Bears Return Home for League Opener Against Western Illinois
MISSOURI STATE BEARS (1-2, 0-0)
vs. #21 Western Illinois Leathernecks (2-2, 0-1)
Saturday, October 4, 2008 - Plaster Stadium, Springfield, Mo. (16,300) - 2 p.m.
Television - Mediacom Connections (delayed) and BEARS LIVE!
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - WESTERN ILLINOIS - MVFC WEEKLY RELEASE
Tickets - Missouri State Ticket Office
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Game Overview: Missouri State will begin Missouri Valley Football Conference play on Saturday, October 4, when the Bears host 21st-ranked Western Illinois at Plaster Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Family Weekend at MSU.
Prior to a weekend off, the Bears defeated in-state rival Southeast Missouri State, 45-28, on September 20. In that game, Missouri State collected three first-half interceptions and tallied 314 yards total offense overall to overtake the Redhawks in a non-conference shootout. The Bears were led by Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) who had 195 passing yards on 20-of-27 attempts while Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) had 58 rushing yards. Tony Randolph (So., LB, Blue Springs, Mo.) had 13 tackles for Missouri State to lead the defense, while Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.), Chris Farrar (Sr., CB, St. Louis, Mo.), Chris Miller (Sr., CB, Blue Springs, Mo.) and Cedric Alvis (Jr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) also added interceptions for the Bears. Alvis and Farrar returned their picks for touchdowns. Also noteworthy was Clay Harbor’s effort as he matched a career high with seven receptions, caught a pass for the 14th straight game, and grabbed his sixth career touchdown reception in the third quarter. The SEMO game was Missouri State’s only night game of the 2008 season.
Missouri State and Western Illinois both were idle last weekend. WIU is coming off a 34-14 home win over Stephen F. Austin on September 20. In that game, senior Herb Donaldson rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns while Western Illinois racked up 539 yards of total offense.
MSU and WIU have split the last four meetings with the Leathernecks prevailing 31-10 on October 13, 2007 in Macomb. The home team has won the past five meetings in the series, and Missouri State is 5-7-1 at Plaster all-time against Western Illinois.
The last time Missouri State won its conference opener was on October 2, 2004 when the Bears topped Western Illinois, 36-31, at Plaster Field. MSU has lost three conference openers since, including last year’s 49-21 loss at Youngstown State.
The Bears are 427-427-40 (.500) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 192-135-11 (.584) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 60-81-1 (.426) mark in MVFC play, and 142-143-3 (.498) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level. MSU will play three of its next four games at home.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 104-75 (.581) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 9-16 (.360) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 83-40 (.675) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 8-2 all-time against the Leathernecks, including last year’s 31-10 loss in Macomb, Ill.
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 four 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.
Western Illinois Head Coach Don Patterson (Army, 1973) is 63-44 (.589) in his 10th year at WIU and overall as a head coach. He is 5-4 all-time against the Bears, including a 2-2 mark in Springfield. He needs just two more victories to become Western’s all-time winningest head football coach and one win to tie former MSU and WIU sideline boss Randy Ball as Western’s win leader. During his tenure, the Leathernecks have made three playoff appearances, won two Valley Football conference titles and achieved a No. 1 national ranking (2003).
The Series: Western Illinois leads the all-time series, 14-12-1, including a 31-10 win over the Bears last season in Macomb.
The series began in Missouri State’s final season at the Division II level (1981). Since then, the series has been virtually even with the teams splitting the last four meetings, and the home team winning the last five matchups. Western owns a pair of three-game winning streaks in the series (1986-88 and 1996-98), while MSU’s longest streak is two games, done three times, most recently from 1992-93.
Last season, the 19th-ranked Leathernecks got 314 rushing yards from junior Herb Donaldson who just missed his own school and MVFC single-game rushing record of 328 set in 2006. He had two touchdowns on the afternoon, while the Leathernecks finished with 566 total yards, 508 of them on the ground. Both Donaldson’s 314 yards and WIU’s 508 were the best opponent performances ever against MSU.
The Bears stalled inside the WIU 20 to start the final quarter when Bears’ kicker Nathan Stokes was just wide on a field goal try. That’s when WIU went to work to put the issue out of reach. Donaldson was the big gainer on an 80-yard drive that took just six plays. TB Alex Douglas covered the last 15 yards to score. The Bears’ problems compounded when they went three-and-out after receiving the next kickoff. WIU’s Anthony D’Astice broke through and blocked Stokes’s punt and then recovered the ball in the end zone. WIU’s two scores in less than half a minute made it 31-10 with 10:35 to play.
