Bears Head North for Finale Against UNI
Matt Thayer
Matt Thayer

Nov. 12, 2012

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
UNI Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (3-7, 3-4 MVFC) at UNI Panthers (4-6, 3-4 MVFC)
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Kickoff: 4 p.m.
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Site: UNI-Dome (16,324)
TV: None
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM (Art Hains, Mike Kolling)
Live Stats:
Live Video: Panthers Inside Access

♦ The Bears enter Saturday's game looking to snap a six-game skid in their series with UNI; MSU will also be seeking just its third road win vs. the Panthers; MSU's last win in Cedar Falls came on Oct. 3, 1998 with a 24-21 decision.
♦ UNI will represent the seventh MSU opponent in 2012 to either enter the matchup with the Bears ranked or receiving votes in one of the two major polls.
♦ Under head coach Terry Allen, the Bears are 5-1 in season finales, including a 4-1 mark in league games to close out the season; Allen's Bears have won two-straight week 11 games.
♦ Saturday's game will feature the two-winningest head coaches in MVFC history; Allen enters Saturday's game one win shy of 60 career MVFC victories, three wins behind UNI's Mark Farley for the league's all-time standard.
♦ Missouri State is 3-1 when scoring 20 or more points this season and 0-6 when producing less than 20 points; after a 3-1 run through the month of October, MSU is looking to score 20 points in a November game for just the second time in its last six tries.
Dorian Buford ranks second in The Valley and 62nd nationally in receptions per game (5.00); Buford also rates third in the conference in receiving yards per game (56.9) and needs six more grabs to move into the Bears' top five for single-season receptions.
♦ The Bears rank third in both pass defense (137.7 ypg) and total defense (293.7 ypg) in Valley play.
♦ MSU ranks 21st nationally in pass efficiency defense (114.23) overall and second (95.7) in the MVFC in league games; the Bears have also picked off 12 passes which they have returned for 255 yards--both good for second in the conference.
Caleb Schaffitzel was named MVFC Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week and CFPA National Defensive Performer of the Week honors after a record-setting day against No. 1 North Dakota State on Nov. 3; through 10 games, Schaffitzel ranks seventh nationally in interceptions (0.5 per game) and 18th among all FCS defenders in tackles per game (10.5).
♦ The Bears can boast of having the MVFC leaders in both sacks (Anthony Grady) and interceptions (Schaffitzel) in conference play; Grady's five sacks in seven league games shares the league lead with three other players, while Schaffitzel is tied with Illinois State's Ben Ericksen, who picked off two MSU passes in the two clubs' Oct. 20 meeting.

October 1, 2011 -- No. 2 UNI scored twice in the first four minutes of the second half to pull away from Missouri State in a 42-7 Panthers win at Plaster Field.

Freshman David Johnson carried 18 times for 114 yards and a pair of scores to lead the Panthers, while Tirrell Rennie completed 13-of-16 passes for 209 yards and finished with 246 yards of total offense. UNI dominated the second half and tallied 442 total yards, while holding MSU to 2-of-11 on third down for the game.

The Bears outgained the visitors in the first half by a 176-173 margin, but missed a pair of red zone opportunities to fall behind 21-7 at the intermission.

MSU went three-and-out on its opening series, but UNI fumbled the ensuing punt to give the ball back to the Bears at the UNI 46. UNI `s defense held again, forcing the home club into another punt three players later. UNI then set up shop at its own 13 and covered the remaining 87 yards in nine plays to take an early 7-0 lead on a seven-yard run by Chad Owens.

Missouri State drove all the way to the UNI 8-yard line on its next sequence before a fumble gave the ball back to the Panthers. Even though the Bears missed a key opportunity to end the 67-yard drive, MSU tied the game 7-7 just under five minutes later. Trevor Wooden capped a short, 30-yard drive at the 13:22 mark of the second period. The drive was set up when Dan Reichert partially blocked a UNI punt deep in Panthers territory that Julian Burton returned to the 30. Seven plays and just over three minutes later, the Bears pulled even with the second-ranked team in the FCS ranks.

UNI `s second substantial drive of the opening half soon followed as Tirrell Rennie led the Panthers 80 yards on 10 plays to make it 14-7. David Johnson capped the drive with a four-yard TD run, his first of two scores on the afternoon.

The second half was all UNI as the Bears ran just 20 plays, fumbled once and punted four times on five possessions. Meanwhile, UNI took just under four minutes to tack on two more touchdowns early in the third quarter.

Wooden finished 18-for-21 passing for 134 yards and an interception for the Bears, who turned the ball over three times. Chris Douglas carried nine times for 53 yards (5.9 per carry), with Wooden close behind with 49 yards on 18 attempts. Douglas also had a team-high four pass receptions.

