Grid Bears Travel to Indiana State for Season Finale Saturday
Missouri State (3-7, 2-5) at
Indiana State (0-11, 0-7)
Saturday, November 22, 2008 - Memorial Stadium (12,764), Terre Haute, Ind., 11 a.m.
Television - BEARS LIVE!
Radio - KTXR (101.3 FM) and Missouri State Bears Football Radio Network (LISTEN LIVE)
Game Notes - MISSOURI STATE - INDIANA STATE - VALLEY FOOTBALL
Live Stats - CLICK HERE
Game Overview: The Bears look to snap a four-game losing skid and claim a third Missouri Valley Football Conference win for the first time since 2004 when they travel to Indiana State this Saturday in their season finale.
The Bears are coming off a 48-27 loss to No. 25 North Dakota State at Plaster Field last week in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. MSU and NDSU went into halftime tied, 13-13, before two Missouri State turnovers on its first two possessions of the second half led to 14 Bison points. The Bears pulled within seven, 34-27, with 7:50 remaining on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) to Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.) before the Bison broke MSU’s back on the very next play -- an 80-yard touchdown run by Tyler Roehl. Kirby finished with 217 yards on 15-of-28 passing to give him five 200-yard passing games this season, while Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) had career highs in receptions (8) and yards (113) to extend his streak to 21 games with a reception. Cedric Alvis (Jr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) had a team-high seven tackles and his fourth career interception to lead the defense.
Indiana State is coming off a 28-0 home loss to No. 4 Northern Iowa, giving the Panthers back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1971 after beating Missouri State, 42-0, the week before in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The rainy conditions kept the offensive numbers for both teams in check as ISU’s Ryan Roberts finished the day with 45 yards rushing on 17 carries and also completed 3-of-8 passes for 19 yards with an interception. Freshman fullback Brock Lough rushed for 35 yards on six carries for an average of 5.8 yards per carry. The Sycamores were led on defense by Jerry Calvert, C. J. Cook and Jayden Everett who each recorded eight tackles.
Today will also mark the final appearance for 12 Missouri State seniors -- Chris Brehmer, Kevaughn Brown, Jeremy Dawson, Clayton Dickehut, Chris Farrar, Chris Geisz, Mark Graf, Cory Harbor, Seth Reichert, Jeff Sargent, Mike Taylor, and Roger Wright.
The Bears are 429-432-40 (.498) in 97 seasons all-time, including a 193-138-11 (.580) record in 67 seasons at Plaster Field, 62-86-1 (.419) mark in MVFC play, and 144-148-3 (.493) record at the NCAA Division I FCS level (1982-present). The last time MSU won three conference games in a season was 2004 (3-4). MSU is also 2-3 on the road this year.
The Coaches: Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (Northern Iowa, 1976) is 106-80 (.570) overall in 16 years as a head coach and 11-21 (.344) in three seasons at Missouri State. Allen is also 85-45 (.654) in Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway) games, including his tenure at Northern Iowa (1989-96). Allen is 8-2 all-time against Indiana State, including a 1-1 mark as the MSU head coach and 4-2 all-time in Terre Haute.
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.
Indiana State head coach Trent Miles (Indiana State, 1987) is 0-11 in his first season at Indiaa State and overall. He has never coached against the Bears and is 0-4 in home games this season. Miles was a receiver for the Sycamores (1982-86) and helped the 1983 and 1984 teams to the NCAA FCS playoffs. His coaching run includes stops at Washington, Notre Dame, Stanford, Fresno State, Hawaii, Northern Illinois and Oklahoma as well as experience at the NFL level.
First and “10”: Ten quick Bear notes for this week’s game: Sophomore quarterback Cody Kirby (Rogers, Ark.) is now 313-for-531 for 3,563 yards and 25 touchdowns in 21 career games at Missouri State . . . The Bears are looking for their third conference win this season, something they have not achieved since 2004 . . . Clay Harbor (Jr., TE, Dwight, Ill.) has at least one pass reception in 21 straight games, tied for the fourth longest streak in school history, and needs 6 catches to match his 2007 season total of 45 grabs . . . Harbor is coming off a career game in receptions (8) and yards (113) against North Dakota State -- his second career 100-yard game and first since last year’s home win over Indiana State (10/27/07) . . . Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.) needs two receptions to give him 50 for his career . . . This will be Missouri State’s 150th MVFC (formerly Gateway) conference game -- MSU is 62-86-1 all-time in league games . . . The Bears have allowed 365 points this season (36.5), just 23 shy of a school record (388) set a year ago . . . Cody Kirby needs 62 yards total offense to give him 4,000 for his career, something done just five times previously in Bears’ history . . . Kirby needs 179 passing yards against Indiana State to give him 2,000 for the season -- he would be the first Bear since Austin Moherman (2001) to do so and the fifth MSU QB to reach that milestone . . .The Bears are trying to end a four-game losing streak, the team’s longest skid since 2006 when they lost eight in a row, including a 28-22 loss in Terre Haute.
