Bears Set to Face No. 1 North Dakota State in Final Home Game Saturday
Oct. 29, 2012
Missouri State Game Notes
North Dakota State Notes
Missouri State Bears (3-6, 3-3 MVFC) vs. No. 1 North Dakota State Bison (7-1, 4-1 MVFC)
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2012
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Plaster Field (16,300)
TV: Mediacom MC-22 (Don West, Mike McClure)
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Ned Reynolds)
Live Stats: MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: Bears All-Access
FIRST AND TEN
♦ The Bears enter Saturday's game having won three straight contests in the same season for the first time since September 2004. MSU's last four-game win streak came 10 years ago, when the Bears won their last four games of the 2001 campaign and their first two tilts in 2002.
♦ NCAA FCS No. 1 North Dakota State represents the fifth ranked opponent for the Bears in 2012, but their first such matchup at home. MSU has gone 1-3 against ranked teams this year, including a victory over No. 11 Illinois State on Oct. 20. The Bears dropped contests to FBS No. 22 Kansas State (Sept. 1) and No. 23 Louisville (Sept. 8), as well as FCS No. 25 South Dakota State (Sept. 29).
♦ MSU is winless in three previous matchups against No. 1 teams (see sidebar for complete results), with all three meetings coming in the last nine seasons; most recently, the Bears dropped a 44-24 decision to top-ranked Southern Illinois (Nov. 14, 2009).
♦ The Bears' defense has asserted itself in its six conference games, entering the week third in total defense (290.8 ypg) and pass defense (135.3 ypg) and second in interceptions (9) and pass defense efficiency (97.4) in MVFC play.
♦ The Bears' offense has also enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in Valley play and brings the No. 3 rushing attack (144.3 ypg) in conference play into Saturday's contest.
♦ Dorian Buford ranks second in The Valley and 50th nationally in receptions per game (5.33). He needs 14 more grabs to match Michael Sparks's single-season MSU record of 62 receptions.
♦ MSU recorded a season-high six scoring drives in Saturday's win over WIU, none of which extended longer than 2:26.
♦ Head coach Terry Allen enters Saturday's game one win shy of 60 career MVFC victories, just two wins behind UNI's Mark Farley for the league's all-time standard.
♦ Caleb Schaffitzel was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week and CFPA National Defensive Back of the Week after recording nine tackles and picking off a pair of passes in MSU's 42-3 rout of Western Illinois last Saturday; through nine games, Schaffitzel is 16th among all FCS defenders in tackles per game (10.56).
♦ Howard Scarborough and Schaffitzel rank third and fourth, respectively, in the MVFC in passes defended.
LAST TIME AROUND
October 15, 2011 -- The Bears surrendered two lost fumbles and a long kickoff return in the first five minutes of the third quarter to set up 17 North Dakota State points as the fourth-ranked Bison blew open a tight contest and rolled to a 51-21 victory over the Bears in Fargo.
NDSU's Marcus Williams took the second-half kickoff 90 yards down the right sideline to score. After the ensuing kickoff, Missouri State fumbled on its own 17 on its first play from scrimmage to set up a short field for a Bison field goal. The Bears ` lost the handle on the return of the next kickoff and NDSU stacked on another TD after a drive of just 28 yards for a 41-14 bulge by the mid-point of the third period.
The Bears dented the nation's top-ranked scoring defense for three touchdowns but had no answer for the Bison attack as NDSU scored six touchdowns and three field goals on its first nine possessions before the Bears stopped NDSU and forced the first Bison punt with four minutes left in the game.
The teams combined for five straight scoring possessions with four early lead changes in the game, but NDSU managed points on all four of its first half possessions for a 24-14 halftime advantage.
Bison sophomore quarterback Brock Jensen was unstoppable early, hitting a perfect 15-of-15 passing the first half to threaten the NCAA FCS record of 20 straight completions to start a game, a mark set by Austin Moherman of MSU in 2000 at Indiana State.