Kingjack Washington and Gerald Davis combined for 109 yards on 21 carries, while true freshman Cody Kirby was 15-for-30 for 159 yards and a touchdown. Clay Harbor caught four passes for a game-high 61 yards. Defensively, Derek Miller had a game-high 14 tackles for MSU, while Tony Randolph and Connor McDonough each recorded 10, and Jeremy Dawson had 9 stops. It was the Bears’ fifth ranked opponent in seven weeks.
Missouri State’s last win in the series came on November 11, 2006 at Plaster Field when the Bears scored a 24-21 win over the Leathernecks in the final game of Terry Allen’s inaugural campaign at MSU. Down 14-3 at the half, Tyler Horner engineered the game-winning 97-yard drive for the Bears late in the fourth quarter as RaMel McIntosh capped the nine-play scoring drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Horner completed 17-of-33 passes for 257 yards, while the team managed just 16 yards on the ground. Jeff Sargent had three receptions for 21 yards, and Chris Geisz had a pair of catches for 17 yards. Defensively, Jeremy Dawson stood out for the Bears, recording 17 total tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack. Donaldson rushed for 160 yards for the Leathernecks. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Bears.
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 along with second-year color commentator Scott Opfer. Hains first began calling Bears’ action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 29th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called Bears games from 1977-81 and returned to that post in 1985. The Western Illinois game is Art’s 302nd MSU football broadcast.
MSU football can also be heard on the 10-station, two-state Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network on the following affiliates: Ava - KKOZ (92.1 FM/1430 AM); El Dorado Springs - KESM (105.5 FM); Jefferson City - KJMO (97.5); Kansas City - KCWJ (1030 AM); Monett - KKBL (95.9 FM); Poplar Bluff - KLID (1340 AM); St. Louis - KSLG (1380 AM); Sparta, Ill. - WHC) (1230 AM); Springfield - KTXR (101.3 FM) (flagship); Willow Springs - KUKU (100.3 FM).
Television: This week’s game will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on Mediacom Connections (Channel 14 locally). Don West will provide the play-by-play description of the game, while Mike McClure will provide color commentary. This is Mediacom’s 19th year providing television coverage of the Bears. The Missouri Sports Cable Network will also show the games throughout Missouri, and the schedule is determined by each local Mediacom market.
Replay times for this week’s game are: Sunday at 1 p.m., Monday at 3 p.m., and Tuesday at 3 p.m.
On-Line: Today’s game will also be shown on Missouri State’s on-line video channel -- Bears Live! Bears Live! is a new, 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.
Live Stats of the game, and a link to the MSU Bears Football Radio Network free live audio stream can be found on the MSU Athletics Web page -- www.MissouriStateBears.com.
Last Week: Missouri State collected three first-half interceptions and tallied 314 yards total offense overall to overtake Southeast Missouri State in a Saturday night shootout in Cape Girardeau.
The Bears got on the board first with 3:46 left in the opening quarter on a 25-yard reception by senior Chris Geisz from sophomore Cody Kirby. The early touchdown strike capped a 64-yard drive that took the Bears just seven plays.
Kirby later scrambled into the endzone with 6:30 to play in the first half to make it 14-0 after Matt Hottelman's second PAT. MSU's second score of the half was set up by a key interception by Chris Miller at the Southeast 24 yard-line just five plays earlier.
Senior cornerback Chris Farrar responded on the final play of the half and returned his first career interception 47 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0 at halftime.
The Redhawks broke up the shutout at the 8:49 mark of the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown by Henry Harris that capped a 47-yard drive. However, the Bears responded on the ensuing drive, marching 78 yards on 9 plays, for their fourth touchdown of the night, a seven-yard strike from Kirby to Clay Harbor. Harbor caught three passes on the drive and matched a career high with 7 on the night.
The teams exchanged scores in the fourth quarter as Southeast scored on passing plays of 20, 22, and 36 yards. MSU responded with a 95-yard kickoff return by Brandon Oliver, a 45-yard field goal by Matt Hottelman and Cedric Alvis' 57-yard interception return with 58 seconds to play.