The Series: Missouri State leads the all-time series, 14-8, including last season’s 63-7 win over the Sycamores in Springfield. The Bears have won four of the last five meetings between the two squads and are 5-6 in Terre Haute, splitting the last six meetings in games there.
Indiana State has lost 25 straight games, but their most-recent victory came over the Bears on October 21, 2006 on homecoming in Terre Haute with a 28-22 decision.
Last season in Springfield, the Bears scored touchdowns on nine of their first 10 possessions and collected 588 yards total offense in a 63-7 win on homecoming before 12,032 fans at Plaster Field. Cody Kirby threw for 183 yards on 10-of-12 passing for 1 touchdown -- to Clay Harbor. Gerald Davis ran for five touchdowns, and Kingjack Washington rushed 13 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Stephen Johnston had 55 yards on 11 carries to lead the MSU rushing attack. Receivers Harbor and Brandon Oliver combined for eight catches, including a career high 106 yards on five grabs by Harbor. Jared Emery (46 yards), Washington (14) and Johnston (3) each had one reception.
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 Indiana State game is Art’s 309th 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 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: After an even first half of football on senior day at Missouri State, the Bears fell short as visiting North Dakota State, ranked No. 25 in the Division I FCS, rolled up 35 second-half points en route to a 48-27 win over the Bears in the first meeting between the two schools.
A Nick Schommer interception of a Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) pass on Missouri State’s opening drive of the second half, led to the Bison go-ahead score, and after Tyler Roehl's six-yard touchdown run to make it 20-13, NDSU forced another turnover moments later. On MSU's next drive, Kirby was hit and fumbled, allowing Joe Lardinois to pick up the loose ball and return it 14 yards for a touchdown and extend NDSU’s lead to 27-13, with 7:48 remaining in the third. Missouri State's two turnovers on its first two second-half possessions proved to be the difference, and the Bears would never catch NDSU.
NDSU (6-4, 4-3) had 462 yards total offense, but the Bears won the time of possession (35:45) and had more first downs, 19-17.
Kirby finished with 217 passing yards -- his fifth 200-yard game of the season -- and was 15-for-28 through the air, despite being sacked eight times on the day. Bears' tight end Clay Harbor (Jr., Dwight, Ill.) caught a career high eight passes for 113 yards, while Chris Geisz (Sr., WR, St. Louis, Mo.) had a touchdown grab. Kirby also ran for two scores for the Bears who were penalized a season-high 11 times, surrendering 127 yards in sacks and penalties on the offensive side.
Trailing 27-13 in the third, Kirby brought the Bears back within 27-20 after he ran it in from one yard out. He eclipsed the 3,500-yard mark in career passing on the drive with 52 yards on 2-for-3 attempts. The 86-yard drive consumed 6:16 and took 13 plays and was one of the team's longest drives of the season.
However, with the Bears creeping back into the game, the Bison went to the air, marching 59 yards on a pair of long completions to extend their lead to two touchdowns just three plays later. Mertens completed a 12-yard TD strike to Thor Brown to make it 34-20 with 1:08 left in the third quarter to put the finishing touches on a quick, 59-yard drive.
A Clayton Dickehut (Sr., DE, Derby, Kan.) fumble recovery at the NDSU 19 with 9:52 remaining in the fourth set up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kirby to Geisz three plays later to once again bring the Bears back within seven points, 34-27. But, Roehl turned the tides with an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the ensuing drive to extend the lead to 41-27. Rather than running out the clock on their final possession, the Bison kept chasing points and eventually added a late touchdown with 1:19 to play to pull away 48-27.
Roehl finished with 188 yards on 21 carries and a pair of touchdowns for the Bison, while Mertens was 8-for-10 for 108 yards.
On the game’s opening kickoff, the Bears’ Skylar Smith (So., S, Springfield, Mo.) forced a fumble, and the Bears recovered at the NDSU 29 yard line, setting up an eventual 44-yard field goal by Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) to give the Bears an early 3-0 lead.
