Bears Return Home to Face 13th-Ranked Salukis in Key League Game
Missouri State (3-3, 2-1) vs. Southern Illinois State (4-2, 3-1)
Saturday, October 25, 2008 - Plaster Field (16,300), Springfield, Mo., 1:30 p.m.
Television - BEARS LIVE!, Mediacom (Channel 14) Live, FCS Pacific (Live), Fox Sports Midwest (delayed)
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - VALLEY FOOTBALL
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Game Overview: Having won three of their last four games overall and two straight Missouri Valley Football Conference contests, Missouri State returns home this Saturday to take on league rival Southern Illinois in a game to be televised locally, regionally and nationally.
The Bears defeated Illinois State, 34-28, on the road last week, claiming their second straight league win for the first time since 2001 and their first road win in the conference since 2004. Trailing 26-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, Cody Kirby (So, QB, Rogers, Ark.) brought the Bears back, engineering three consecutive touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to ensure a 34-28 win by the Bears. Kirby tallied 313 yards total offense and accounted for four touchdowns, including matching a career high with three rushing touchdowns and surpassing his career best in rushing yards with a 59-yard effort. His 254 passing yards marked the third 200-yard game of the season and sixth of his career. Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) led the Bears’ rushing attack with 17 carries for 85 yards, while Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) made the most of his return trip to his home state with six catches for 66 yards, extending his consecutive games with at least one reception to 17 in a row. Justin Fuselier (So., WR, Tulsa, Okla.) had the game-winning touchdown, a 77-yard catch and run from Kirby that resulted in the team’s longest play of the season, and gave the Bears and eight point lead with 4:50 remaining. Defensively, Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) led the team with 14 tackles, while Terian Washington (So., DE, Pine Bluff, Ark.) had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, including a fourth-down sack that gave the ball back to the Bears with just over a minute to play.
Southern Illinois (4-2, 3-1) defeated Youngstown State, 33-0, last Saturday to claim its first-ever road shutout in MVFC play. Larry Warner led the Salukis with 147 rushing yards on 22 carries as SIU picked up its fourth win of the season.
Missouri State leads the all-time series, 16-14, with the Salukis winning the last five meetings, including a 45-10 decision last season in Carbondale. The Bears are 9-6 at home against SIU.
The Bears are 429-428-40 (.501) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 193-136-11 (.584) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 62-82-1 (.431) mark in MVFC play, and 144-144-3 (.500) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level. The Bears are 2-1 in league play this season and last won three conference contests in 2004 (3-4).
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 106-76 (.582) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 11-17 (.393) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 85-41 (.675) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 8-3 all-time against the Salukis, including an 0-2 mark at MSU.
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.
Southern Illinois Head Coach Dale Lennon (Tulsa, 1981) is 4-2 (.667) in his first season at Southern Illinois, including a 3-1 (.750) mark in Valley Football games. He is 106-35 (.752) in his 12th season as a collegiate head coach, including stints at the University of Mary (1997-98) where he was 12-9 in two seasons, and North Dakota (1999-2007) where he accumulated a 90-24 record and seven D-II playoff appearances in nine years. He has never coached against MSU.
The Series: The Bears lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1965, by a 16-14 margin.
Missouri State is 9-6 at home against the Salukis all-time. SIU has won the last five meetings between the two clubs, including last season’s 45-10 decision in Carbondale.
In the last game played in Springfield on October 28, 2006, the Salukis overcame a 10-3 deficit with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns and emerged with a 27-17 victory over MSU.
Then freshman Tyler Horner threw for 221 yards on 24-of-40 passing attempts for the Bears, while Chris Geisz had four catches for 28 yards, and Jeff Sargent had one reception for 9 yards.
The 19-ranked SIU team recorded 337 yards total offense, including Arkee Whitlock’s 84 rushing yards.
Last season in Carbondale, the No. 9 Salukis took their frustration from a previous week’s loss at UNI out on Missouri State with a 45-10 win. John Randle ran for three touchdowns and Larry Warner rushed for 87 yards a touchdown for SIU as the Salukis rolled up 31 first-half points and 496 total yards for the game.
The Bears turned to Cody Kirby for their offense, and the true freshman completed 17-of-33 passes for 176 yards, including seven completions for 87 yards to Clay Harbor. Fellow freshman Stephen Johnston had 6 carries for 32 yards, while Gerald Davis finished with 31 yards and the Bears’ only touchdown.
Kingjack Washington had 4 carries for 16 yards for the Bears, while Brandon Oliver (4/22), Jared Emery (1/8), Johnston (1/7), and Jeff Sargent (1/3) also had big days in the Bears receiving corps.
