Bears Will Play 900th Game Saturday with Game at No. 4 UNI
Missouri State (3-5, 2-3) at #4 Northern Iowa (7-2, 5-1)
Saturday, November 8, 2008 - UNI-Dome (16,324), Cedar Falls, Iowa, 4:05 p.m.
Television - NONE
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - NORTHERN IOWA - VALLEY FOOTBALL
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Game Overview: The Bears continue a two-game road swing through the league this Saturday when they travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa to take on the Panthers of Northern Iowa in MSU’s 900th football game. Missouri State looks to get back to the .500 mark in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this week with aspirations of winning at the UNI-Dome for the first time since 1998.
Last week, the Bears fell behind 19-0 at South Dakota State and never recovered in a 43-13 setback in Brookings, S.D. The Jackrabbits improved to 4-1 in their first season in the MVFC with a balanced offensive attack that piled up 580 yards total offense -- the most surrendered by the Bears this season. The Bears were held to just 12 first downs in the contest and went three-and-out on five of their 10 possessions in the game and were just 4-of-12 on third down in the contest. In a game with no turnovers, Missouri State had to rely on its passing game to stay with the Jackrabbits, particularly in the absence of Stephen Johnston (So., TB, Arlington, Texas) who didn’t make the trip due to injury, and Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.), who fell victim to injury in the second quarter. Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) was 21-for-32 for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns to extend his streak to nine straight games with at least one TD pass. Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.) and Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) were on the receiving end of the only Bears’ scores on the afternoon, while Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) had a game-high 14 tackles to pace the MSU defense.
The Panthers are coming off a 30-6 home win over Western Illinois last week. The Panthers held WIU’s potent offense to just 10 first downs and forced three turnovers, while minimizing the Leathernecks’ attack to just 213 total yards. Meanwhile, UNI collected 87 rushing yards from Corey Lewis and got 191 passing yards from Zach Davis on 13-of-21 passing.
MSU trails the all-time series 23-5 and is 2-12 all-time in the UNI-Dome. The last Bears’ victory in Cedar Falls came behind a 24-21 decision on October 3, 1998. MSU also won 26-9 in the UNI-Dome on Sept. 24, 1988. The Panthers have won two in a row in the series overall and eight of nine.
The Bears are 429-430-40 (.499) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 193-137-11 (.582) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 62-84-1 (.425) mark in MVFC play, and 144-146-3 (.497) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level (1982-present). The last time MSU won three conference games was 2004 (3-4). MSU is also 2-2 on the road this season.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 106-78 (.576) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 11-19 (.367) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 85-43 (.664) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 0-2 against his former club, including last year’s 38-17 loss in Springfield.
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.
UNI head coach Mark Farley (Northern Iowa, 1986) is 70-27 (.722) in his eighth season at UNI and overall. He is 6-1 all-time against the Bears and 3-0 at the UNI-Dome against Missouri State. He is the 2007 Eddie Robinson Award recipient and is 41-8 at the UNI-Dome in his career. He was a linebackers’ coach and assistant for Terry Allen at UNI from 1989-96 and followed Coach Allen to Kansas from 1997-2000 before returning to UNI in 2001 as head coach.
The Series: The Bears trail the all-time series, which started in 1980, 23-5. Missouri State is 2-12 all-time in Cedar Falls and in the UNI-Dome and is 0-2 against the Panthers under Terry Allen.
Last season, UNI broke up a 17-17 tie at Plaster Field with 9:58 remaining in the third quarter and never looked back as the No. 1-ranked Panthers went on to a 38-17 win. Kingjack Washington carried 10 times for 43 yards, while Stephen Johnston had three carries for 12 yards. Cody Kirby completed 12-of-24 passes for 86 yards and ran for the Bears’ only offensive touchdown of the day. Jeff Sargent and Clay Harbor each had three receptions to lead the returning recievers.
The last MSU victory in the series came on Oct. 8, 2005 in Springfield with the Bears scoring a 24-21 win over the 7th-ranked Panthers. Scott Carroll threw for 137 yards in the game, and the Bears outgained UNI 353-295.
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 UNI game is Art’s 307th 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.
Links to live game stats the MSU Bears Football Radio Network free live audio stream can be found on the game notes page for this week’s game on the MSU Athletics Web page -- www.MissouriStateBears.com.
