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Bears Look to Take Winning Ways Indoors at NDSU



Missouri State Bears (4-3, 2-2)

at North Dakota State (1-6, 0-4)

Oct. 24, 2009, 6:00 p.m.

FargoDome (18,700/AstroTurf), Fargo, N.D.



Today's Game:  Missouri State concludes a two-game road swing this Saturday when it makes its first-ever trip to the FargoDome (18,700) to take on North Dakota State (1-6, 0-4) in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at 6 p.m. The game is featured as NDSU's annual Harvest Bowl contest.  Missouri State is 2-13 all-time indoors with all 15 games being played at Northern Iowa's UNI-Dome.

 Last week, the Bears overcame an early 16-point deficit to secure a 17-16 win at Western Illinois and win their second straight conference road game. The Bears got a career-best performance from Jr., QB Cody Kirby (Rogers, Ark.) who finished with 341 passing yards, including 126 yards in the fourth quarter. All-America tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.) also had a stellar day, matching his all-time high with eight receptions for a career-best 171 receiving yards to earn MVFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Matt Hottelman (Sr., K, O'Fallon, Mo.) was named MVFC Special Teams Player of the Week after making a game-winning 37-yard field goal with 36 seconds on the clock.

 The Bison are coming off a 28-13 loss at No. 14 South Dakota State on Saturday as they dropped their fourth straight game. Nick Mertens passed for two touchdowns and 130 yards for North Dakota State, while D.J. McNorton finished with 57 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving, including a 22-yard TD catch on the opening drive. The Bison were held to only 51 yards of total offense in the second half by the South Dakota State defense.

 The Bears are looking to pick up their third road win for a second straight season, something MSU has not done since its back-to-back playoff seasons in 1989 and 1990.  This will be Missouri State's first-ever trip to the FargoDome and first-ever game in the state of North Dakota.

 This season, the Bears are 4-3 overall, 2-2 at Plaster Field, 2-1 on the road, and 2-2 in MVFC play (2-0 on road). Overall, Missouri State is 436-437-39 (.499) in 98 seasons all-time, including a 194-144-12 (.571) record in 68 seasons at Plaster Field, 66-88-1 (.427) mark in MVFC play, and 149-151-3 (.496) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

The Series: The only previous meeting between the two schools took place on Nov. 15, 2008 at Plaster Field in Springfield. After the Bears pulled within 34-27 with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby to Chris Geisz, the Bison scored on the game's very next play on an 80-yard touchdown run from scrimmage by Tyler Roehl to put the game away in a 48-27 NDSU win.

 MSU surrendered 354 rushing yards in the game, but Kirby completed 15-of-28 passes for 217 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Matt Hottelman also had a big day with two field goals (44, 22) and three PATs. Clay Harbor's eight receptions for 113 yards was a career high at the time.  For NDSU, Roehl finished with 21 carries for 188 yards, while Pat Paschall carried 10 times for 87 yards. Nick Mertens completed 8-of-10 passes for 108 yards in the game as the No. 25 Bison improved to 6-4 overall.

The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1979) is 111-83 (.572) overall in his 17th season as a head coach.  Allen is  16-24 (.400) in his fourth season at Missouri State.  He is also 88-47 (.651) in Missouri Valley Football Conference games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96).  Allen is 0-1 all-time against North Dakota State.

 With the Bears, Allen is 10-11 at home, 6-13 away, 8-17 in conference play (4-9 at home), 8-7 in non-conference games (6-2 at home), 1-0 in overtime, 0-1 in shutouts, and 8-8 in games decided by 10 points or less.

 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 five 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.

 NDSU head coach Craig Bohl is 50-23 in seven seasons at North Dakota State and overall.  He is 1-0 all-time against Missouri State, 1-0 against Terry Allen, and 30-7 at the FargoDome.

First and Ten:  Ten Missouri state quick hits relating to today's game:

