Grid Bears Head to Illinois State for Saturday Afternoon Showdown
Missouri State (2-3, 1-1) at Illinois State (2-3, 1-1)
Saturday, October 18, 2008 - Hancock Stadium, Normal, Ill. (15,000) - 2 p.m.
Television - BEARS LIVE! and Mediacom (Channel 14)
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - ILLINOIS STATE - VALLEY FOOTBALL
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Game Overview: Missouri State reaches the midway point in its 2008 campaign Saturday when it travels to Normal, Ill., to do battle with the Redbirds of Illinois State for a 2 p.m. kickoff at Hancock Stadium (15,000).
The Bears are coming off a 42-28 Homecoming win over Youngstown State at Plaster Field last Saturday to claim their first Missouri Valley Football Conference win of the season and even their conference ledger at 1-1. Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) carried 23 times for 133 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bears’ offensive attack that saw MSU roll up 399 yards total offense and score five rushing touchdowns. Stephen Johnston (So., TB, Arlington, Texas) also had a career high with with 13 carries for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cody Kirby accounted for 183 yards total offense, including two rushing touchdowns and a career-best 56 ground yards to go with 11-for-14 passing for 127 and a touchdown. Defensively, the Bears collected eight tackles for loss and got a dozen tackles from Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) and 11 apiece by linebackers Jeremy Dawson (Sr., Grandview, Mo.) and Tony Randolph (So., Blue Springs, Mo.). Dawson sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter with an interception on Youngstown State’s final drive.
Illinois State (2-3, 1-1 MVFC) was on the short end of a 31-17 decision at Northern Iowa last weekend, falling short on a pair of fourth-down conversions in the second half that stalled critical drives against the No. 8 Panthers. Kevin Brockway was 24-for-41 for 202 yards and a pair of interceptions for the Redbirds, including seven completions to Eyad Salem. Parrish Fisher (75 yards) and Geno Blow (64) combined for 139 yards on 29 carries to lead the Illinois State backfield. Kelvyn Hemphill led the Redbirds’ defense with 12 tackles, including seven solo stops.
Illinois State leads the all-time series, 14-13-1, with the Bears prevailing 58-41 in Springfield last season on the heels of five straight Redbird victories in the series from 2002-2006.
The Bears are 428-428-40 (.500) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 193-136-11 (.584) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 61-82-1 (.427) mark in MVFC play, and 143-144-3 (.498) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 105-76 (.580) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 10-17 (.370) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 84-41 (.672) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 8-3 all-time against the Redbirds, including an 1-1 mark at MSU. Allen’s Missouri State teams are 2-10 in road games, but are 1-1 on the road this season.
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.
Illinois State Head Coach Denver Johnson (Tulsa, 1981) is 68-61 (.512) in 12 seasons overall and 47-49 (.490) in his ninth year at Illinois State. He is 27-29 (.482) in the MVFC and 6-2 all-time against the Bears, including a 4-0 mark at home. He was 21-12 in three seasons at Murray State University out of the Ohio Valley Conference, posting three straight 7-4 seasons with the Racers from 1997-1999.
The Series: Illinois State leads the all-time series, 14-13-1. However, since Missouri State’s move to the NCAA Division I FCS level in 1982, the Bears are 13-10-1 against the Redbirds.
The only shutout in the series took place in 1974 when the Redbirds scored a 28-0 win over the Bears during MSU’s Division II era.
The series scoring is nearly even with the Redbirds owning a slight 27.0 to 26.0 scoring average per game. Despite losing five straight games in the series from 2002-2006, MSU averaged 27.2 points per game during that span.
The Bears are 6-8 all-time in Normal, including a 38-14 loss in their last trip to Hancock Stadium on November 4, 2006.
On their last trip to Normal, the Bears dropped a 38-14 decision despite freshman Tyler Horner’s 230 passing yards and 23 completions in 37 attempts. Chris Geisz had four receptions for 38 yards. The Bears fell behind 35-0 before a pair of fourth-quarter Bears’ touchdowns broke up the shutout. Illinois State had 527 yards total offense in the game, compared to the Bears’ 366. It was the Redbirds’ fourth straight win in the series.
Last season in a shootout in Springfield, the Bears jumped out to a 17-0 lead against the 22nd-ranked Redbirds before ISU reeled off four straight touchdowns to take a 28-17 lead. However, the Bears would rely on the arm of freshman Cody Kirby to guide them to victory as he passed for 277 yards and four touchdowns to help the Bears to a 58-41 comeback win.
Clay Harbor had a game-high six receptions for 79 yards, while Jared Emery pulled in three catches for 18 yards. Kingjack Washington carried 12 times for 95 yards and also caught a 43-yard touchdown pass to give him two scores on the afternoon. Brandon Oliver also had one reception for eight yards.
Defensively, the Bears got a game-high 15 tackles from Jeremy Dawson, while Tony Randolph added 14, Derek Miller had 13 stops, and Connor McDonough collected 12 total tackles. Clayton Dickehut added an interception for the Bears in the game, while Chris Farrar had eight tackles, and Roger Wright contributed seven total stops on the defensive side.
The regionally-televised contest featured 14 touchdowns, 99 points, 498 rushing yards, 440 passing yards and 938 total yards in the highest-scoring game ever in the series.
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 Illinois State game is Art’s 304th 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).
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: Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) rushed for a career high 133 yards, and the Bears collected five rushing touchdowns to defeat Youngstown State, 42-28, in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at Plaster Field, improving the Bears’ record to 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
It was Missouri State's third homecoming victory in four years and just the team's second win in 13 meetings with Youngstown State.