Last Week: The Bears fell behind 19-0 early and never found their stride in their first-ever game against league newcomer South Dakota State.
An 11-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) to Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) with 2:32 left in the game highlighted the Bears’ only substantial drive of the second half. The eight-play, 60 yard scoring drive put the Bears in double figures in scoring for the 24th straight game.
Kirby’s strike to Mejia was his second TD pass of the game, extending his streak to 9 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass. He finished with 165 yards passing on 21 completions and 32 attempts.
Farrar blocked his second field goal of the season with just under 7:00 left in the second quarter as Reifenrath attempted a 52-yard field kick. Kirby and the Bears took advantage of the momentum, culminating the ensuing drive with a three-yard touchdown pass from Kirby to Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.). It was Geisz’s fourth touchdown catch of the season, and it put the exclamation mark on a 14-play, 67-yard drive that consumed 5:56. The extra point attempt by Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) missed wide left his first miss in 26 attempts this season to make it a 19-6 game at the half.
MSU gave up a season-high 580 yards, and finished with just 35 ground yards on 20 attempts. Kirby completed passes to 11 receivers including four to Geisz. Roger Wright's (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) game-high 14 tackles led the MSU defense, while Byron Hightower, Jr. (Jr., LB, Raytown, Mo.) and Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.) each added eight stops.
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.
On the defensive side, the Bears average 6-3, 250 pounds and return left tackle Chris Brehmer (Sr., Rock Hill, Mo.) and right end Clayton Dickehut (Sr., Derby, Kan.) to the starting lineup this season, while current reserves Mike Taylor (Sr., DT, Colton, Calif.) (9 games) and Connor McDonough (Jr., DE, Belton, Mo.) (7) were primary defensive starters for the Bears in 2007.
Coors Player of the Week: The Missouri State Coors Player of the Week for the Southern Illinois game is senior safety Roger Wright (Grandview, Mo.) who recorded a game-high 14 tackles in the Bears’ 43-13 loss at MVFC newcomer South Dakota State. Wright had eight solo stops in the contest, also a game-high, and helped anchor the MSU defensive backs that accounted for 35 of the team’s 86 tackles on the afternoon. The team co-captain started his 19th consecutive game.
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 last on October 19 for their efforts in the team’s 34-28 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 players are from California 3, Illinois 3, Georgia 1, Ohio 1, and Tennessee 1. There are no Bears from the state of Iowa.
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 10 career home games, including nine starts, Kirby has thrown for 1998 yards (199.8) and 16 TD passes, as well as six 200-yard performances. The Bears are 5-4 at home during Kirby starts. He has also tallied 236 rushing yards (23.6) and scored seven rushing TD’s at Plaster.
In contrast, Kirby’s 254-yard outing at Illinois State (10/18/08) was his first career 200-yard game away from home. He has thrown for 1270 (141.1) yards on the road with eight touchdown passes. Kirby is 2-5 in road starts, including a 2-2 mark this year.
The preseason all-MVFC quarterback and 2007 league Newcomer of the Year now ranks 7th on MSU’s all-time list for passing yards (3,278), fourth in TD passes (24), 6th in passing attempts (477), sixth in completions (284) and eighth in total offense (3,669).
He threw one interception in the Southern Illinois game (10/25/08), breaking a string of 71 consecutive passes without giving up a pick. Since that play, he has thrown 52 consecutive passes without an interception. He is 47th in the NCAA FCS in passing efficiency (129.4) and 45th in total offense (212.4).
King-jackpot: 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, who left the South Dakota State game in the second quarter with an injury, is averaging 66.0 yards per game this season. At that pace, he would end his sophomore year with a career total of 1,419 yards. Just 20 Bears have gone over the 1,500 yard career rushing mark, most recently Cody Pratt (2,339) in 2004. He currently stands at 1,221 career yards.
Clay Paves the Way: All-American tight end Clay Harbor (Jr., Dwight, Ill.) eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career on 10/25/08 against Southern Illinois. He is the 15th Bears receiver to reach this milestone.
He currently ranks seventh in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in receptions per game (3.38) and in receiving yards per game (38.88).
Harbor has caught a pass in 19 consecutive games, one of the Bears’ 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 Clay Harbor (2007-08) 19.
