Bears Continue Home Stand with Homecoming Game vs. Youngstown
Saturday, October 11, 2008 - Plaster Stadium, Springfield, Mo. (16,300) - 1:30 p.m. - Homecoming 2008
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 - YOUNGSTOWN STATE - VALLEY FOOTBALL
Tickets - Missouri State Ticket Office
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Game Overview: Missouri State continues its two-game home stand on Saturday, October 11, when the Bears host Youngstown State at Plaster Field for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff on Homecoming at MSU.
The Bears are coming off a 33-21 loss to Western Illinois in their league opener last weekend at Plaster on Family Weekend. The Bears held tough, trailing 20-14 midway through the fourth quarter before WIU’s Herb Donaldson took over with a pair of late touchdowns to cap a 273-yard, four-touchdown day for the senior running back. Western finished with 459 rushing yards, while the Bears got 352 yards total offense, including 246 passing yards from Cody Kirby. Justin Fuselier had a career-high 5 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown, while Chase Mejia’s five catches were good for 45 yards. Chris Geisz and Brandon Oliver also had receiving touchdowns for the Bears. Defensively, Byron Hightower had a career high 17 tackles, while Jeremy Dawson added 10, and Roger Wright had nine stops.
Youngstown State is coming off a 14-7 loss at Southern Utah in nonconference action. A 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter secured the win for the Thunderbirds. YSU quarterback Paul Corsaro was 10-of-21 for 97 yards, while Brandon Summers was 4-of-7 for 56 yards and an interception. Summers ran for 20 yards before leaving the game. YSU finished with 323 yards of total offense, 170 on the ground.
Saturday’s game is the focal point of Homecoming 2008 - "Becoming Legends - Living the Legacy." Missouri State has won two of its last three Homecoming games, including last season’s 63-7 win over Indiana State and a 31-27 win in 2005 against ISU. Since 1967, the Bears are 21-20 on Homecoming including a run of seven straight homecoming wins from 1987-1993. MSU is 1-1 on Homecoming under Terry Allen and 13-13 in the Division I era.
For a complete Homecoming schedule of events, parade route and other information, please go to: www.alumni.missouristate.edu/Homecoming.htm.
The Bears are 427-428-40 (.499) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 192-136-11 (.583) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 60-82-1 (.423) mark in MVFC play, and 142-144-3 (.497) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level. MSU will play two of its next three games at home.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 104-76 (.578) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 9-17 (.346) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 83-41 (.669) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 1-3 all-time against the Penguins, including an 0-2 mark at MSU. He is also 1-1 in Homecoming games as the MSU head coach.
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.
YSU Head Coach Jon Heacock (Muskingum, 1983) is 52-35 (.598) overall and 28-22 in the MVFC in his eighth season as Youngstown State head coach and overall. He is 6-1 all-time against the Bears and 2-1 at Plaster Field. Heacock served as defensive coordinator for the Penguins from 1991-96 as part of three national championship teams, took over the same role for the 2000 season and became head coach at YSU in 2001.
The Series: Youngstown State leads the all-time series, 11-1, including a 49-21 win over the Bears last season in Yioungstown, Ohio.
The series began in 1996, the year prior to Youngstown joining the Gateway Conference. The Bears are 1-5 at home against YSU, 0-6 on the road against the Penguins and 1-10 in MVFC league play.
The lone Missouri State victory in the series took place on November 13, 2004 with MSU securing a 34-28 win in Springfield in the season finale for both teams. Since then, Youngstown State has reeled off three straight wins by a combined 117-38 margin.
The only Bear to ever record a 100-yard rushing game against YSU is Cody Pratt (2004). However, several Bears’ quarterbacks have had big days against the Penguins over the years, including Derek Jansen (224, 1998), Jay Rodgers (242, 1999), Austin Moherman (221, 2000 and 326, 2001). The Bears have also had four 100-yard receivers in games against YSU, most recently by Sean Adams (127) and Mark Marcos (103) in 2001.
Last season, the Penguins overcame an early 7-0 Bears lead with a run of four unanswered touchdowns en route to a 49-21 victory at Stambaugh Stadium. Kevin Smith carried 15 times for 102 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Penguins’ attack, which tallied 304 rushing yards on the afternoon.
The catalyst for the Bears was then-freshman Cody Kirby who passed for one touchdown and ran for another while rolling up 183 passing yards and 207 yards total offense. Gerald Davis was the Bears’ top rusher, carrying eight times for 65 yards, while returnee Stephen Johnston had six carries for 27 yards, and Kingjack Washington had a pair of carries and three yards. Clay Harbor is the only returnee to have a reception in the game, pulling in three grabs for 59 yards in the game.
Defensively, the Bears return six of the top eight tacklers form last year’s game, including including Sam Block (9), Derek Miller (8), Tony Randolph (7), Roger Wright (6), Jeremy Dawson (5) and Chris Farrar (4).
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 Cable Sports 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: TBA.
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: Western Illinois used a steady diet of smash-mouth football to accumulate 459 rushing yards and took advantage of several first-half mistakes by the homestanding Bears to secure a 33-21 win at Plaster Field in Springfield in MSU's Missouri Valley Football Conference opener.
After fumbling a punt inside their own 25 yard line, Missouri State fell behind early in the first quarter when WIU's Herb Donaldson turned the mistake into six points on a 15-yard touchdown run three plays later.
The Bears were able to drive inside the Leathernecks' five yard line midway late in the first quarter, marching 76 yards to the WIU four yard line before a Tyler Carey interception in the endzone gave WIU the ball back. Nine plays later, Donaldson scored again on a 38-yard run to build Western's lead to 13-0.