  • Cody Kirby has started 26 straight games at quarterback for the Bears. As a starter, he is 12-14 overall and 5-7 on the road. His 341-yard performance at Western Illinois was his first career 300-yard game, but the 12th 200+ yard outing of his career and, fourth this season, and third in a row. 
  • Kirby has posted career highs in passing yards each of the past two weeks with his 288-yard outing against South Dakota State and 341 yards at Western Illinois. He needs 3 touchdown passes to tie the MSU career record (36).
  • The Bears have won five of their last seven road games against NCAA Division I FCS opponents.
  • Missouri State has scored 17 points their last three games in a row. The last time MSU scored the same point total in three straight contests was 1960 when the Bears were held scoreless in their first four ball games.
  • The Bears have no players from the state of North Dakota, although the Bison boast two players from the Show-Me State: Pat Paschall (Sr., RB, St. Louis -- did not attend high school in Missouri); and Lorenzo Riley (Sr., DE, Platte City, Platte County High).
  • The Bears are off to a 4-3 start for the second time this decade. The last time Missouri State started a season with a 5-3 record was 2004 when Randy Ball's Bears finished 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the Valley. MSU was also 4-3 in 2007 under Terry Allen.
  • Over the last two weeks, the Bears have had an average field position of their own 18-yard line, but have manufactured nine drives of 60 yards or more during that span and averaged 381 yards of total offense per game.
  • Clay Harbor needs 10 receptions to tie the all-time Missouri State record for career receptions (137).
  • North Dakota State is off to a 1-6 start for the first time since 1975, but is 31-1-2 all-time in Harvest Bowl games. The Bison are 1-2 at home this season and have lost three games in a season at the FargoDome just once (1998).
  • Missouri State's defense has not forced a turnover in its last two games. Its last take-away was at Youngstown State (10/3/09) with a fourth-quarter interception by Waylon Richardet.

Radio: All Missouri State Bears games can be heard on KTXR, Springfield (101.3 FM), the flagship station of the seven-station Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network. Play-by-play man Art Hains will provide the game description. Color commentary duties will be split this between third-year commentator Scott Opfer and KYTV Sports Director Ned Reynolds.  Reynolds will handle color duties for the NDSU game, while Opfer's remaining game is the Oct. 24 game.

 Hains first began calling Bears' action in 1977 and is in his second stint and 30th season overall as the Voice of the Bears. He called Bears games from 1977-81 and returned to that post in 1985. The North Dakota State game is Art's 317th MSU football broadcast.

 MSU football can also be heard on the seven-station, Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network on the following affiliates:  Ava - KKOZ (92.1 FM/1430 AM); Jefferson City - KJMO (97.5); Kansas City - KCWJ (1030 AM); Monett - KKBL (95.9 FM); Poplar Bluff - KLID (1340 AM); St. Louis - KFNS (100.7 FM); and Springfield - KTXR (101.3 FM) (flagship).

On-Line: Select games this season, including this week's game at NDSU, will be shown on Missouri State's on-line video channel, Bears Live!  Bears Live is a 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.  Links to live game stats, and the free audio stream (through www.RadioSpringfield.com) can be found on this week's game notes page on www.MissouriStateBears.com or at the Fan Central link on the home page.

Television:  Today's game will not be televised.

Last Game:  A 72-yard drive in the final two-and-a-half minutes propelled the Missouri State Bears to a 17-16  Missouri Valley Football Conference win here Saturday over Western Illinois. The game-winning, 37-yard field goal by Matt Hottelman (Sr., K, O'Fallon, Mo.) with 36 seconds to go gave MSU its only lead of the game as it overcame a 16-0 deficit to improve to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the league.

 After taking over at his own 18 with 2:24 on the clock, Missouri State quarterback Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) completed a 44-yard pass to Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) on the first play from scrimmage to the WIU 38. Kirby then carried 10 yards to the 28 before Jonathan Davis (Jr., TB, Tampa, Fla.) moved the ball to the 20 on three straight carries, setting up a game-winner by Hottelman. The six-play, 72-yard drive consumed 1:48.

 WIU completed just one pass on the ensuing drive and never advanced past midfield. The Leathernecks' desperation pass as time expired was swatted down at the 10-yard line.

 Kirby's 341 passing yards was a career high, the most ever in the Terry Allen era at MSU, and the most by any Bears player since Scott Carroll's 344-yard game on Oct. 1, 2005 at Southern Illinois. He finished 18-of-32 through the air, including eight receptions for 171 yards by Harbor, also a career high. Harbor's day marked the most yards by an MSU receiver since Steven Rush's school-record 249-yard effort on Nov. 8, 2003 against Illinois State.

 Missouri State outgained the Leathernecks (1-5, 0-3) 358 to 262, despite committing the game's only three turnovers.