Harbor’s 78 career catches ranks 15th on Missouri State’s all-time list, while his 1,031 receiving yards ranks 13th. His next touchdown reception will push him into the top 16 all-time as well. He currently has six career TD catches.
No Sack for You: After giving up three sacks the past two games, the Bears dropped to fourth in the the MVFC in sacks allowed (1.63). Prior to allowing three sacks against Southern Illinois on October 25 and three more against SDSU on November 1, the Bears had not allowed a sack since October 4, going more than two games and 187 consecutive offensive plays without surrendering a sack. UNI now leads the lead in sacks allowed (1.22).
Leading the League: MSU currently ranks second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in passing offense (190.5) and is third in turnover margin (+0.75) and punt returns (15.57). The Bears are also in the league’s upper division in scoring offense (sacks (1.63), pass efficiency (127.72), passing defense (194.88) and net punting (33.98), ranking fourth in all four categories.
In the other key categories, the Bears rank eighth in rushing (137.38), seventh in total offense (327.88), eighth in scoring defense (34.38) and ninth in rushing defense (288.13) and total defense (483.0).
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 second in the MVFC in total offense (212.38) and sixth in passing efficiency (129.04), while Kingjack Washington (So., TB, Owasso, Okla.) is eighth in rushing yards (66.0) and ninth in all-purpose yards (81.62). Clay Harbor (So., TE, Dwight, Ill.) is seventh in the MVFC in receptions per game (3.38) and eighth in receiving yards per game (38.88). Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is fifth in the league in kickoff returns (23.12), while defensive leader Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) is third in tackles (9.50). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is sixth in the conference in field goals per game (0.75).
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 11th nationally in punt returns (15.57), 22nd in turnover margin (0.75) and 46th in passing defense (194.88). Missouri State is also 48th in sacks allowed (1.63), 40th in net punting (33.98).
Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) is 47th in passing efficiency (129.04) and 45th in total offense (212.38). Averaging 9.50 tackles per game, Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) ranks in a tie for 30th in the nation in tackles, while Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is 48th in kickoff returns (23.12).
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 193-137-11 (.582) 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, 1-3 at home this year, and are 8-8 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 Bancorp 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 combined to start 208 career games going into this season.
Senior Chris Farrar (CB) is the Bears’ active leaders in games started with 24.
Seven Bears, six of whom are seniors, have started every game during the 2007 and 2008 seasons (19 games in a row) -- David Arkin (sophomore), Kevaughn Brown, Mark Graf, Chris Brehmer, Clayton Dickehut, Chris Farrar and Roger Wright.
Flag 4-1-1: The Bears have been called for 55 penalties in their first eight games (6.9 per game). The offense has been called for 33 penalties (60 percent), while the defense has been penalized just 17 times this season (31 percent), and special teams has been flagged five times (9 percent). The most common penalty this season is false start which has been called on the offense 15 times during the 2008 campaign.
The Bears were flagged just twice against Southern Illinois (10/25/08) and four times at South Dakota State (11/1/08), accounting for 7 penalties for 70 yards their past two games.
Poll Position: The Bears are 0-2 against teams in the FCS Top 25 this season. MSU lost 33-21 to then No. 21 Western Illinois at Plaster Field on October 4, before losing a heart-breaker on the final play of the game against No. 13 Southern Illinois at home on October 25. The Salukis prevailed 23-17.
Last season, MSU was 3-4 against ranked FCS opponents, and was tied 17-17 at the half with then No. 1-ranked Northern Iowa before ultimately falling short, 38-17, to the Panthers. The Bears best win over a ranked opponent in 2007 was a road victory over 16th ranked UT-Martin.
UNI Connection: MSU coaches Terry Allen (1979), Rob Bolks (1974) and Courtney Messingham (1990), as well as graduate assistant B.J. Stoser are all UNI graduates. Allen, Bolks and D.J. Vokolek are all former UNI coaches. UNI coaches Mark Farmley, Bill Salmon and Chris Klieman all have ties to Terry Allen’s former staffs at UNI and Kansas, while Klieman and Rick Nelson are also former MSU assistants.
Up Next: The Bears return home next Saturday (November 15) to play league newcomer North Dakota State at Plaster Field at 1 p.m. in their final home game of the 2008 campaign. Missouri State concludes its season on November 22 at Indiana State for an 11 a.m. kickoff.