Defensively, the Bears were led by Jeremy Dawson with 14 tackles and a sack, followed by Tony Randolph with 9 stops. Roger Wright (7), Derek Miller (6), Clayton Dickehut (4), Mike Taylor (4), Chris Farrar (3) and Chris Brehmer (3 and a sack), also had big defensive days 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 SIU game is Art’s 305th 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: Today’s game will be shown live on FCS-Pacific and locally on Mediacom Connections in Springfield (Channel 14) and Carbondale. The telecast will originate on Fox Sports Midwest and will be shown on a tape-delayed basis regionally at 1:45 a.m. Sunday and at Noon on Monday. Fox Sports Midwest, along with Fox Sports Kansas City and Fox Sports Indiana, reach a total of 5.7 million cable and satellite television homes in six states (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa).
Scott Warmann will be the play-by-play announcer for the game, while Danan Hughes will provide color commentary. The Sideline reporter is Erin Bajackson.
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: Cody Kirby’s (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) 77-yard touchdown pass to Justin Fuselier (So., WR, Tulsa, Okla.) with 4:50 remaining in the game secured a 34-28 comeback win over Illinois State.
The Bears trailed 17-14 at the half and 26-14 going into the fourth quarter before Kirby engineered three straight touchdown drives of 79, 78 and 83 yards, respectively, in the final period. Kirby’s three rushing touchowns matched a career high, while his 59 ground yards was a career-best. He also eclipsed the 200-yard passing plateau for the third time in 2008 and sixth time overall, completing 17-of-27 passes for 254 yards without being sacked.
Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) led the Bears’ rushing charges, carrying 17 times for 85 yards in the game, while Stephen Johnston (So., TB, Arlington, Texas) got 9 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Kirby’s 17 completions went to nine different receivers, including a game-high six catches by Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) who accounted for 66 yards, while Fuselier’s 99 yards on two catches were a game high in receiving yards.
Defensively, the Bears came up with two interceptions on the day, as Tony Randolph (So., LB, Blue Springs, Mo.) and Byron Hightower, Jr. (So., LB, Raytown, Mo.) recorded timely picks, while Jeremy Dawson (Sr., LB, Grandview, Mo.) blocked a field goal on the final play of the first half. Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) had a game-high 14 tackles, including 9 solos, while Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.) had 9 stops, and Terian Washington (So., DE, Pine Bluff, Ark.) had two sacks -- including a key sack late in the fourth quarter -- six tackles, and 2.5 tackles for loss.
The victory was the third in four games for the Bears and second straight league victory -- a task the team had not achieved since 2001. It was also Missouri State’s first conference road win since 2004.
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 . . . Seth Reichert (Sr., Springfield, Mo.) was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week on October 20 after grading out at 88% in the team’s win over Illinois State on October 18.
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 MVFC Offensive Player of the Week: Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) was named as the league’s Offensive Player of the Week after accounting for four touchdowns and rolling up 313 yards total offense in MSU’ 34-28 come-from-behind win at Illinois State on October 18. He also rushed for a career-high 59 yards and threw a TD pass in his seventh straight game.
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 tight end), David Arkin (second-team offensive lineman), Roger Wright (honorable mention 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 the Illinois State game is sophomore quarterback Cody Kirby (Rogers, Ark.) who ran for three touchdowns and a career-high 59 yards, while passing for one more score and accounting for 313 yards total offense. He led the Bears on fourth-quarter scoring drives of 79, 78 and 83 yards to overtake the Redbirds, 34-28 in Normal.
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.
Reichert (Offensive Lineman) and Kirby (Offensive Player) both earned league honors this week after the team’s win at Illinois State.
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.
Kirby Home Demonstration: Bears’ sophomore QB Cody Kirby (Rogers, Ark.) has enjoyed great success at Plaster Field during his time as the MSU signal caller. In nine career home games, including eight starts, Kirby has thrown for 1745 yards (193.9) and 15 TD passes, as well as five 200-yard performances. The Bears are 5-3 at home during Kirby starts. He has also tallied 253 rushing yards (28.1) and scored seven rushing TD’s at Plaster.
In contrast, Kirby’s 254-yard outing at Illinois State last week was his first career 200-yard game away from home. He has thrown for 1105 (138.1) yards on the road with six touchdown passes and 141 (17.6) rushing yards. Kirby is 2-4 in road starts, including a 2-1 mark this year.
The preseason all-MVFC quarterback and defending league Offensive Player of the Week now ranks 9th on MSU’s all-time list for passing yards (2,860), tied for sixth in TD passes (21), 10th in passing attempts (405), eighth in completions (241) and ninth in total offense (3,254).
He is 40th in the NCAA FCS in passing efficiency (133.38) and 48th in total offense (214.0).
Kingjackpot: Missouri State sophomore Kingjack Washington (TB, Owasso, Okla.) eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for his career on October 11 against Youngstown State, his 16th game as a Bears player. Only three other MSU rushers have achieved 1,000-yard career status during their sophomore season, and all joined the 1,000-yard club in their 16th game. The other three players to reach the milestone were: Fred Tabron (1971), Greg Lawson (1974) and John Gianini (1977).