The Bison retaliated with a 29-yard field goal of their own on the ensuing drive, as Shawn Bibeau connected on a 29-yard field goal to cap a 71-yard scoring drive and tie the game, 3-3, at the 8:08 mark.
Bibeau added a 23-yard field goal on the Bison’s next possession to make it 6-3, but the Bears regained the lead at the 13:14 mark of the second quarter on a five-yard touchdown run by Kirby. Kirby’s 15th career rushing touchdown capped a 55-yard drive that took just six plays and gave the Bears a 10-6 lead.
At the 9:59 mark of the second quarter, Bison Mertens countered with a one-yard TD run of his own. The eight-play, 66-yard drive gave the lead back to NDSU, 13-10.
The Bears marched 67 yards on 12 plays moments later, and tied the game on Hottelman’s second field goal of the half a 22-yarder to tie the game, 13-13 with 3:11 to go in the half. The drive included a 32-yard completion from Kirby to Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo.) and a 24-yard strike to Harbor, extending Harbor’s streak to 21 consecutive games with a reception.
NDSU fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up the Bears at the Bison 43 late in the half, but the Bison held on defense, and the teams went in to the half tied at 13-13.
Cedric Alvis (Jr., CB, Columbia, Mo.) had seven tackles and his fourth career interception to lead the Missouri State defense, while Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) had six tackles and a fumble recovery.
Arkin Earns Valley Good Neighbor Award: David Arkin (So., OG, Wichita, Kan.) has been named to the initial class of Missouri Valley Conference Good Neighbor Award recipients the league announced this week. The MVC created the MVC Good Neighbor Award in an effort to honor model student-athletes. Ten student-athletes have been named by Commissioner Doug Elgin as the honorees for this fall.
In order to be eligible for the award, the student-athlete must be in good academic standing, must demonstrate good citizenship through good sportsmanship and significant community service, and must participate in a sport, during the season of recognition. The Valley will recognize 10 student-athletes three times annually (fall, winter, spring), for a total of 30 honorees. Institutions select their Good Neighbor Award honorees.
Brehmer Named Academic All-District: Senior Chris Brehmer (Sr., DT, Rock Hill, Mo.) has been named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII Football team selected by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He now advances to national ballot for the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team.
Brehmer, a 6-foot-5, 270-pounder, has started all eight games for the Bears this season and has a cumulative 3.48 grade point average in psychology with a double-minor in Spanish and chemistry. This season, he has been in on 12 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, with a sack and a quarterback hurry to his credit. The Missouri State defense ranks 42nd nationally in passing defense and has accumulated seven sacks this season.
Honors and Accolades: Despite a roster that features 72-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 at Illinois State (10/18).
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 Bears earned league academic honors in 2007: Chris Brehmer (DT, second team), Jared Emery (WR, second team), Chris Geisz (CB, HM).
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 starts) and Connor McDonough (Jr., DE, Belton, Mo.) (7) were primary defensive starters for the Bears in 2007.
Coors Player of the Week: Junior tight end Clay Harbor (Dwight, Ill.) was named Coors Player of the Week for the North Dakota State game. He had career highs in both receptions and yards with 8 catches for 113, including two plays over 20 yards and a long reception of 26. The second-team preseason All-American was pivotal in helping Cody Kirby throw for his fifth 200-yard game of the season, collecting more than half of the team’s 15 completions on the afternoon and extending his streak to 21 consecutive games with a pass reception. His 100-yard game was the second of his Missouri State career, and snapped a streak of 11 games during which the Bears did not have a 100+ yard receiver. Harbor was the last Bear to do so, pulling in five catches for 106 yards on 10/27/07 against Indiana State.
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 player of the week honors on October 19 for their efforts in the team’s 34-28 win at Illinois State.
Migration Patterns: The 84-man Missouri State roster includes players from 11 different states. More than half of the squad (47) 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 Indiana.
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 Jarrett’s older brother 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 11 career home games, including 10 starts, Kirby has thrown for 2215 yards (201.4) and 17 TD passes, as well as seven 200-yard performances. The Bears are 5-5 at home during Kirby starts. He has also tallied 232 rushing yards (21.0) and scored nine 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 1348 (134.8) yards on the road with eight touchdown passes. Kirby is 2-6 in road starts, including a 2-3 mark this year.