 On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears were led by Skylar Smith (Jr., SS, Springfield, Mo.) who had 10 total stops and one pass break-up. Antoine Wilkinson (Jr., LB, Magnolia, Miss.) had 9 tackles

Team Captains:  Missouri State will have five co-captains for the 2009 season, including a pair of seniors and three juniors.  The Bears' 2009 captains include tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.), cornerback Cedric Alvis (Sr., Columbia, Mo.), guard David Arkin (Jr., Wichita, Kan.), quarterback Cody Kirby (Jr., Rogers, Ark.), and safety Skylar Smith (Jr., Springfield, Mo.).  Kirby was also a co-captain in 2008, which made him just the third MSU sophomore captain since 1953 (joining Corky Martin, 1999, and Kevin Sears, 2005).

Scouting NDSU: The Bison are off to a 1-6 start and are 0-4 in the Valley after last week's 28-13 setback at South Dakota State.

 NDSU boasts the No. 6 rushing offense in the nation, posting 214.4 yards per game on the ground and 407.6 yards per game overall. Senior Pat Paschall is putting up 144.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks second nationally.

 Despite its high-octane rushing attack, the Bison are among the nation's bottom 20 teams in six defensive categories: pass efficiency defense (111th/154.8); total defense (101st/402.4); scoring defense (105th/33.0); pass defense (102nd/239.0); sacks (105th/1.14); and tackles for loss (108th/4.43).

 North Dakota State is 1-2 at the FargoDome this season and averages 17,718 fans per game, which is No. 5 in the nation and tops in the MVFC.

About Missouri State: Missouri State University is a public, comprehensive university system with a mission in public affairs, whose purpose is to develop educated persons while achieving five goals: democratizing society, incubating new ideas, imagining Missouri's future, making Missouri's future, and modeling ethical and effective behavior. With a record enrollment of 22,938 in 2009-10, MSU is the second-largest institution for higher learning in Missouri, and its identity is distinguished by its statewide mission in public affairs. This mission requires a campus-wide commitment to foster competence and responsibility in the common vocation of citizenship.  Missouri State University-Springfield is a selective admissions, graduate level teaching and research institution.

 Missouri State competes at the NCAA Division I level and is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference with affiliate membership in the Mid-American Conference for field hockey and men's swimming and diving.

 Notable Missouri State alums include: Ryan Howard (first baseman, Philadelphia Phillies), John Goodman (actor), Kathleen Turner (actress), David Glass (owner, Kansas City Royals), John Q. Hammons (businessman, hotel developer), Bob Holden (43rd governor of Missouri), Bill Mueller (2003 American League batting champ), Jackie Stiles (Division I career scoring leader), and Blake Ahearn (NBA D-League MVP and All-Star Game co-MVP).

Kirby Demonstration:  Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) has enjoyed great success at Plaster Field during his time at MSU.  In 15 career home games, including 14 starts, Kirby has thrown for 2,945 yards (196.3) and 22 touchdown passes, including nine 200-yard performances. The Bears are 7-7 in Kirby starts at home and 12-14 in his 26 starts overall. He has been the MSU quarterback in 502 of the team's 515 plays this season. In road games this season, he is averaging 233.3 yards per game with a pair of touchdowns.

Milestones:  Jonathan Davis (Jr., TB, Tampa, Fla.) needs 18 rushing yards for 500 in his career ... Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) needs 2 rushing TDs for 20 ... Kirby needs 314 passing yards for 5,500 ... Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) needs 2 touchdowns for 10 ... Matt Hottelman needs 2 PAT's for 50 in his career ... Hottelman needs 5 kickoffs for 200 in his career and 13 points for 100  ... Jordan Chiles (So., P, Hillsboro, Ill.) needs 8 punts for 100 career ... Byron Hightower (Jr., LB, Raytown, Mo.) needs 4 tackles for 100 career ... Terian Washington (Jr., LB, Pine Bluff, Ga.) needs 1 tackle for 100 career.

Conseuctive starts:  Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) 30; David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) 29; Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.) 26; Cedric Alvis (Sr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) 18; Derek Miller (Jr., S, Olathe, Kan.) 8.

Honors Continue for Tight End Harbor: Bears' tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.) continues to collect preseason All-America honors from various publications and organizations.

 During the 2009 preseason, he was named to All-America teams by The Sports Network, College Sporting News, Consensus Draft Services, and Lindy's College Football Preview.  He was MSU Player of the Week on 10/3/09 for his 101-yard effort in the Bears' 17-7 win at Youngstown State and on 10/17/09 for his career-high 171-yard game in the win at Western Illinois. His effort in the WIU game also earned him Offensive Player of the Week by the MVFC.

 After collecting 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008, Harbor earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors.  Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list, including a third-team honor in 2007. He was also named to the Sports Network Fab 50 in 2008.