Jensen found senior wide receiver Warren Holloway six times for 109 yards in the first half as Holloway, among NDSU's all-time top five in receptions and receiving yards, hauled in scoring aerials of 31 and 47 yards. Each score erased a Bears' lead and RB D.J. McNorton rambled in from the 20 two minutes before halftime to push the Bison lead to 10.
For their part, the Bears had two impressive drives to grab the lead twice in the opening 30 minutes. Bears' sophomore QB Trevor Wooden nailed WR Ian Starnes for 29 yards to cap an 84-yard drive that gave MSU a 7-3 edge. The Bears tallied on a 69-yard drive the next time they had the ball with Wooden finishing the job on a 19-yard throw to RB Chris Douglas at the start of the second period as MSU moved in front 14-10.
The Bears' third TD came after NDSU's explosion to start the third period as Wooden hooked up with Starnes twice in a 78-yard drive that Wooden capped with a one-yard scoring plunge with 2:22 left in the quarter. After the third field goal of the game by NDSU's Ryan Jastram, another lost fumble by the Bears on their own nine set up the final Bison TD.
Jensen and Wooden put on an aerial duel as the Bison signal-caller hit 19-of-23 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns while the Bears' sophomore was 18-of-25 for 222 yards and two scores.
BATTLING THE BISON
Only MVFC foes Missouri State (2), UNI (2) and Illinois State (3) have multiple wins over North Dakota State since 2009. The Bears have won two of the last three meetings with the defending Division I FCS national champions, including a 3-0 shutout win over then No. 17 NDSU in the most-recent matchup at Plaster Field (Nov. 20, 2010). The Bison would be the highest-ranked team ever defeated by the Bears, with the previous high-water mark coming with a 12-7 road win over No. 3 McNeese State on Sept. 7, 1996.
SCHAFFITZEL ADDS TO HONOR ROLL
Sophomore safety Caleb Schaffitzel became the first MSU defender to earn Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Back of the Week honors this season after snagging two interceptions and logging nine total tackles in Saturday's 42-3 Homecoming win over WIU.
Schaffitzel had 65 yards in interception returns, including a 47 yarder, and had the second-highest tackle total in the game. He became just the fifth Bear since 2006 to tally two interceptions in a single game and posted the team's longest interception return since Jimmie Strong's 91-yard touchdown return at WIU on Oct.22, 2011.
Schaffitzel, who has started 15 consecutive games in the Bears' secondary, now has 95 total tackles and three interceptions on the season and is on pace to become just the second player during the Terry Allen era (2006-present) to secure 100 or more tackles in a season.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
The number three was a recurring phenomenon over the weekend with MSU. Kierra Harris improved to 3-0 in 2012 as the club's starting signal caller and threw a career-high three touchdown passes in the win over Western Illinois. MSU defenders snagged three interceptions on Saturday for the second time this season and tripled their season interception total from last season in the process. MSU also claimed its third straight victory and third straight league victory on Saturday. The team had not won three straight overall since the 2007 season and had not claimed three straight MVFC wins since 2001. The Bears' current streak in conference play marks just the sixth three-game Valley win streak in its 28 years in the league.
THE QUEST FOR FOUR
Missouri State is seeking its fourth conference win of the season this weekend against North Dakota State, a feat achieved by the Bears just seven times (1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2009, 2010) since joining the MVFC as an inaugural member in 1985.
Picked to finish 10th in the Valley, MSU now sits at 3-3 with two games to play, just one game out of fourth place. The Bears have not secured four-straight Valley victories since a stretch from Nov. 16, 1996 through Oct. 18, 1997. MSU has won at least four in a row in MVFC play just four times in its 28 years in the conference.
ALLEN CHASING 60
MSU head coach Terry Allen will be shooting for his 60th career MVFC victory on Saturday when the Bears entertain North Dakota State. Allen is 59-39 in 15 seasons at UNI (1989-96) and Missouri State (2006-present) in the league. Only current UNI sideline boss Mark Farley (61 wins) has more career conference victories.