The preseason all-MVFC quarterback and 2007 league Newcomer of the Year now ranks seventh on MSU’s all-time list for passing yards (3,573), fourth in TD passes (25), sixth in passing attempts (531), tied for third in completions (313) and seventh in total offense (3,928).
He threw one interception in the Southern Illinois game (10/25/08), breaking a string of 71 consecutive passes without giving up a pick. After that play, he threw 74 consecutive passes without a pick before surrendering one at UNI (11/8/08). He is 60th in the NCAA FCS in passing efficiency (123.22) and 55th in total offense (196.8).
Cody has been the Bears’ quarterback for 615 of 623 offensive plays this season.
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 (11/1/08) in the second quarter with an injury and missed the past two weeks, is averaging 66.0 yards per game this season and has 1,221 career rushing yards. Just 20 Bears have gone over the 1,500 yard career rushing mark, most recently Cody Pratt (2,339) in 2004.
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 fifth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in receptions per game (3.9) and in receiving yards per game (44.10).
Harbor has caught a pass in 21 consecutive games, one of the Bears’ top four 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; Clay Harbor (2007-08) 21; Tom Hamilton (1975-77) 20.
Harbor’s 90 career catches ranks 11th on Missouri State’s all-time list, while his 1,161 receiving yards also ranks 11th. His next touchdown reception will push him into the top 16 all-time as well. He currently has six career TD catches.
His 100-yard game against North Dakota State (11/15/08) was the second of his Missouri State career, and snapped a streak of 11 games during which the Bears did not have a 100+ yard receiver. Harbor was the last Bear to do so, pulling in five catches for 106 yards on 10/27/07 against Indiana State.
Leading the League: MSU currently ranks second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in net punting (35.29) and third in punt returns (15.63), passing offense (181.9), turnover margin (+0.70) and passing defense (180.80).
In the other key categories, the Bears rank seventh in scoring (23.9) and eighth in rushing (118.4) and total offense (300.3). Defensively, MSU ranks eighth in scoring defense (36.5) and ninth in rushing defense (302.2) 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 (196.8) and sixth in passing efficiency (123.22), while Clay Harbor (So., TE, Dwight, Ill.) is fifth in the MVFC in receptions (3.90) and receptions per game (3.90). Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is fifth in the league in kickoff returns (22.3) and Chase Mejia (Fr., WR, Columbia, Mo. is sixth (21.62) in that category. Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is sixth in the league in field goals (0.80), while defensive leader Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) is fifth in the conference in tackles (8.60).
NCAA Leaders: The Bears rank 10th nationally in punt returns (15.63), 12th in net punting (35.29), and tied for 24th in turnover margin (0.70).
Averaging 8.60 tackles per game, Roger Wright (Sr., S, Grandview, Mo.) ranks 48th in the nation in tackles, while Brandon Oliver (So., WR, Arlington, Texas) is 57th in kickoff returns (22.30). Matt Hottelman (Jr., K, O’Fallon, Mo.) is 52nd in field goals (0.80), while Cody Kirby (So., QB, Rogers, Ark.) ranks 55th in total offense (196.80) and 60th in pass efficiency (123.22).
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 193-138-11 (.580) record for 342 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, 1-4 at home this year, and are 8-9 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 returned 15 regular starters from 2007, including six offensive 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 26.
Seven Bears, six of whom are seniors, have started every game during the 2007 and 2008 seasons (21 games in a row) -- David Arkin (sophomore), Kevaughn Brown, Mark Graf, Chris Brehmer, Clayton Dickehut, Chris Farrar and Roger Wright.
Poll Position: The Bears are 0-4 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. The Bears also fell 42-0 at No. 4 Northern Iowa on November 8, and lost 46-27 to No. 25 North Dakota State at home on November 15.
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.
Redshirt Update: Missouri State will redshirt the following 14 players this season, the team announced this week:
(32) Andre Anderson (CB, 5-11, 170, Fr., Muskogee, Okla.)
(91) Russell Brown (DT, 6-0, 275, Fr., Midwest City, Okla.)
(75) Joe Day (DE, 6-2, 230, Fr., O’Fallon, Mo.)
(52) Nick Detelich (LB, 6-2, 240, Fr., Springfield, Mo.)
(16) Adrien Dotson (S, 6-0, 185, Fr., Hawthorne, Calif.)
(57) Austin Etter (LB, 6-2, 210, Fr., Springfield, Mo.)
(53) Chad Jones (LB, 6-1, 195, Fr., Ocala, Fla.)