Caleb Schaffitzel earned FCS national defensive player of the week recognition from a number of media outlets, including the College Football Performance Awards, The Sports Network, Beyond Sports Network and the College Sports Journal after a standout effort against top-ranked North Dakota State on Nov. 3.

Just one day after earning Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second-straight week, Schaffitzel earned his second-consecutive CFPA National Defensive Back of the Week citation as well. In Missouri State's near-upset of No. 1 North Dakota State, he snagged two interceptions, broke two MSU records and tallied 10 total tackles. He halted an NDSU drive late in the first quarter with a goal-line interception he returned 100 yards for the game's first score, making him just the fifth player in MVFC history -- and second this year -- to record a 100-yard interception return. It was also the longest interception return in Missouri State history.

Later, in the second quarter, Schaffitzel grabbed another pick, and returned it 27 yards to complete his second multiple-interception game in as many weeks and fifth pick in three games. He shattered the MSU single-season record for interception return yardage (216) and moved into second place on the Bears' career chart for INT yardage.

Head coach Terry Allen will make the familiar trek back to Cedar Falls to lead the Bears against his alma mater, where he spent eight seasons (1989-96) as the Panthers mentor. Two former Allen assistants remain on the UNI staff, one of which is Panthers' head coach Mark Farley. Farley and associate head coach/offensive coordinator Bill Salmon both served on Allen-led staffs at UNI and Kansas (1997-2000), while UNI offensive line coach Rick Nelson spent a decade on the Missouri State coaching staff under head coaches Jesse Branch and Del Miller. MSU defensive coordinator D.J. Vokolek spent three seasons (2003-05) on Farley's staff before joining Allen in Springfield, and Bears' assistant Rob Bolks served two separate stints on the UNI staff (1985-88 and 2002-05). Finally, MSU defensive backs coach B.J. Stotser played under Farley, Vokolek and Bolks in UNI secondary during his collegiate career before joining the Bears' coaching staff in 2006.

In addition to the coaching staffs of both clubs sharing a great deal of history, the Missouri State and UNI rosters reflect familiarity as well. Although freshman offensive lineman Jake Arthur (Eldridge) and junior nose tackle Spencer Emerson (Des Moines) are the only two Bears from the state of Iowa, UNI has collected a wealth of talent from the Show-Me State, with nine roster players from Missouri: Carlos Anderson (Sr., Blue Springs); Deiondre' Hall (Fr., Blue Springs); Stephen Kaiser (So., St. Louis); Jared Lanpher (So., Blue Springs); Ryan Mack (So., St. Louis); Shawn Rush (RFr., Columbia); Kevin Vereen, Jr. (So., Waynesville); Xavier Williams (So., Grandview); and Edwin Young (RFr., St. Louis).

Coupled with four FCS preseason Top 25 opponents, MSU can once again make a valid claim as having one of the toughest schedules in the Division I FCS ranks. Last year, the Bears kicked off their season with road games against nationally-ranked Arkansas and Oregon making them the only FCS school in the country to tackle two different Top 20 FBS schools in 2011. Including Saturday's game against UNI, seven Missouri State opponents will have entered their respective matchups with the Bears either ranked or receiving votes in one of the two major polls (The Sports Network Top 25 or FCS Coaches polls).

Missouri State's engineered a 180-degree turn-around after halftime against North Dakota State. Despite trailing just 14-7 at the intermission, the Bears had one first down and -18 total yards in the first half against the top-ranked Bison. However, in the second 30 minutes, MSU posted 167 total yards and 10 first downs while outgaining the visitors nearly 2-to-1. NDSU averaged just 2.8 yards per play in the third and fourth quarters while collecting just 84 total yards.

After failing to score in the fourth quarter of their first six games, Missouri State has outscored its last four opponents by a combined 42-3 score in the fourth quarter. The Bears erupted for 17 unanswered points in the final period of their 27-24 come-from-behind win over South Dakota (Oct. 13), then scored by nearly every means possible in their 24-17 victory at No. 11 Illinois State (Oct. 20), collecting a touchdown, extra point, two field goals and a safety in their 15-point scoring barrage in the final period. On Oct. 27, the Bears tacked on a Cedric Miller touchdown early in the fourth to account for the final 42-3 margin in their Homecoming win over Western Illinois. Finally, MSU got an Austin Witmer field goal early in the final period to pull to within four points of No. 1 North Dakota State in an eventual 21-17 setback. The Bears' defense has been particularly stingy during the final period over the same stretch, allowing an average of just 50 yards of total offense. Missouri State has out-gained its three opponents by a combined 458 to 200 margin in total offense in the fourth quarter over the same stretch.



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