After first-half rushing touchdowns by Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) and Stephen Johnston (So., TB, Arlington, Texas) gave the Bears an early 14-0 lead, Youngstown State tied the game just before the half, 14-14, marching 99 yards on the Penguins’ last drive of the half.
Kirby was 6-for-7 for 35 yards in the first 30 minutes, pushing him over the 2,500 yard mark for his career and making him the youngest Bears' signal caller to achieve that milestone.
In the second half, the Bears recaptured the lead for good on Johnston's 38-yard run with 11:58 left in the third quarter, capping a 67-yard touchdown drive. On MSU's next possession, Kirby culminated a 16-play, 80-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run to build MSU's lead to 28-14.
YSU (2-5, 1-2) got a one-yard touchdown run from Jabari Scott with 29 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 28-21. Scott finished with 97 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Penguins.
However, the Bears answered again, marching 59 yards in just over two-and-a-half minutes, when Jeff Sargent made a physical catch and run from 12 yards out for his first career touchdown on a pass from Kirby. The touchdown drive was the third in three possessions for MSU.
After the teams exchanged fourth-quarter punts, Washington scored a touchdown from eight yards out to build the Bears lead to 42-21 late in the final period. He finished with career highs in carries (23) and yards (133). Earlier in the game, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for his career, making him the fourth MSU sophomore to reach that milestone. Johnston also had a career high with 87 yards on 13 carries.
Scott scored his third touchdown of the game for the Penguins on an 11-yard pass reception at the 2:00 mark. YSU recovered the ensuing onside kick, but MSU senior Jeremy Dawson (Sr., LB, Grandview, Mo.) came up with an interception on the MSU 40 with 1:04 left to seal the win.
Kirby finished with 127 yards on 11-for-14 passing and 183 yards total offense.
The Bears got 12 tackles from Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.), including 2.5 tackles for loss and one pass break-up, while Tony Randolph (So., LB, Blue Springs, Mo.) and Dawson added 11 tackles apiece. The eight tackles for loss for the MSU defensive unit were a season high.
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 Offensive Lineman 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 MVFC Defensive Player of the Week: Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) was named as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week after his 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Bears’ home win over Youngstown State on October 11.
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.).
2007 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 MSU starting O-Line averages 6-4, 293.
Player of the Week: The Missouri State Coors Player of the Week for theYoungstown State game is sophomore tailback Kingjack Washington (Owasso, Okla.) who posted career highs with 23 carries and 133 yards with a touchdown in Missouri State's 42-28 win over Youngstown State. It was the second 100-yard game of his young career. He also became just the fourth MSU sophomore to reach the 1,000-yard career rushing plateau.
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 Illinois players are regulars in the Missouri State starting lineup.
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.
Three of the four Bears from Columbia, Mo., attended Rock Bridge High. 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 sacks allowed (1.40), third in kickoff returns (20.96) and fourth in passing defense (174.60) and defensive passing efficiency (124.58).
In the other key categories, the Bears rank sixth in rushing offense (168.40), passing offense (170.40) and total offense (388.80) and fifth in scoring (29.60). They are eighth in scoring defense (36.20), ninth in total defense (462.0) and ninth in rushing defense (287.40).
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) a year ago. The team also averaged 20.7 yards per kickoff return to rank fourth in 2007.
Individually, Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is second in the league kickoff return yards (31.12). Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is fourth in the MVFC in total offense (194.20) and sixth in passing efficiency (129.12). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is tied for fourth the league in field goals per game (1.0) and is ninth in scoring (6.8). Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) ranks sixth in the conference in all-purpose yards (99.40). Byron Hightower, Jr. (So., LB, Raytown, Mo.) is tied for sixth in tackles per game (8.50), while Tony Randolph (So., LB., Blue Springs, Mo.) and Jeremy Dawson (Sr., LB, Grandview, Mo.) are tied for eighth (8.40).
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 30th nationally in the Division I FCS in pass defense, giving up just 174.6 yards per game and 49th in passing efficiency defense (124.58). The team is tied for 32nd in punt returns (12.25) and dropped from 18th to 40th in kickoff returns (20.96) since last week. MSU is also 34th in the nation in rushing offense (168.4), 39th in scoring offense (29.6), and 41st in sacks allowed (1.40).
Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is now seventh nationally in kickoff returns (31.12), while Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) is now 48th in rushing (77.6). Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is 51st in passing efficiency (129.12) and 72nd in total offense.
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.
Seniors Jeremy Dawson (LB) and Chris Farrar (CB) are the Bears’ active leaders in games started with 21. . . Nine Bears have started every game in 2007 and 2008 (16 games in a row).
Cody Kirby needs . . . 22 passing attempts for 400 . . . 59 yards for 3000 total offense . . . 1 touchdown pass to move into a tie for second place on the consecutive games with a touchdown pass list (He has six in a row . . . MSU record is 10).
Clay Harbor needs . . . 87 receiving yards for 1000.
Tyler Horner needs . . . 3 passing yards for 1000 . . . . 8 rushing yards for 100 . . . 14 completions for 100.
Derek Miller needs . . . 6 tackles for 100.
Up Next: The Bears return home on October 25 for a 1:30 p.m. Missouri Valley Football Conference game against Southern Illinois in a regionally-televised game on FSN Midwest. The Bears lead the all-time series 16-14 against the Salukis. SIU has won the last five meetings, including a 45-10 decision a year ago in Carbondale.