The Bears were led by Kirby's 195 passing yards on 20-of-27 attempts while Kingjack Washington had 58 rushing yards. Tony Randolph had 13 tackles for Missouri State to lead the defense, while Byron Hightower added 8, and Skylar Smith joined Farrar with 7 tackles apiece. Smith also added an interception for the Bears.
Honors and Accolades: Despite a roster that features 70-percent freshmen and sophomores, the Bears are loaded with well-documented individual talent. Below is a summary of league and national awards given to current Missouri State personnel:
2008 MVFC Players of the Week: Kevaughn Brown (Sr., Port Arthur, Texas) was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week on September 8 for his performance against Washburn in MSU’s season opener.
2008 Preseason All-American: Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) was named second-team preseason All-American by the College Sporting News.
2008 Preseason All-MVFC: Earning preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors this fall were Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.), Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.), and David Arkin (So., OG, Wichita, Kan.).
All-America: Then-sophomore tight end Clay Harbor (Dwight, Ill.) was named Associated Press third-team All-America and Sports Network honorable mention All-American in 2007.
2007 All-Conference: Returning players who earned postseason awards from the Missouri Valley Football Conference a year ago are: Clay Harbor (first-team All-MVFC tight end), David Arkin (second-team All-MVFC offensive lineman), Roger Wright (honorable mention All-MVFC safety).
2007 MVFC Newcomer Team: Six current Bears were on the 23-member MVFC All-Newcomer Team a year ago: David Arkin (OG), Kevaughn Brown (OT), Cody Kirby (QB), Kingjack Washington (TB), Clayton Dickehut (DE), Derek Miller (CB).
2007 MVFC Academic Team: Three current MSU players earned league academic honors in 2007: Chris Brehmer (DT, second team), Jared Emery (WR, second team), Chris Geisz (CB, honorable mention).
2007 MVFC Players of the Week: Cody Kirby was named league Offensive Player of the Week twice in 2007 (9/22 and 10/6), while the team earned four Offensive Lineman of the Week honors a year ago with David Arkin earning the award twice (9/1 and 9/22), and Seth Reichert (9/22) and Kevaughn Brown (10/6) claiming the honor once.
In the Trenches: The Bears return four of their starting five offensive linemen from 2007 in addition to All-American tight end Clay Harbor. Left tackle Kevaughn Brown (Sr., Port Arthur, Texas) and right guard David Arkin (So., Wichita, Kan.) were on the MVFC All-Newcomer team in 2007 with Arkin earning second-team all-league honors. Left guard Seth Reichert (Sr., Springfield, Mo.) and right tackle Mark Graf (Sr., St. Louis, Mo.) round out the O-Line returnees. All four players started in 11 games a year ago and combined to win the league Offensive Lineman of the Week award four times. The Missouri State starting O-Line averages 6-4, 293.
Player of the Week: The Missouri State Coors Player of the Week for the Southeast Missouri State game is junior tight end Clay Harbor (Dwight, Ill.). The second-team preseason All-American matched a career high with seven receptions in the game. His 88 receiving yards was a team high and his seven-yard TD grab from Cody Kirby with 4:43 left in the third quarter came at a pivotal point in the game for the Bears, increasing their lead to 28-7 headed into the fourth quarter.
Captains of Crunch: The five Missouri State co-captains for the 2008 season are: #13 Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.), #43 Jeremy Dawson (Sr., LB, Grandview, Mo.), #44 Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.), #76 Seth Reichert (Sr., OG, Springfield, Mo.), and #92 Chris Brehmer (Sr., DT, Rock Hill, Mo.). The quintet of four seniors and one sophomore were named to their posts by their teammates. Kirby is just the third sophomore since 1953 (Kevin Sears - 2005 and Corky Martin - 1999) to be named as Bears’ team captain.
Migration Patterns: The 85-man Missouri State roster includes players from 11 different states. More than half of the squad (48) hails from the Show-Me State, while 7 players came to MSU from Arkansas and Oklahoma. Kansas is home to 6 Bears, followed by Texas and Florida with 4 apiece. The remaining states are: California 3, Illinois 3, Georgia 1, Ohio 1, Tennessee 1.
The three team members from Illinois are brothers Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) and Cory Harbor (Sr., DE, Dwight, Ill.), along with true freshman punter Jordan Chiles (Fr., Hillsboro, Ill.). All three are Missouri State starting lineup regulars.
