In last week’s game at No. 4 North Dakota State, the Bears put up a season-best 6.7 yards per play after compiling 363 total yards on 54 snaps. It was just the second time in 2011 that MSU eclipsed 300 yards in total offense (411 at Eastern Kentucky). Likewise, Trevor Wooden (So., QB, High Springs, Fla.) set a season-high with 7.3 yards per pass after collecting 222 yards on 25 pass plays against the Bison.
The Bears have converted 75-percent of their red-zone opportunities this season, scoring nine times in 12 trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. MSU has eight touchdowns and a field goal to show for their red-zone trips to go with one turnover on downs and two ends of halves. MSU opponents are 28-for-33 (85 percent) in the red zone with 21 touchdowns, seven field goals, three missed field goals and two turnovers on downs.
Today’s game features two of the most-efficient passers in the FCS ranks in MSU’s Trevor Wooden (So., QB, High Springs, Fla.) and WIU junior Josh Hudson. Wooden ranks 19th nationally in pass efficiency (152.38), while Hudson ranks 18th (152.60). The tandem also rank fifth and fourth, respecitvely, in the MVFC.
Two MSU defenders are closing in on 100 career tackles. In just 15 games, Nick Canavan (So., OLB, Norman, Okla.) now needs 13 total tackles to reach the century mark, while Jimmie Strong (Sr., CB, Texarkana, Texas) needs 2 stops to reach 100. Strong is also MSU’s active leader in interceptions with 6.
Trevor Wooden (So., QB, High Springs, Fla.) has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of his six career starts with three passing efforts over 200 yards and two games with 250 or more yards in total offense. He is on pace to break the MSU single-season record for pass completion percentage (currently at .648) for all QBs with 100 or more pass attempts.
Last week at NDSU, Jermaine Saffold (Sr., WR, Grandview, Mo.) caught his 100th career pass, making him the ninth MSU player to do so. Saffold now needs just 140 receiving yards to catch Steve Newbold (1977-80) as the club’s all-time leader in reception yardage. Likewise, his 14 career TD receptions is four shy of the MSU career record (18), held by Newbold and Jeff Hewitt (1998-2000). In this week’s NCAA rankings, Saffold is 30th in receiving yards per game (77.43).
With 208 career punts, senior Jordan Chiles (Hillsboro, Ill.) is second on the MSU all-time list, just 31 behind Warren Baker (1968-71) with 239. Chiles also ranks No. 2 all-time in punt yardage (8,206), No. 5 in punt average (39.5), and has three of the seven longest punts in school history (75-72-72). His 2011 season punting average of 42.2 ranks No. 2 in the MVFC and is 16th in this week’s NCAA FCS rankings. His 46 punts is tied for fifth-most nationally.
The Bears are 0-7 for the first time since 1969 when the club finished 0-10 in coach Don Cross’ debut season at Missouri State. Likewise, no Terry Allen-coached team -- at UNI, Kansas or Missouri State -- has ever opened the season with more than two straight losses. MSU has not dropped eight straight games since 2006, Allen’s first year at MSU, when the Bears lost eight in a row from Sept. 16 to Nov. 4 after a 1-1 start.
Western Illinois receiver Terriun Crump leads the MVFC and ranks No. 5 nationally in receiving yards per game (112.67). Last year, Crump caught four passes for 67 yards against the Bears.
Chris Douglas (Sr., RB, Lawrenceville, Ga.) needs just 69 all-purpose yards (rushing, receiving, returns) to reach the 2,000-yard milestone for his career. He is also 312 rushing yards shy of 2,000 for his three-year MSU career, which would make him 11th MSU player to achieve that feat, a particularly amazing one considering he has started just 2 games at MSU.
BONUS Western Illinois ranks 118th out of 120 FCS teams in sacks allowed, surrendering 4.5 sacks per contest.