped Terre Haute with a 27-24 OT victory to close out the 2008 campaign. The Sycamores pulled out a 38-35 decision in extra time to start their current two-game win streak in the series in the two teams' last meeting at Memorial on Oct. 16, 2010. The Bears hold a 16-10 overall lead in the series, but are looking to even their all-time ledger in Terre Haute, which they trail 7-6, dating back to the 1986 season.

Ryan Heaston (Fr., RB, Cordova, Tenn.) MSU freshman RB Ryan Heaston is rewriting the Bears' freshman records by the week. The Cordova, Tenn., native became the first Bears' freshman since 1977 to secure back-to-back 100-yard rushing games when he tallied 148 yards on the ground at No. 25 South Dakota State on Saturday. He is just one 100-yard game away from tying the Bears' single-season freshman record and just 297 rushing yards away from breaking Kingjack Washington's single-season mark (674) set in 2007. He is also just 23 ground yards away from 400 for the season, which would make him the first MSU newbie to do so since Mikael Cooper-Falls (Jr., RB, Springfield, Mo.) in 2009.

The previous week, Heaston became the first MSU freshman to rush for 100 yards since 2007 when he notched his first career 100-yard effort against SIU (Sept. 22). 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 has racked up a total of 336 all-purpose yards in the Bears' last two contests.

The Bears' 198 yards allowed against Southern Illinois (Sept. 22) 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. Over the Bears' initial two-game homestand, the MSU defense limited the opposition to an average of 298.5 yards of total offense per game and forced 21 punts to help the Bears outgain Murray State and Southern Illinois by an average of 103 yards per game (401.5 to 298.5).

Additionally, the Bears' forced a season-high five turnovers in Saturday's 17-7 setback at South Dakota State, more than doubling their season total of four takeaways coming into the game. MSU's three interceptions versus the Jackrabbits were its first of the season and matched the 2011 club's interception total for the entire year.

Sybhrian Berry (Jr., CB, Camden, Ark.) came off the bench to snag a pair of interceptions for the Bears against No. 25 South Dakota State Saturday in Brookings, including one in the endzone in the second half to dash a potential SDSU touchdown. His efforts contributed to a season-high five takeaways by the Missouri State defense which held a high-powered SDSU rushing attack to just 194 yards on the ground. Berry became just the fourth MSU player in the Terry Allen era to snag two picks in a single game (first since Jimmie Strong in 2010), and matched the fifth-best single-game interception total in program history.

Bears' sophomore Mike Crutcher (So., S, Wentzville, Mo.) had an interception, a forced fumble and seven first-half tackles at South Dakota State before leaving the game late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Crutcher returned in the second half and added two more defensive stops to finish the game with nine total tackles, including eight solo stops.



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