Teammates Again: A number of players on the 2008 roster were high school teammates as well. Leading the way are the four Bears from Grandview (Mo.) High School -- Darius Blow (Fr.), Jeremy Dawson (Sr.), Jarrett Wright (Fr.) and Roger Wright (Sr.). Jeremy Dawson and Roger Wright are two of the team’s five co-captains.
Likewise, local products Ian Starnes (Fr.) Nick Detelich (Fr.) and Seth Reichert (Sr.) all attended Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo.
Fellow Springfield natives Austin Etter (Fr.) Skylar Smith (So.) and Andrew Watts (Jr.) all attended Kickapoo High School together.
Lastly, three of the four Bears from Columbia, Mo., attended Rock Bridge High School. Former Bruins Jake Morse (Fr.), Johnny Wacker (Fr.) and Chase Mejia (Fr.) all played for Coach A.J. Ofodile.
Leading the League: MSU currently ranks fourth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in rushing yards per game (154.7), scoring offense (28.3), turnover margin (+0.67), and sacks allowed (1.67). MSU is also in the league’s upper division in kickoff returns (23.24), ranking second.
In the other key categories, the Bears rank seventh in the league in passing offense (159.7), sixth in total offense (314.3). They rank ninth in total defense (463.7), eighth in rushing defense (236.7) and fifth in passing defense (227.0).
Last season, Missouri State’s offense averaged 36.3 points and 414.3 yards, ranking second and third, respectively, in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in those categories. The Bears were also third in the league in passing offense (211.4) and fourth in rushing offense (202.9). The team also averaged 20.7 yards per kickoff return to rank fourth.
Individually, Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) ranks seventh in the MVFC in rushing (67.3), fifth in total offense (67.3), and eighth in all-purpose yards (102.3). Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is fifth in the MVFC in total offense (186.3) and seventh in passing efficiency (115.36). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) leads the league in field goals per game (1.7) and is fourth in scoring (8.3). Tony Randolph (Jr., LB, Blue Springs, Mo.) ranks fourth in the conference in tackles (9.33), while Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.) is eighth in the league in tackles (8.33). Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) and Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) are also among the league leaders, ranking in a second and fourth, respectively, in kickoff return yards.
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 38th nationally in the Division I FCS in rushing yards per game with 154.7. The team also ranks 42nd in scoring offense, collecting 28.3 points per game. MSU is also in the top 50 in kickoff returns (18th), turnover margin (38th) and sacks allowed per game (50th).
Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is fifth nationally in field goals per game (1.67) and is 34th in scoring at 8.33 points per game. Hottelman led the nation in field goals per game the previous two weeks. With his 95-yard touchdown return at SEMO, Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) jumped to fifth in the nation in kickoff return average (37.5).
Starting Lineups: The Bears return 15 regular starters from 2007, including six offensive returnees and nine defensive regulars.
On the offensive side, linemen Kevaughn Brown (LT), Seth Reichert (LG), David Arkin (RG) and Mark Graf (RT) each started 11 times in 2007, while All-American tight end Clay Harbor (TE) saw 10 starts and quarterback Cody Kirby saw eight.
Defensive starters Connor McDonough (LE), Chris Brehmer (LT), Mike Taylor (RT), Clayton Dickethut (RE), Tony Randolph (LB), Jeremy Dawson (LB), Chris Farrar (CB), Roger Wright (SS), and Derek Miller (FS) also return. All told, the Bears have 12 offensive players and 13 defensive players who have combined to start 208 career ball games going into this season.
Lee National Denim Day: In conjunction with today’s game, Missouri State is sponsoring a Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Plaster Field. Upon entering the stadium, fans will be greeted by Missouri State University personnel accepting donations for this cause. These MSU personnel are involved in the Staff Senate Denim Day Committee working to fight Breast Cancer. This University-wide initiative involves Lee National Denim Day, one of the largest single-day fundraisers in the fight against breast cancer. Missouri State in participating in Lee National Denim Day because it empowers everyone to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. All the monies raised from this event goes to fight Breast Cancer, and 75 percent of the monies stay in the Ozarks.
Up Next: The Bears continue a two-game home stand when they host Youngstown State (2-2) on Saturday, October 11 for Homecoming 2008 -- "Becoming Legends, Living the Legacy." Game time is 1:30 p.m.
For a complete schedule of Homecoming events, ticket information and other details, go directly to www.MissouriState.edu/Homecoming.htm.
The Bears are 1-11 all-time against Youngstown State, with the team’s only win being a 34-28 victory in Springfield in 2004.