Dre Gibbs tacked on a 41-yard touchdown run with 3:21 left in the second quarter to make it 20-0 at half. The two Missouri State turnovers in the first half led to 14 Western points. Gibbs finished with 126 rushing yards on nine carries.
The Bears came out of the locker room in the third quarter and struck quickly, holding WIU to three-and-out on its first possession before Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) hit Justin Fuselier (So., WR, Tulsa, Okla.) on the team’s first play of the half with a 67-yard touchdown strike to make it 20-7. Fuselier finished with a career-best five catches for 92 yards.
On the next possession, Western drove to the MSU 15 when Cedric Alvis (Jr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the ball back to Missouri State. Kirby then engineered an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing series, capped by a 7-yard TD stroke to Brandon Oliver (So., WR., Arlington, Texas). Matt Hottelman's (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo). added his second second PAT of the afternoon to make it 20-14.
However, MSU's comeback hopes took a significant hit on the next WIU drive. Donaldson capped a 57-yard march at the 7:34 mark of the fourth quarter on a four-yard touchdown carry to help the Leathernecks expand their lead to double-digits, 26-14. WIU later extended that advantage to 33-14 on another four-yard touchdown carry by Donaldson soon after.
Donaldson, who finished with 273 yards, became just the second Bears' opponent to score four touchdowns at Plaster Field, joining Pierre Rembert of Illinois State who had six against the Bears on November 5, 2005. WIU's rushing total was the most against the Bears this season.
MSU scored the game's final points, when Kirby hit Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.) from 16 yards out to make the final score, 33-21. It was Geisz's third touchdown catch of the year.
Kirby finished with 246 passing yards, the fifth 200-yard game of his career, on 20-for-34 passing. Stephen Johnston (So., TB, Arlington, Texas) led the Bears' rushing stats with a pair of carries for 73 yards, including a 70-yard dash in the first quarter, the team's longest since Sept. 3, 2005. Byron Hightower, Jr. (So., LB, Raytown, Mo.) led the defense with a career-high 17 tackles, and Jeremy Dawson (Sr., LB, Grandview, Mo.) forced a fumble and had 10 tackles.
The crowd of 13,020 was the largest Plaster Field gathering since October 23, 2004 when the Bears played Southern Illinois on homecoming.
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 theWestern Illinois game is sophomore linebacker Byron Hightower, Jr. (Raytown, Mo.). recorded a game-high 17 tackles in the Bear’s 33-21 loss to Western Illinois at Plaster Field. Starting at middle linebacker for just the second time in his career, he tallied four solo and 13 assisted tackles, including one tackle for loss and one pass break-up against the Leathernecks, nearly doubling his career tackle total.
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 lone Bear from Ohio is junior backup quarterback Tyler Horner (Dayton, Ohio / Northmont High School) who has four starts and four 200-yard passing games for the Bears.
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 second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in kickoff returns (23.20), fourth in passing offense (181.25), and fourth in pass defense (185.50).
In the other key categories, the Bears rank sixth in rushing offense (142.5), sixth in total offense (323.75) and sixth in scoring (26.5). They eighth in scoring defense (38.25), ninth in total defense (477.75) and ninth in rushing defense (292.25).
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, Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) and Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) rank first and third, respectively in kickoff return yards. Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is fourth in the MVFC in total offense (197.0). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is second in the league in field goals per game (1.25) and is seventh in scoring (7.0). Byron Hightower, Jr. (So., LB, Raytown, Mo.) catapulted into the third spot in tackles per game (9.67), while Skylar Smith (So., S., Springfield, Mo.) is ninth in tackles (8.25).
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 18th nationally in the Division I FCS in kickoff returns (23.2) and 39th in pass defense (185.5). The team also ranks 52nd in pass efficiency defense (124.24), 52nd in turnover margin (+0.25), 53rd in net punting (32.96), 54th in scoring (26.5) and 55th in rushing (142.5), despite not having had a 100-yard rusher this season.
Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is second nationally in kickoff returns (42.0), while Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) is 30th in kickoff returns (25.4). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) dropped to 21st in field goals per game (1.25) after leading the nation in field goals per game two of the past four weeks. Byron Hightower, Jr., (So., LB, Raytown, Mo.) is 31st nationally in tackles per game, despite having made just two starts this season.
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.
Jeremy Dawson (LB) and Chris Farrar (CB) are the Bears’ active leaders in games started with 19. Both made their 20th career starts against Western Illinois.
Cody Kirby needs . . . 21 passing yards for 2500 . . . 1 passing touchdown for 20 . . . 1 rushing touchdown for 10 . . . 36 passing attempts for 400.
Kingjack Washington needs . . . 52 rushing yards for 1000.
Clay Harbor needs 140 receiving yards for 1000.
Chris Geisz nees 36 receiving yards for 500.
Tyler Horner needs 3 passing yards for 1000 . . . . 8 rushing yards for 100 . . . 14 completions for 100.
Jeremy Dawson needs . . . 3 tackles for 100.
Derek Miller needs 11 tackles for 100.
Up Next: The Bears return to the road on October 18 with a 2 p.m. game at Illinois State. The Bears defeated the Redbirds, 58-41 last year in Springfield and trail the all-time series 13-14-1. The next home game for MSU is October 25 against long-time rival Southern Illinois in a regionally-televised game at 1:30 p.m. on FSN Midwest. The Bears lead the all-time series 16-14 against the Salukis.