Washington is averaging 78.3 yards per game on the ground this season, and at that pace would end his sophomore year with a career total of 1,558 yards. Just 20 Bears have gone over the 1,500 yard mark in career rushing, most recently Cody Pratt (2,339) in 2004. He currently stands at 1,166 career rushing yards on 190 carries with 7 touchdowns.
Clay Paves the Way: All-American tight end Clay Harbor (Jr., Dwight, Ill.) needs just 21 receiving yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for his career. He would become the 15th Bears receiver to reach this milestone.
He currently ranks sixth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in receptions per game (3.83) and is seventh in the league in receiving yards per game (43.17).
Harbor has caught a pass in 17 consecutive games, one shy of the team’s top five streaks all-time. The top receiving streaks in Missouri State history belong to Jason Cannon (1995-97) 33; Steve Newbold (1978-80) 22; Eric Davis (2007-08) 22; Tom Hamilton (1975-77) 20; and Sean Adams (1999-2000) 18.
Harbor’s 74 career catches ranks 16th on Missouri State’s all-time list, while his 979 receiving yards ranks 15th. His next touchdown reception will push him into the top 16 all-time as well. He currently has six career TD catches.
Leading the League: MSU currently ranks second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in sacks allowed (1.17), and pass efficiency defense (115.29), while placing third in the league in passing (184.3) and passing defense (166.33). The Bears are also in the league’s upper division in rushing (172.0), scoring (30.3) and turnover margin (+0.33) -- ranking fourth in all three categories.
In the other key categories, the Bears rank sixth in total offense (356.3), eighth in scoring defense (34.83), ninth in total defense (464.3) and ninth in rushing defense (298.0).
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) a year ago. The team also averaged 20.7 yards per kickoff return to rank fourth in 2007.
Individually, Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is third in the MVFC in total offense (214.0) and fifth in passing efficiency (133.38), while Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) is sixth in rushing yards (78.33) and all-purpose yards (97.0). Clay Harbor (So., TE, Dwight, Ill.) is sixth in the MVFC in receptions per game (3.83) and seventh in receiving yards per game (43.17). Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is third in the league in kickoff returns (23.64), while defensive leaders Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) and Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.) rank fourth and seventh, respectively, in tackles per game at 9.0 and 8.3.
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 23rd nationally in passing defense (166.33) and 26th in passing efficiency defense (115.29). MSU is also 30th in the nation in rushing yards per game (172.0) and 34th in scoring (30.3). In other categories, the Bears rank 24th in sacks allowed (1.17), 32nd in punt returns (12.25), 41st in turnover margin (+0.33), and 49th in passing efficiency (131.41).
Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) is now 45th in rushing (78.33). Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is 40th in passing efficiency (133.38) and 48th in total offense (214.0). Averaging 9.0 tackles per game, Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) ranks 44th in the nation in tackles, while Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is 47th in kickoff returns (23.64).
Plaster Sports Complex: Home of the Missouri State Bears since 1941, the 2008 campaign marks football Bears’ 67th season in the facility (the school did not field teams two years during World War II (1943-44).
MSU has a 194-136-11 (.585) record for 341 games in Plaster, including five undefeated and untied home seasons -- 1948, 1963, 1974, 1989 and 1992.
The Bears were 5-1 at home in 2007, 1-2 at home this year, and are 8-7 at Plaster under Terry Allen.
Originally named SMS Stadium (1941-70), the facility was renamed Briggs Stadium (1970-1991) in honor of former head coach and long-time athletic director Arthur Briggs. A four-phase expansion project that began in 1987 saw the addition of artificial turf (1987), an all-weather track (1988), additional student seating (1990), and second grandstand level and press box (1991) added. The facility was renamed Robert W. Plaster Sports Complex in 1991 at the conclusion of the expansion initiative.
The new Bankcorp South video scoreboard was added over the summer of 2008. The multi-million dollar system features a high-quality video system, enhanced graphics package, and live scoring and timing capabilities. The Football ProStar LED Video Display has a 4.4 trillion color-capable display; 23mm pixel spacing and 153,600 total red/green/blue LED's. The top of the scoreboard will be more than three stories from the surface and extend 40 feet in width.
One of the top FCS facilities in the nation, Plaster Field seats 16,300 spectators and features 24 skyboxes and a 40-seat University box. The complex includes 12 racquetball courts and locker rooms, as well as the Plaster Strength Center -- a 7,200-square foot weight room which is one of the largest in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Plaster is also home to the Missouri State men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey, and women’s track & field squads.
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 22. . . Nine Bears have started every game in 2007 and 2008 (17 games in a row).
Coach To Cure MD: Today Missouri State Head Coach Terry Allen and college football coaches across the country will join to fight one opponent Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. By wearing an arm band with the Coach to Cure MD insignia, coaches will show their support for Coach to Cure MD, the American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) newest charitable project.
Football fans will be able to donate to muscular dystrophy research either online at CoachToCureMD.org or by texting the word "CURE" to 90999 to automatically donate $5 from their mobile phones.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood. Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys and occurs across all races and cultures.