MVFC Previews: Missouri State

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Terry Allen begins his 8th season in Springfield as the Bears’ head football coach. The former Northern Iowa quarterback coached his alma mater to seven consecutive playoff appearances before leaving to take the same position at Kansas (1997-2001). Since Allen has been the head coach at Missouri State, the Bears have had just two winning seasons.

Improvement seems to be on the horizon after winning just five games over the last two campaigns.

The Bears will not play Youngstown State for the second straight season. The Penguins haven’t come away with a victory against Missouri State since 2007.

YSU vs. MSU: Last Five Meetings
Nov. 19, 2011 – Missouri State, 38-34
Oct. 2, 2010 – Missouri State, 35-25
Oct. 3, 2009 – Missouri State, 17-7
Oct. 11, 2008 – Missouri State, 42-28
Oct. 6, 2007 – Youngstown State, 49-21

Missouri State Bears’ Football Preview
by Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Terry Allen, 21st Season overall (123-108)
2012 Record: 3-8, (3-5), Missouri Valley Football Conference
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 10
Offense: Spread (No Hudde)
Defense: 3-4

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 17.5 (192)
Passing Yards: 201.6 (2218)
Rushing Yards: 125.9 (1385)
Points Allowed: 25.4 (279)
Passing Yards Allowed: 190.4 (2094)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 162.6 (1789)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kierra Harris – 997 yards, 55.2 Comp % (99-163), 7 TDs
Rushing: Ryan Heatson – 84 att, 424 yards, 0 TDs
Receiving: Dorian Buford – 59 rec, 642 yards, 2 TDs
Tackles: Caleb Schaffitzel – 109
Sacks: Anthony Grady – 5.0
Interceptions: Caleb Schaffitzel – 5

2013 Schedule
Aug. 29 – Northwestern State
Sept. 7 – at Iowa
Sept. 14 – at Murray State
Sept. 21 – Central Arkansas
Sept. 28 – Illinois State
Oct. 5 – at South Dakota
Oct. 12 – at North Dakota State
Oct. 19 – South Dakota State
Oct. 26 – at Western Illinois
Nov. 2 – Indiana State
Nov. 9 – at Southern Illinois
Nov. 16 – Northern Iowa

Offensive Strength: The ability of Missouri State’s wide outs to stretch the field will be an aspect of their offense to keep an eye on. Senior Dorian Buford led the team in receptions (59) and receiving yards (642) a year ago. Julian Burton (25 catches, 368 yards) and Eric Christophel (10 catches, 150 yards) both had strong springs for the Bears.

Offensive Weakness: The loss of center Harrison Menke and right tackle Randy Richards will be reason for concern entering the 2013 season. Kurt Kutter and Zack Cooley return as the left side is intact. Last year’s offensive line allowed only 15 sacks.

Defensive Strength: The Bears should be loaded up front with 8 lettermen returning. Senior defensive end Anthony Grandy will lead the push. The 6’7, 289-pound Grandy finished with 49 tackles and 5 sacks following a 2011 season where he did not play due to a foot injury.

Defensive Weakness: It was a tough 2012 season for the defensive unit. The Bears permitted the opposition to gain 353 yards per contest of total offense. Their opponents were able to convert on 41.4% (75-181) of their third downs and managed a 80% (32-40) scoring rate in the red zone.

Storylines Facing the Bears
1. Harris’ Offense. Filling in for Ashton Gleaser following the sixth game of the year, Kierra Harris guided the Bears to a 3-2 mark. On the season, Harris was able to complete 60.7% (99-163) of his tosses including 7 for touchdowns (997 yards). Kierra also displayed his ability to get away from defenders as he rushed for 155 stripes while scoring 3 touchdowns.

2. Buck Buchanan Watch: Schaffitzel.. Junior safety Caleb Schaffitzel was an All-MVFC selection a year ago and this year one would expect to see bigger and better things from him. Number 34 is on the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List this summer after 2012 where he led the team in tackles (109) and interceptions (5).

3. 22-Years and Counting. Twenty-three years ago, Missouri State last appeared in the post-season. Jesse Branch’s Bears were defeated in the opening round by Idaho, 41-35.

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