Friday, January 27, 2023
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Game Preview: Football Ready for Homecoming Clash with Sycamores

Missouri State Bears vs Indiana State Sycamores

First and Ten

  • After a two-game Valley road swing, the Bears return to Robert W. Plaster Stadium on Saturday when they host Indiana State at 2 p.m. (ESPN+) on the 100th Homecoming celebration at Missouri State. MSU is 4-1 all-time on homecoming against the Sycamores.
  • Jason Shelley (QB, Frisco, Texas) is coming off one of the best offensive performances in Missouri State history last week at Youngstown State, racking up the 2nd-most yards of total offense (443) ever by a Bear and completing 27-of-48 passes for career-highs 372 yards and 4 touchdowns.
  • Missouri State has racked up over 500 yards in total offense in back-to-back weeks — both road games — with 513 at Illinois State and 503 at Youngstown. The last time the Bears posted 500+ yards in back-to-back games was in 2003 — 11/8/03 vs. Illinois State (581) and 11/15/03 at Western Illinois (535). Prior to this season, the Bears had not posted a 500-yard game since 2017.
  • Shelley eclipsed 3,000 career passing yards in last week’s game at YSU and now leads the MVFC and ranks 10th nationally in total offense yards per game (333.0). The Utah State transfer also ranks 13th nationally in passing yards (287.6), 17th in total passing yards (1,438), 20th in yards per completion (13.57), 21st in completions per game (21.2), and 24th in passing TDs (10). He is the only QB in MSU history to throw for 200 yards or more in each of his first 5 career starts with the Bears. He is a two-time MVFC Newcomer of the Week this season.
  • Bears punter, Grant Burkett (So., Joplin, Mo.) is 1st in the MVFC and 3rd nationally in punting average (47.2), while helping the Bears rank 2nd in the nation in net punting (44.38). He has 8 punts this season of 50 yards or more with 10 downed inside the 20.
  • Jordan Murray (WR, Lee’s Summit, Mo.) is just 13 receiving yards away from 1,000 for his career. He has 83 receptions in 35 career games and scored his 10th career TD at Illinois State. He would become just the 24th Bears player to reach 1,000 career receiving yards.
  • Montrae Braswell (CB, Avon Park, Fla.) ranks 11th nationally in interceptions per game (0.60) and 10th in kickoff return average (29.1). He has 6 interceptions in 12 career games at Missouri State.
  • The Missouri State defense ranks 11th nationally in interceptions (8) and 23rd in team sacks per game (2.80). Through 5 games, the Bears have allowed just 3 points in the third quarter this season.
  • Missouri State is 3-1 in MVFC home games under coach Bobby Petrino. Overall, Petrino is 7-2 in Valley games.
  • Defensive end Kevin Ellis (Ft. Worth, Texas) ranks 21st among all FCS players in sacks per game (0.90) and 31st in tackles for loss (1.4). For his career, he has 135 tackles, 22.0 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks in 35 games.
  • Two Bears have enjoyed impressive careers vs. ISU. Myron Mason (RB, Denton, Texas) has 25 carries for 126 yards (2 TDs) vs. the Trees, and Jordan Murray (WR, Lee’s Summit, Mo.) has 10 receptions for 79 yards (2 TDs).
  • Nationally, MSU’s offense ranks 7th in red zone efficiency (.944), 9th in 3rd down efficiency (.487), 16th in passing offense (287.4), 18th in total offense (436.2), 20th in yds. per completion (13.43), and 24th in scoring (32.8).
  • Tylar Wiltz (LB, Breaux Bridge, La.) is coming off a game-high and career-high 16 total tackles at Youngstown State, racking up 6 solo stops and 10 assisted tackles. Wiltz also had a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
  • Xavier Lane (WR, Montgomery, Ala.) ranks 28th nationally and 3rd in the MVFC in receptions per game (6.0).
  • Jose Pizano (K, Lehi, Utah) leads the MVFC and ranks 7th nationally in field goals per game (1.80) per game. He also ranks 21st nationally and 2nd in the MVFC in scoring (8.8). Also, 17-of-32 kickoffs have been touchbacks.
  • Three-time Bears captain Titus Wall (S, Plano, Texas) brought down 14 ball carriers last week at YSU, a career high, including 10 solo stops against the Penguins.
  • The last time MSU matched up with Indiana State on Homecoming was in 2017 where the Bears rolled to a 59-20 win behind 624 yards of total offense — 385 by QB Peyton Huslig — in MSU’s most-recent homecoming victory.

Coach Bobby Petrino

  • Bobby Petrino is in his second season as Missouri State’s head football coach after joining the Bears program on January 16, 2020. He is currently 127-63 (.668) in his 16th season as a head coach and is 8-7 at Missouri State, including a 5-2 ledger in the spring of 2021. As Bears head coach, Petrino is 7-2 in Valley games, 4-5 on the road, and 4-2 at Plaster Stadium. He is 1-0 all-time against Indiana State.
  • He picked up his 75th career conference victory on Oct. 2 at Illinois State.
  • During the 2020-21 season, Petrino helped lead the Bears to a 5-1 mark in Missouri Valley Football Conference play to earn a share of the MVFC regular-season title. His efforts not only landed him the prestigious Bruce Craddock MVFC Coach of the Year Award, but also led the Bears to their first NCAA FCS playoff appearance in 30 years.
  • ESPN recently named Petrino to its list of the top 100 college football coaches of the last 50 years, placing Petrino No. 77 on the list.
  • Petrino previously served as head coach in two stints at Louisville as well as Arkansas and Western Kentucky. He spent 14 seasons at the FBS level and led his programs to 11 bowl appearances with seven teams ranked in the top 25 at season’s end.
  • The Helena, Mont., native is in his 33rd year of collegiate coaching overall, having guided his programs to AP top-six final rankings three times (2004, 2006, 2011) and directing some of the nation’s top offensive programs along the way. His clubs have finished in the top five nationally in scoring offense three times, while his 2004 club at Louisville led the country in scoring (49.8 ppg). He has developed 34 NFL Draft selections during his illustrious career, including four in the first round, and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
  • Petrino and his wife Becky have four children: Kelsey, Nick, Bobby and Katie – and six grandchildren. Nick Petrino is Missouri State’s offensive coordinator, while sons-in-law Ryan Beard (defensive coordinator) and L.D. Scott (defensive line) are also on the MSU coaching staff this season. See pp. 23-25 for complete career stats/bio.

Series History

  • Missouri State leads the all-time series against the Sycamores, 20-14, with the Bears owning wins in three of the last four meetings. MSU is 12-5 all-time at Plaster Stadium against Indiana State, including a 4-1 ledger in homecoming contests.
  • In the last meeting between the squads (11/23/19) and the final game of the Dave Steckel era at MSU, visiting Indiana State rode a five-touchdown afternoon by Dominique Dafney to a runaway 51-24 victory, handing the Bears their seventh-straight setback to end the 2019 season. Dafney racked up 244 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries to go along with a 19-yard scoring reception to lead a Sycamore offense that totaled 492 yards. In his 33rd straight start, Bears QB Peyton Huslig capped his career with 249 yards on 27-of-42 passing, while Myron Mason tallied a season-best 94 rushing yards on his 20 carries for the home side. The decision not only marked the second-most points ever scored by the Sycamores in the series, but also snapped a three-game MSU win streak in the Valley rivalry. | Stats
  • The teams did not play during the 2020-21 season.
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