 In 2009, Harbor is also ranked as the No. 12 overall player -- and top tight end -- in the NCAA FCS, according to the ranking source for Phil Steele.  The top 20 players are:  1. QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State, Sr.; 2. WR/RS Andre' Roberts, Citadel, Sr.; 3. QB Cameron Higgins, Weber State, Jr.; 4. WR Terrell Hudgins, Elon, Sr.; 5. FS Mark LeGree, Appalachian St., Jr.; 6. DE Larry Hart, Central Arkansas, Sr.; 7. QB Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, Sr.; 8. RS Leroy Vann, Florida A&M, Sr.; 9. RB Trevyn Smith, Weber State, Sr.; 10. OT James Williams, Harvard, Sr.; 11. DE James Ruffin, Northern Iowa, Sr.; 12. TE Clay Harbor, Missouri State, Sr.; 13. OG Matthew McCracken, Richmond, Sr.; 14. WR/RS Marc Mariani, Montana, Sr.; 15. TE Scott Sicko, New Hampshire, Sr.; 16. RS Scotty McGee, James Madison, Sr.; 17. OT Vladimir Ducasse, UMass., Sr.; 18. RB William Ford, South Carolina State, Sr.; 19. DE Austen Lane, Murray State, Sr.; 20. DT Mychal Savage, Youngstown State, Sr.

MSU Player of the Week:  Tight end Clay Harbor (Sr., Dwight, Ill.) is this week's Missouri State Player of the Week for his performance in the Bears' come-from-behind win at Western Illinois. Harbor had career highs with eight receptions for 171 yards in the game, including five catches for 130 yards in the second half, and five plays of 20 yards or more. He also had a career-long reception of 53 yards in the fourth quarter to set up the winning field goal. It was Harbor's second 100-yard game this season and fourth of his career. He was also named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week this week.

 In 2008, Cody Kirby (QB, Rogers, Ark.) was named 2008 Missouri State Coors Player of the Year after earning second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Honors and throwing for 2,014 yards and 15 touchdowns, finishing second in the league in total offense and 53rd nationally. He led the Bears to three fourth-quarter go-ahead or tying scores in 2008.  Coors is no longer sponsoring the MSU Player of the Week/Player of the Year awards.

MVFC Preseason All-Conference Team: The Missouri Valley Football Conference released its preseason all-conference team on July 20 at its annual Media Day festivities in St. Louis.

 Three Bears were named to the Missouri Valley Football Preseason Team, including Clay Harbor (Sr., TE, Dwight, Ill.), David Arkin (Jr., OG, Wichita, Kan.) and honorable mention selection Cody Kirby (Jr., QB, Rogers, Ark.).

 Harbor, a preseason All-America pick by several agencies, snagged 40 receptions for 457 yards in 2008 for the Bears, both tops on the squad, and earned Associated Press FCS All-America second-team honors.  Harbor is a two-time, first-team All-MVFC pick as well as twice being recognized on the AP All-America list.

 Arkin was named a preseason Third-Team All-America pick at offensive guard by the Sports Network. He graded out at 86 percent during the 2008 season, starting all 11 games at offensive guard. He was named the team's Offensive Lineman of the Week four times in 2008, also gaining the squad's Offensive Player of the Week distinction twice. He was a 2008 All-Valley preseason selection in addition to being named to the league's All-Newcomer Team and Second-Team All-Conference squads the past two seasons.

 Kirby, who found a spot on the MVFC Preseason Team as an honorable mention pick, earned All-Valley second-team honors as a sophomore in 2008 after throwing for 2,104 yards and 15 touchdowns while posting 2,227 yards of total offense and scoring nine touchdowns. At 183.1 yards per game, he is the league's top returning passer and No. 2 returnee in total offense (202.5 ypg). Kirby was the league's preseason All-Valley quarterback in 2008 and was the 2007 MVFC Freshman of the Year.

Individual Statistical Leaders: The following active Missouri State players rank among the Missouri Valley Football Conference's top 10 individual performers in the categories indicated:

  • Cody Kirby ranks 6th in passing efficiency (120.86), and 5th in  total offense (204.86)
  • Clay Harbor ranks 6th in receptions per game (5.14) and 5th in receiving yards per game (67.71).
  • Derek Miller is tied for sixth in inerceptions (0.43)
  • Jordan Chiles ranks 4th in punting (40.34)
  • Jermaine Saffold ranks 5th in kickoff returns (22.56)
  • Matt Hottelman is 6th in field goals (0.71) and 10th in scoring (4.43)
  • Mike Daniels is tied for 7th in sacks (0.50)
  • Antoine Wilkinson is 5th in tackles (8.86)

As a team, the Bears rank second in the Valley in net punting (36.94) and fourth in passing (205.71).

Valley All-Time Football Team: As a part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference Silver Anniversary Celebration, fans are invited to participate in the selection of the Valley's All-Time Football Team. The ballots are accessible through the the Missouri Valley Football Conference web site or at www.Valley-Football25.org.  (one ballot per site visit).

 There are 14 Bears on the ballot, including:  DeAndre Smith (QB, 1987-90), Clay Harbor (TE, 2006-present), Brad St. Louis (TE, 1996-99), Mark Christensen (OL, 1986-89), Matt Irvin (OL, 1989-92), Wayne Boyer (PK ,1993-96), Travis Brawner (PK, 1997-99), Jon Scifres (PK, 2002-05), Michael Fox (DL, 1989-90), Bill Waler (DL, 1988-91), DeLaun Fowler (LB, 1992-95), Matt Soraghan (LB, 1985-87), Adrion Smith (DB, 1989-91), and Marcus Shipp (DB, 1989-91).

MVFC All-Select NFL Team: Former Missouri State football Bears Brad St. Louis and Jason Whittle have been named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference "All-Select NFL Team," the league announced Monday (July 20) in St. Louis.

 Whittle, most recently an offensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills, finished his 11th season in the NFL in 2008. He signed a free agent contract in the 2003 off-season with the New York Giants. He later moved to the Minnesota Vikings for the 2006 campaign before joining the Bills in 2007. An offensive and defensive line standout at Missouri State from 1994-97, Whittle signed with the Giants in 1998 and was a regular lineman and deep snapper for the team. His play in the 2001 Super Bowl was the first time an MSU product had played in the NFL title game.

 St. Louis was released from the Cincinnati Bengals on 10/12/09 during his 10th year with the club. He was the longest-tenured player on the Bengals' roster at the time. He starred for MSU at tight end from 1996-99 and played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl after his senior MSU season prior to signing with Cincinnati.  He has operated as the Bengals' regular deep snapper each of the past six seasons with additional work at tight end.

 The team includes 35 players from current and former MVFC schools. The team includes four NFL MVPs, 15 Pro-Bowl selections and other 23 Super Bowl appearances by 12 players.  Sixteen former league players are active in the NFL.

National Leaders:  Bears ranking among the nation's top 50 players in this week's NCAA Division I FCS statistics are: Jordan Chiles (So., P, Hillsboro, Ill.) is 23rd in punting (40.83), Derek Miller (Jr., S, Olathe, Kan.) is tied for 31st in interceptions per game (0.50), Miguel Warren (Sr., TB, Raytown, Mo.) is 46th in kickoff returns (23.38), and Mike Daniels (Sr., DT, Pine Bluff, Ark.) is tied for 47th in sacks (0.60). As a team, the Bears rank in the national top 25 in two categories:  12th in net punting (37.28) and 23rd in kickoff returns (22.75).  MSU is also among the top 50 teams in rush defense (44th/126.0) and sacks (46th/2.17).  

Postseason History: The Bears have appeared in three postseason games during their NCAA Division I era (1982-present).

 In 1989, the Bears were ranked No. 9 in the FCS poll when they hosted Maine at Plaster Field on 11/25/89.  A 33-yard field goal by Chris Potthast with eight seconds left sent MSU to the national quarterfinals at Stephen F. Austin with a 38-35 win.

 The Bears gave up 613 yards in total offense at SFA and fell 55-25, despite trailing just 23-10 at the half. MSU finished the year 10-3.

 In 1990, MSU hosted No. 13 Idaho at Plaster Field in the first round of the playoffs.  After a field goal by Richard Grote on the first play of the fourth quarter tied the game, 35-35, the Bears gave up field goals of 29 and 50 yards later in the quarter, and the potential game-winning drive stalled at the Idaho 45 with 30 seconds remaining in a 41-35 defeat.

 Prior to their Division I days, the Bears appeared in three bowl games, falling 34-20 to Emporia State in the 1948 Mo-Kan Bowl, dropping a 21-14 decision to Northern Illinois in the 1963 Mineral Water Bowl, and coming up short, 14-8, to Adams State in the 1966 Mineral Water Bowl.

 Including its three bowl games, Missouri State is 1-5 all-time in postseason.

Up Next:  The Bears return home on Saturday, October 31 for a Homecoming affair with Illinois State at Plaster Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.



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